It’s been thirteen years since Jeff Jarett tried this the first time, and, to his eternal credit, he’s trying it again. His new company, Global Force Wrestling, looks to compete with the WWE in the North American market on a stage not dissimilar to its rivals in scale. This isn’t a ROH scale indie promotion, the son of Jerry is going big again. And he ain’t looking to go home.
But TNA is currently a company in trouble and it’s been in trouble for years. I think I’ve pinpointed the place where I believed it all started going downhill. It also points to what GFW have to do to make themselves big and not end up floundering like TNA did.
GFW have to make their own stars.
Back in 2008 after one of the greatest PPV runs in wrestling history and assembling a roster that had hardcore wrestling fans converting in droves, TNA established the Main Event Mafia. The MEM, as it was abbrieved, were a group of legendary wrestlers, mostly from WCW, who were over the hill even then. They had the nasty whiff of the NWO about them (not least because Kevin Nash was in their ranks) and went on to be a dominant force in TNA holding control of the title for almost as long as they were around.
The big thing to take from the MEM though, was the path that it clearly showed TNA had chosen. Instead of taking the time to building up the roster of stars they had in the wings, they chose to pay big money for short term gains. The MEM were never going to be a long term force in wrestling, mainly due to the decreased mobility of its members and their degrading health. But their rise to power coincided with the tailing off of many of TNA’s most promising careers.
Samoa Joe, even though he was one of the most popular new editions TNA ever signed, was never champion again. OK, so his booking was woeful even before that (the UFC style cage match he won the belt in was a terrible idea from inception) but to derail the momentum of TNA’s most dominant force was perhaps the worst decision in the company’s history. Joe had an iconic look, theme, finisher, and catchphrase. He had the crowd chanting his name and his matches were frequently best in show. He could have been the Steve Austin of TNA. But they went for quick bucks over a cemented legacy.
Joe wasn’t the only one to be effected. Christopher Daniels, one of the slickest wrestlers in TNA, both in the ring and on the mic, had his chance at heel glory dashed because he wasn’t a big enough star to join the big boys. Abyss was up there with Big Van Vader as one of the best big man workers of all time, but he was road blocked to the main event where he could have become the Undertaker of the promotion. Even the tag team division felt the sting as it took one of the most insanely popular tag teams in TNA history, The Motor City Machine Guns, three years to gain the trust of the company who would rather give the belt to the likes of Adam “Pacman” Jones and, yep, you guessed it, The Main Event Mafia.
TNA could have had stars that were mostly associated with their promotion. They could have had patience, put the work in and made their own icons. Instead they went with ready-made Superstars who would always be associated with other companies. Sting was a four time TNA Heavyweight Champion, but it wasn’t his time with TNA that got him to WrestleMania.
GFW can’t afford to make the same mistake. It’s an encouraging sign that they’ve dropped Scott Hall from the card, and even though Scott Steiner and Jim Duggan are signed, their names are way at the bottom of the GFW website. Hell, even Jeff has said he wants to focus on this roster so he won’t be doing too much on camera.
So please Jeff, go with Doc Gallows, go with PJ Black, go with Moose and Anderson and Mordetzky. Because if you make those guys names, the one name that will connect all of them is Global Force Wrestling.