GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

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GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 3:34 pm

Okay let me unpack what I mean by my title...

So GFW have had their first TV tapings and have posted photos here. From these photos two things immediately struck me:

1. It looks as if GFW managed good numbers. This is significant as these fans paid for their tickets, something TNA have not been able to get American audiences to do.
2. GFW use the 6-sided ring too, meaning TNA does not have a patent or exclusive right to use it. This is also significant as the 6-sided ring was arguably the last/only thing that truly differentiated them from other promotions.

So what does this mean for TNA?

Well, I think this might just be the fire TNA needs. Already, TNA's partnership with A1 productions seems to being put into action with their Bound for Glory Main Event Experience offer. This definitely sounds like a good deal and should appeal to hardcore fans. But, this has to be the beginning and TNA are going to need to keep innovating otherwise GFW could well replace them in the market.

Jeff Jarrett was the founder of TNA, something he is being recognized for in his TNA HOF induction, and as such he poses the single greatest threat to TNA. He knows the company from an insider perspective, which means their mistakes and weaknesses and I'm sure he's learnt from a fair few of them. It also means he has a vested interest in proving to Dixie that whatever professional differences they may have had, he was right about. Jeff will want to make sure GFW is a bigger success than TNA. And it already looks as if GFW is more innovative and marketable than TNA currently is.

All this should make TNA take stock. GFW could outcompete them in every area - crowd numbers, TV ratings, and international support. TNA have always been able to depend on their UK market for the maximum impact tour and TV tapings as well as TV ratings. But, how loyal will their UK fans be if GFW catches on and is seen as a better alternative? A large part of TNA's revenue comes from their international TV deals. GFW, by its very philosophy, could well see them become a much bigger global brand.

TNA will need to improve in every area and I think we are seeing this in their recent announcements. They recognize the threat from GFW and their paper thin relationship with DA. Looking at the prospect of a future where GFW becomes America's #2 wrestling promotion, may just be what galvanizes them into making some drastic, but necessary changes. In its own way, this could produce the same magic as the rivalry between WCW and WWF. TV ratings and fan attendances may not be at the same level, but in terms of the quality of the product and the sense of genuine rivalry, which TNA has never been able to offer WWE, it could still prove to become another great era in wrestling.

We could be on the cusp of something great...





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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 4:27 pm

That's a glass half full perspective. Which in itself, is not a complaint, just an observation, but:

1) Do we know how many tickets they sold. An event in a casino is going to get a lot of comp tickets if sales are not going well.

2) GFW doesn't have a TV deal, does it?

3) Jeff Jarrett led TNA to the brink of bancruptcy. Is there a good reason to think he won't do so again with GFW? They might have money now, but can they keep generating t/o and profit. Based on experience, we can assume JJ can't easier than we can assume he can.

4) I think that the UK can take tours from GFW (to those key areas of Grimsby and Kings Lynn) in addition to the TNA tours (London, Manchester, Birmingham). Not only are the venues significantly different, but GFW is really selling on its British contingent, Nick Aldiss, Marty Scurll, etc. Who can be seen in other events. I know that TNA also pushes its British talent on these tours, but it can still have some US stars that the British customer wants to see.

I hope GFW does well. But I think the very fact that it is new and still has to find its homes to be reason for doubt as well as celebration.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 4:46 pm

Yeah I know it is optimistic, but let us consider my glass half full perspective:

1. GFW are building momentum and gaining traction, while TNA are currently in a tail spin.
2. TNA could lose their TV deal with DA leaving them fighting GFW for airtime.
3. JJ as a wrestling promoter now has more experience with one company already on his CV (TNA) and so potentially will not make the same mistakes - he's now older and wiser.
4. GFW and TNA are very similar to one another - both rely heavily on international talent as well as sharing the 6-sided ring.

The way I look at it, one of 4 things is guaranteed to happen:

1. GFW out market and perform TNA to take its place in the industry, effectively sealing the end for TNA.
2. TNA get their act together and see off the challenge from GFW, becoming a better company in the process.
3. Both GFW and TNA thrive due to their professional/personal rivalry, being for each other the catalyst for innovation and success.
4. Both GFW and TNA end up out of business due to ongoing mismanagement and lack of interest by TV networks.

There may be other alternative outcomes I have not considered, but I think one of these 4 is guaranteed. Optimistically I want #3 to come true. I think it could be great for the wrestling business. OK

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 5:17 pm

I think until we know what GFW will be - and I suspect that until there is a TV deal in place, JJ does not know this either. It is premature to compare GFW and TNA. Maybe it can be more realistic to compare GFW and ROH, PWG or Evolve. And as TNA spirals to a smaller and smaller production there is a valid question of 'what difference does TNA have to these other products'.

I think what I'm trying to say is that the market is not just WWE, TNA and ANO.

In terms of excitement. GFW is the bottom of the pile for me. And that doesn't mean they can't succeed. But you have PWG's ability to put together super indie cards that have fans salivating (BOLA anyone?). Gabe has the eye for talent, which the WWE stories seem to back on their own. ROH has been doing some much more interesting things with x-promotion of New Japan talent than I think GFW is capable of.

I do hope it succeeds. But the fact that TNA has fallen so far, I don't think should be mis-represented when looking at the wrestling scene. And so far the fall of TNA has had really small effects on ROH (slightly wider TV coverage) and other promotions. So, I don't necessarily see a reason, other than taking some middle-of-the-road talent, for GFW succeeding where TNA has failed.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Adam D on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 5:38 pm

I personally believe that Tna and gfw will eventually merge and TNA as a brand will disappear.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 5:47 pm

That would seem an obvious step. The biggest question for me is whether it is possible without TNA going out of business, e.g. how much debt will come with not a lot of equity.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 5:51 pm

It would be the best business decision for TNA to be ridden of if it merges with GFW. The brand image it's as appealing as a dog dragging its butt over a carpet. 

It saddens me that these promotions are getting by with old ideas and limited scope when LU will likely die having tried to be fresh and innovative.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 5:57 pm

Prometheus wrote:I think until we know what GFW will be - and I suspect that until there is a TV deal in place, JJ does not know this either.  It is premature to compare GFW and TNA.  Maybe it can be more realistic to compare GFW and ROH, PWG or Evolve.  And as TNA spirals to a smaller and smaller production there is a valid question of 'what difference does TNA have to these other products'.  

I think what I'm trying to say is that the market is not just WWE, TNA and ANO.  

In terms of excitement.  GFW is the bottom of the pile for me.  And that doesn't mean they can't succeed.  But you have PWG's ability to put together super indie cards that have fans salivating (BOLA anyone?).  Gabe  has the eye for talent, which the WWE stories seem to back on their own.  ROH has been doing some much more interesting things with x-promotion of New Japan talent than I think GFW is capable of.  

I do hope it succeeds.  But the fact that TNA has fallen so far, I don't think should be mis-represented when looking at the wrestling scene.  And so far the fall of TNA has had really small effects on ROH (slightly wider TV coverage) and other promotions.  So, I don't necessarily see a reason, other than taking some middle-of-the-road talent, for GFW succeeding where TNA has failed.

Fair comments, I admit I am speculating. But I don't think it's premature to compare GFW to TNA. They have Jeff Jarrett in common for one thing. I watched the press conference for the GFW first TV tapings and I thought it did a good job of generating buzz for the fledgling promotion. If on the basis of these first TV tapings, GFW can secure a TV deal then they could immediately find themselves in a stronger position than the indie companies such as PWG or ROH. For one, GFW has shared talent with TNA - so there is some name value to their roster, as well as an existing fan base. Secondly, GFW is trying to establish itself in Las Vegas, which is a smart move considering that Vegas is the fight capital of the world. There's a lot of money to be made in Vegas. It could prove more lucrative than operating out of Orlando. Thirdly, Jeff Jarrett is being inducted into the TNA HOF this year and has appeared on impact wrestling promoting GFW. Marketing has always been one of TNA's weaknesses. If GFW can develop a better marketing strategy, more doors could open for them in the near future.

That being said, I did not mean to imply that TNA have already shrunk to the point where they are now having to compete with companies such as GFW that are still unproven. TNA are in a bad shape yes, but they are not dead or insignificant yet. It is do or die for TNA, even if GFW doesn't become the 'force' it hopes to be. TNA need to prove themselves to DA if a new TV deal is going to be reached. TNA also need to reinvest in their roster and in house shows in the future, if they are going to generate the kind of money to secure their position within the industry.

Now imagine if my original scenario came true, it would be great for the wrestling industry and I think we as the fans would be the winners. Not since WCW and WWF in the 90s have we seen a genuine rivalry between promotions. The prospect of another bona fide rivalry must be exciting surely? Imagine 5 years from now, GFW and TNA are both on TV and both competing against one another for TV ratings and house shows. They still share talent, but compete to see who can get the better matches from the roster and claim bragging rights over their booking. Imagine if they were to put on PPVs like WCW vs the NWO. There is so much potential! idea

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 7:32 pm

You make some good points FP.

Vegas is an interesting one. I'd not be an expert on the US, but I think I'm right in saying that as some areas of Florida are economically deprived there are big incentives to film there. Certainly, the comparision to NY where TNA get a much better atmosphere, but have to pay full union rates, would be stark. So, economically, how appealing is Vegas long term.

Vegas is the fight capital of the world, but for the mega-fights. I heard a story that even the McGregor / Aldo fight had been bumped as it was double-booked with Andrea Bocelli! And that's a fight that is expected to sell well. Just out of interest, how many of the GFW roster can you name and how many of them would draw you to Vegas to watch?

And I come back to the fact that after that they are playing Grimsby and Kings Lynn. Not Berlin & Paris. Or London and Barcelona, but Grimsby and Kings Lynn. And I know from small acorns, but that's a backwater already.

And in 5 years time. Well, its still impossible for me to see anyone competing with WWE. And that is the big thing. Sure these two promotions could be competing against each other, but if that is a scenario where they have 10% viewers of WWE, does it really matter?
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by dyrewolfe on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 10:34 am

I'm with TP in that I hope the two brands can grow side by side and develop a genuine rivalry, which will help both companies prosper.

As Prometheus said WWE are out there on their own, however they do cater to a specific demographic (some say its too PC and sanitised) and its up to TNA and GFW to provide a real alternative for wrestling fans who want something a bit darker and edgier...and generally just different.

There will probably need to be a bit of mutual assistance for a while, but if they can deliver the goods, they have a chance. If they end up drifting aimlessly like TNA have been doing, they'll either have to merge to survive, or both will go out of business.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Adam D on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 10:52 am

I believe they are aiming for GFW to be of friendly.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 12:16 pm

Prometheus wrote:You make some good points FP.  

Vegas is an interesting one.  I'd not be an expert on the US, but I think I'm right in saying that as some areas of Florida are economically deprived there are big incentives to film there.  Certainly, the comparision to NY where TNA get a much better atmosphere, but have to pay full union rates, would be stark.  So, economically, how appealing is Vegas long term.

Vegas is the fight capital of the world, but for the mega-fights.  I heard a story that even the McGregor / Aldo fight had been bumped as it was double-booked with Andrea Bocelli!  And that's a fight that is expected to sell well.  Just out of interest, how many of the GFW roster can you name and how many of them would draw you to Vegas to watch?

And I come back to the fact that after that they are playing Grimsby and Kings Lynn.  Not Berlin & Paris.  Or London and Barcelona, but Grimsby and Kings Lynn.  And I know from small acorns, but that's a backwater already.

And in 5 years time.  Well, its still impossible for me to see anyone competing with WWE.  And that is the big thing.  Sure these two promotions could be competing against each other, but if that is a scenario where they have 10% viewers of WWE, does it really matter?

You could be right, and yes Vegas is the mecca for the super-fights, something way out of GFW league. GFW are never going to be on the same level as a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight, but I think it is more about making a statement. Pitching their tent in Vegas for the TV tapings is a bold move. It certainly says they have global intentions. And the Orleans Arena in Vegas accepted the booking. Something about GFW must have persuaded them that this would be good for business. I'm sure Vegas can afford to be picky about what entertainment they choose to host. If GFW manage to get a TV deal out of these tapings, you can bet they could book the Wembley Arena in London in the not too distant future.

GFW already have former WWE performers on their roster e.g. Doc, Shelton Benjamin and Chris Mordetzky. They also have a talent share with TNA bringing in the likes of Bobby Roode and EY. Then there's the respected indie talent who have had connections to TNA in the past such as Sonjay Dutt and the Young Bucks. And of course the presence of Chael Sonnen. So I think for fans of TNA, ROH and New Japan where some of these wrestlers have performed since leaving the WWE/TNA they would be interested in booking a ticket to Vegas to see these guys wrestle for GFW. It may not appeal to your casual WWE wrestling fan, who once a person is FE'd they no longer exist. But, then if the opposite were true, we would have another Monday Night War on our hands.

The TV ratings will be the tough sell for TV networks. 10% of WWE's viewership isn't much to shout about. But, if the rhetoric surrounding GFW is true then they're not just going to be another WWE Lite promotion. They're building a network around the world of wrestling promotions, partnerships where some of the best talent from outside North America come into one place and perform. Lucha Libre, Japanese hard style, European, X-Division all under GFW's roof. I don't know how Jeff is going to make it work. Will they have a continually revolving roster? But, it would certainly prove to be an alternative to the 'WWE style'.

Again this is where it could prove the making of TNA who have collaborated in the past with the likes of AAA in Mexico and Wrestle 1 in Japan, but have never fully utilized the opportunities. The way they have handled contract issues is proof of their mismanagement of these situations. However, should GFW start setting the precedence then TNA might re-evaluate their links to other promotions and build much stronger relationships, where all partners can work out something best for everyone. That's not to say TNA should just become GFW Lite, but you can see the seeds of GFW in hindsight in Jeff's time in TNA. TNA need to become the leader again in innovative wrestling programming, which means more than just increasing their amount of Youtube content.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 3:20 pm

I don't think many New Japan fans are going to be going out of their way to watch Shelton Benjamin. Doc Gallows is also one of their weaker talents, but I do admit that the Bullet Club T-shirts will sell tickets.

As far as I understand it, GFW will have 4 divisions. Men, Women, Tag and Nex*Gen. I don't think I could name a single woman on their roster, well Mickie I suppose, but I think they could have let that one go. So there is no obvious focus that isn't taken straight from WWE. We'll be able to judge it only once it gets going, but I'm not feeling anything different here that makes me salivate for GFW as a brand.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 3:40 pm

Prometheus wrote:I don't think many New Japan fans are going to be going out of their way to watch Shelton Benjamin.  Doc Gallows is also one of their weaker talents, but I do admit that the Bullet Club T-shirts will sell tickets.

As far as I understand it, GFW will have 4 divisions.  Men, Women, Tag and Nex*Gen.  I don't think I could name a single woman on their roster, well Mickie I suppose, but I think they could have let that one go.  So there is no obvious focus that isn't taken straight from WWE.  We'll be able to judge it only once it gets going, but I'm not feeling anything different here that makes me salivate for GFW as a brand.  

I'm not salivating (yet) either. GFW could be just hype and never live up to any of it. TNA might not even be around long enough for GFW to become an established promotion with which to compete against. My ideas of them being rivals, sharpening each other in the process and producing some quality TV for us fans to enjoy might never happen. However, there's a possibility.

btw out of curiosity I googled the size of the venue GFW are going to be using in Grimsby on their UK tour. It has a capacity of 1,200 seated, 2000 standing. Yes, it's nothing special in and of itself. But, considering the size of the impact zone in Orlando and how many fans TNA are getting on average, if GFW were to sell out the auditorium and get 1,200 on their first tour it would be quite impressive. If they could get 1,200 paying fans to come to Grimsby of all places from across the UK, they would already be doing better than TNA's average PPV attendance! It would also show there is potential for growth in the brand. Now of course, they might only get 400 people and go back to America with their tails between their legs. But, in the age of the internet and with the general feeling surrounding TNA at the moment, I can see UK fans being quite hungry for something new and something that shows signs of having potential. Jeff Jarrett has certainly let it be known he has received a lot of requests from UK fans for GFW to tour the UK. He could be exaggerating, but we'll find out soon enough.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Sun 26 Jul 2015, 3:53 pm

That is very interesting.

I'm not surprised that GFW has had a lot of requests from the UK. As I see it, NWA begets WCW begets TNA and TNA begets GFW. That is a nice circle of types. But, what we can also see is that TNA has been popular in UK and the GFW links to TNA will be a draw.

Adam probably has a much better handle on these figures than I. But I think TNA was selling between 1,500 and 4,500 tickets for its matches in UK this year.

So, the market should be there (though of course those tickets were in bigger cities), but this will still be an interesting test.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 27 Jul 2015, 12:54 pm

Is Grimsby known as a hot-bed of wrestling?

I suppose at least in Kings Lynn people will have heard of Magnus...but they might still end up being the aftershow entertainment for the local banger races. Wink
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Mon 27 Jul 2015, 2:38 pm

The spin Jeff is putting on it is that he wants to take GFW to places that don't usually get the privilege of hosting wrestling shows like London or Manchester. But, if what Jeff says is true and that there is already demand by UK fans for GFW, then I think they could get 800-1000 people. With the addition of Magnus to the GFW roster then hardcore fans of TNA might be tempted to come out too. I think it's a good move by GFW. Yes Grimsby is no Vegas or even London, but look at the problems TNA have had before, booking 5000+ arenas only for them to fail to sell tickets. 1,200 seats is far more realistic for a new promotion that does have some name value attached to it. This is what TNA should be doing in America.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Mon 27 Jul 2015, 2:53 pm

This all boils down to the super simple question, "does JJ have a US and International TV deal for GFW?".

If he does, or at least has a US deal, then it all falls into place. And I have to believe that this flight of fancy must be part of an international TV deal, to show that he is both committed to his partners around the world and has the logistics and infrastructure to run wrestling matches globally. I don't know if that is taking TNA's current TV slots, or if it is something new, but the only way you get on a plane and fly to Grimsby International Airport to put on a show for a thousand people is if those people are going to be watching your product afterwards on TV.

Otherwise this is pure folly. So what if the British fans love you. It doesn't matter, stay in the US and hammer out a TV deal. Make money. Keep building up a fan base. Don't spread yourself too wide, too thinly, too soon.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by talkingpoint on Mon 27 Jul 2015, 3:40 pm

Prometheus wrote:This all boils down to the super simple question, "does JJ have a US and International TV deal for GFW?".

If he does, or at least has a US deal, then it all falls into place.  And I have to believe that this flight of fancy must be part of an international TV deal, to show that he is both committed to his partners around the world and has the logistics and infrastructure to run wrestling matches globally.  I don't know if that is taking TNA's current TV slots, or if it is something new, but the only way you get on a plane and fly to Grimsby International Airport to put on a show for a thousand people is if those people are going to be watching your product afterwards on TV.  

Otherwise this is pure folly.  So what if the British fans love you.  It doesn't matter, stay in the US and hammer out a TV deal.  Make money.  Keep building up a fan base.  Don't spread yourself too wide, too thinly, too soon.

I totally agree. However, there are only two UK dates. They are playing baseball stadiums for the rest of the summer in the US and have a couple more TV tapings in Vegas, so the focus is very much on their US market. I don't blame them for taking a couple of UK dates, to give UK fans a taste and it fills a gap until they can get some more US bookings in the winter. Jeff knows how important the UK fans are to TNA, he knows how passionate UK wrestling fans are. I'm sure Jeff will want to create a strong fan base in the UK over the next few years and this is showing them early that GFW cares about the UK, which could go a long way with the fans in engendering loyalty.

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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

Post by Prometheus on Mon 27 Jul 2015, 4:46 pm

Actually, I've just seen the poster for Grimsby and the only US talents are the Jarrett's and Mickie James, who I presume will be turning this into a family visit with Magnus. I'd also not be surprised if they don't even bother transporting the 6-sided ring to the events. If they are using British-based talent / talent who are happy to get the holiday rolled into this, and can travel with minimal support staff and such then this won't be as bigger undertaking as I imagined it would be at first.
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Re: GFW could be the best thing to happen to TNA

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