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GFW is Officially Alive!

After over a year in the making, Jeff Jarrett's newest baby, Global Force Wrestling (GFW), is finally alive, kicking off their first show of the GFW Grand Slam Tour in Jackson, Tennessee. The talent roster looks pretty damn loaded too, with the Bullet Club, Chris Mordetzky, Lei'D Tapa, Sonjay Dutt, and Thea Trinidad, among others, on deck for the tour.



Jarrett's concept for GFW is intriguing, to say the least, aiming to be the first truly global super league in wrestling history. With partnerships with AAA, NJPW, WWP, and various European and Australasian promotions in his pocket, it feels like there's something big brewing here. His strategy of tackling smaller markets not traditionally saturated by the WWE house show circuit is sensible as well, and the Jarrett family name will always have its cache down south.



The Jackson show just wrapped, and we have some initial thoughts on initial photos that have been trickling in.

*****

1.
Jarrett really loves his six-sided rings

We initially had an inkling of this when we saw the ticket seating plans for the tour online—would GFW be adopting the six-sided ring Jarrett pioneered in TNA?



Now it's official. GFW will be the latest home of the six-sider.



It's an interesting move, but not altogether unexpected—for all the complaints various wrestlers have made on how this configuration is harder on the body due to the increased tension of the mat, it's certainly distinctive, and helps differentiate GFW (visually at least) from its indie brethren.



We do wonder though if this is the best set-up for a promotion with a rotating talent pool of free agents, as GFW is. An unusual configuration made sense for TNA, where its dedicated talent of roster only had this one ring to adjust to. With GFW talents flying in and out on an irregular basis, we may see a bit of discomfort and unfamiliarity as they struggle to reacclimate themselves to this less conventional ring.

*****

2.
Ballparks still suck for wrestling shows

Over here at the Smark Henry offices, we aren't tremendous fans of ballparks as wrestling venues. Traditional stadiums and arenas do a much better job at containing the energy and volume of an invested audience as opposed to an open sky that just leaches everything out, making even a hot crowd seem dead.



We don't like as well how certain seating sections—mainly the cheap ones—are disproportionately farther from the ring as compared to the premium ringside and lower box seats. Unlike your typical arena where you can pretty much expect to be equidistant from the ring as everyone else in your section, there's a huge penalty for being cheap. For an art that's as dependent on emotional connection and nuance as pro wrestling is, that's a huge deal.



We do have one thing to say though. That netting that's supposed to protect baseball spectators from foul balls and wild pitches? That really has no place in a wrestling show. It creates an unnatural barrier between performer and fan. And really, we aren't exactly seeing any signs announcing "If Chuck Taylor wins, we riot!" so we don't imagine crowd control needs to be a huge consideration at this point.

*****

3.
GFW can do as much live business as TNA

Let's take a look at the crowd for the Jackson show. Here's how many people turned up for GFW.



Now let's take a look at a TNA crowd from a couple of years back in a similar venue.



That's maybe 150-200, roughly? It's certainly not on par with a WWE-level sellout crowd, but if a rookie upstart like GFW can pull the same size of crowd as an established name like TNA, which in theory has its own dedicated national fanbase, then that's got to be a great sign as they continue to gather steam in the future.



They have the talent to put on some great shows. Let's hope they continue to play things smart.

*****

We'll continue to keep an eye out on GFW. Let's be real honest here. We desperately want GFW to succeed. The wrestling world is at its best when competition is thriving, as any fan of the Monday Night Wars would tell you. As we pointed out before, the indie wrestling scene is as robust as its ever been, with some world-class talent waving the banner outside the mainstream.



What would you do differently with GFW if you were Jeff Jarrett? Are there any talents you think they absolutely have to nail down? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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