Wednesday 30 July 2014

Global Wrestling Alliance

It’s been nearly four months since Jeff Jarrett announced the formation of Global Force Wrestling. They’ve still yet to announce their first show or any sort of formal roster. These are the two most key things any wrestling promotion needs. Without wrestlers or a venue it’s hard to argue that what you actually have is a wrestling company. At the moment it’s more accurate to say that ‘Double J’ is running a niche T-shirt company.

While Global Force don’t have a roster or a show announced they have announced a number of partnerships with other wrestling promotions. The most noteworthy of these are Mexico’s AAA and Japan’s New Japan Pro Wrestling. Behind them are the Inoki Genome Federation, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Premier British Wrestling, New Generation Wrestling, and Westside Xtreme Wrestling.

That’s considerable support, especially for a company yet to actually do anything. A partnership with New Japan alone is a big deal. Although it’s worth noting that the European promotions are not big operations and operate on scales more similar to smaller US indies than AAA or New Japan.

The emphasis on partnerships, as opposed to signing talent and promoting shows, has made me think about an approach I think Global Force could take when it finally starts up (if it starts up). In fact it’s the approach I want to see them take. I think GFW could do a lot worse than pattern themselves after the National Wrestling Alliance during its heyday.

This was during the NWA championship's last
bout of relevance. In, of all places, TNA.
Do I need to summarise how the NWA worked? Probably not but I will anyway. It was an organisation comprised of wrestling promoters from around the United States. Each member ran their own promotion, had their own rosters and had their own championships. The NWA had a variety of purposes, many of which were logistical. For our purposes the most interesting thing about the group was the NWA world championship. It was created as the world championship in wrestling, with each promoter’s top singles title taking a back seat to it and being more of a regional accomplishment.

Each member of the NWA had access to the NWA world champ and got to vote on when a champion would lose the championship and to whom (based on the size of their territory, the champ’s home promotion, and so on). This approach meant that seeing the NWA world championship felt like an occasion. That in turn meant better business for all involved.

In 2014 it would be naïve to think that a world champion touring around a variety of promotions would have the same appeal. The world’s moved on and the nature of viewing wrestling has changed, thanks to both cable TV and the internet. But the idea of GFW champions visiting smaller promotions holds a certain appeal. And I’d like to see it happen.

My ideal Global Force setup would be for most shows to be held in the US, with tours every few months to Europe, Japan or Mexico. The tours would be co-promoted by the partner promotions under the Global Force banner, featuring a mixture of talent from all (or most) of the GFW partner promotions. Naturally the partner league promoting the shows locally would provide most of the talent, but with this approach Global Force would routinely be able to offer a roster on, well, a global scale.

What’s this got to do with champions? That should be obvious. Once GFW has been up and running for a year or two a tournament could be held to crown a world champion. They could go on to be one of the key figures on every tour GFW promotes, eventually being joined by tag champs and perhaps junior heavyweight and women’s champions too.

Inaugural Global Force world champ?
This approach would make the focus on partnerships make sense and allow GFW to neatly sidestep the issue of having a roster nailed down. It would be a fluid approach that lends itself to the inevitable comings and goings that are bound to occur. For that matter it wouldn’t adversely affect the current approaches of any Global Force partner. Every federation from New Japan to Andy Quildan’s RPW could operate as normal and just take on extra dates once or twice a year when Jarrett feels frisky.

This approach would also work well for online streaming, both live and on demand. That’s something Jarrett’s not addressed yet but if he intends to make GFW work on the scale he claims it’s something he’ll have to look into. People will need to be able to access shows online. Not necessarily live, but within a few days of them taking place.

I can’t think of any other way Global Force Wrestling could function while getting the footage it needs and taking into account its various limitations. If Jarrett doesn’t do it this way I’ll be disappointed.

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