Jeff Jarrett has been here before. It may be 14 years removed from the start of TNA Wrestling, but the situation is all too familiar for the former wrestling great. Not many men or women have had an opportunity to start their own promotion, but Jarrett has now done this twice.
I had the privilege of talking to Jarrett in an exclusive phone interview this past Tuesday. What I took away from the conversation more than anything is his passion and desire to make Global Force Wrestling a success. While the brand isn’t two years old and the promotion isn’t a year old from its first television taping, Jarrett said he is as excited about the business as he has ever been.
Everything that happens to Global Force and its ascension up the ladder of this business starts with the brand and the continual build of making it a household name. As the new “kid” on the block, everything starts with an idea and continues to expand with each passing day.
“Brand awareness is so important,” Jarrett said. “Technology isn’t what it was (in 2002). Everything has changed and impacts everything (in the business).”
There wasn’t the use of social media 14 years ago when Jarrett and his father Jerry Jarrett put their names behind TNA, but as time and the industry changed, the use of other sources of enrichment helped the promotion grow. Now, with Global Force becoming more of a known commodity on an international level – in Asia, the UK and other countries, the use of these outlets certainly helps.
The Jarrett name has been part of this business for 70 years now with Jeff being the third generation involved in this business. The experience in the ring and behind the scenes as well as the education he has received from the family over the years has proven to be key to his success.
Now, with GFW off the ground and gaining speed, Jarrett is looking toward the future of the brand and how to make it even more marketable.
In August 2014, GFW has announced working agreements with Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), Japan’s New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion, multiple European promotions, South African promotion World Wrestling Professionals (WWP), and promotions from Australia and New Zealand. Its first Global Force Wrestling house show took place in June of, 2015, at The Ballpark at Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee, as part of GFW’s “Grand Slam Tour”, which entailed holding events at minor league baseball stadiums. In that show’s main event, Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows defeated the New Heavenly Bodies.
With that and kind of promoting, which was popular back in the days of the NWA helped make wrestling the successful business it became, Jarrett is showing his roots.
Jarrett said he has approached GFW “very methodically,” that nothing happens overnight and the international presence was extremely important to growth. That has continued to be a selling point in making the brand bigger. The roster, which is a mix of veterans that are known in the business and younger talent that are getting their feet wet is part of the appeal. Jarrett said as the youthfulness of the promotion grows, like The Bollywood Boyz and Jonny Gargano, their following will grow as well.
When TNA began, not many fans knew about the likes of Bobby Roode or James Storm or even AJ Styles. It took planning and self-promotion on their parts. As the fans saw their potential and their ability in the ring, their following flourished. The same can be said of the current roster, which does have some well-known stars like Nick Aldis, Sonjay Dutt, Mickie James, and Chris Saban.
Now that the promotion is entering its second year and there are more shows to be seen, Jarrett wants to capitalize on the success he and the company have already experienced. Again, everything comes back to building the brand – as if it does not become a household name, it cannot flourish.
“This is entertainment. Everything changes. There are ebbs and flows with it,” Jarrett explained. “At the end of the day, it’s about distribution and creating brand awareness.”
As a wrestler, Jarrett’s accomplishments are as great as any before his time in the ring and after his retirement from performing.
Jarrett has held 77 total championships in various promotions throughout his career. He has held six NWA World Heavyweight Championships, four WCW World Heavyweight Championships, and one AAA Mega Championship. His NWA title reigns occurred within TNA, under his co-ownership of the company.