I spoke with Jeff Jarrett, who looked back at the great New Japan Pro Wrestling Wrestle Kingdom 9 pay-per-view that took place from the Tokyo Dome on January 4th. You can follow Jarrett on Twitter @RealJeffJarrett, and Global Force Wrestling @GFWWrestling. You can also order the replay of Wrestle Kingdom 9 on pay-per-view. Below is the full interview.
With my schedule sitting down for four hours is not easy. I've watched it all, just not in one sitting. It was just a phenomenal show. It was so good live. I was not only wrestling but working and making sure I had my promoter hat on and making sure anything that needs to get done gets done. When you really let it soak in as a fan, it blew me away. The presentation, how the ring was mic'd and the crowd was mic'd. There was a lot of hype going in to it and it shaped up to be a can't miss event.
Had Jim Ross and Matt Striker worked together before in the booth?
They said they had worked together before, I think Matt's real early WWE days. Nonetheless, to see those guys prep for the show, and when JR opens his briefcase and it's document after document after document, they went into it. It was really very cool to hear JR prep for it and hear the excitement and anticipation in his voice. Then we wake up in the morning and meet in the lobby and have our coffee, we knew it was game day. It was really cool, a special experience.
What was JR's take on the event? He seemed like he was blown away during the event.
I don't wanna put words in his mouth, but certainly what my perception was that he just went to war for four hours. If you're not a wrestling fan then God bless you. He raved about the entire card, but the last three matches back-to-back-to-back is about as good as it's gonna get. Nakamura is a special wrestler. His presentation and the King of Strong Style and to hear the crowd erupt during his entrance. Then as he shifted gears from the theatrics to his wrestling style, being so aggressive and taking no prisoners, that was very compelling.
What was the reaction from the talent? They're used to putting on good shows, but this was something else.
It was special. From the first match, they set the bar so high. When you have ten matches and four hours you think one match isn't going to live up to its expectations or whatever. But this was one match after another and it was building. I like to say the first half of the show was the first half of a ballgame, and it was action packed game and very compelling and exciting. When you got deep into the third and fourth quarter, that was as good of a fourth quarter you'll see in pro wrestling.
Putting on your promoter's hat again, how did you feel about the show? Did it meet or exceed your expectations?
It's real early, too early to tell. I'm waiting for numbers and I'm more anxious than anyone else in this world is. We're analyzing data from everywhere even the piracy and torrent sites that everyone knows exists out there. The numbers we've heard are very high traffic in that world. That usually translates to high pay-per-view buys, but we'll see.
Do you see Global Force Wrestling promoting more International PPV's this year?
As par the course, when we feel the time is right. We're promoting the replay schedule, so go to GlobalForceWrestling.com whether you're cable, or satellite or even the Flipps app. We would be crazy not to go down that road, and not just New Japan but other international promotions in America.
What do you think that a WWE or a TNA could take away from this show?
All the credit and success of this show goes absolutely to the New Japan roster. That being said, there were ten matches, and only three without non-Japanese talents. There were a lot of Americans on that show. The success is all on that roster, because no matter how good Jim Ross or Matt Striker are, or how innovative Global Force Wrestling is, or how widely distributed, it's about the first bell to the last 1-2-3. That dictates the success of a show, and it's now secret. The drama, how good the matches were...that's the biggest takeaway for me.
You said GFW would launch as its own promotion this year, so what's going on in the coming weeks and months?
Stay tuned. I'm excited about it. I've been working non-stop, tirelessly to get sponsors. I will release that information when the time is right.
What are the differences you've experienced in starting Global Force Wrestling as opposed to when you started TNA?
The world has changed drastically, especially in the world of entertainment. I have five kids and they don't really watch TV. They watch monitors and tablets and phones and Vines, and that wasn't around 12 years ago. Netflix, Hulu, weren't around. When you look at distribution models, that's the biggest difference. I take it as a huge positive because the world is much better connected. Global Force Wrestling had the chance to present Wrestle Kingdom 9 on a truly global basis. That's really unique and something we want to continue to veer into.
How important is a TV deal to launching, or is it something that can be done without a TV deal?
You gotta appeal to the masses. You have to have your product available to the masses. It's not like the Spikes and the CMTs and the WGNs and the AMCs of the world are going away any time soon. A top tier cable system can expose you to 100 million homes each week. There's an extreme value to that, but there's an extreme value to streaming. Look at WWE: they're on Mondays and Thursdays, they have their network. You have to be able to reach a broad audience, but you have to have compelling content. You can't be on NBC on prime time on Thursday nights if your program isn't compelling.
Is it true that as part of your deal to leave TNA you can't negotiate with Spike?
That's not true.
When TNA started it was a PPV specific product. Do you see a strategy like that working today?
The PPV model of monthly or weekly, I don't think will bear enough fruit. Special events like TripleMania absolutely can if they get the appropriate distribution model to take.
Where do you see PPV in the next 5 to 10 years?
I don't see it changing. Go ask Floyd Mayweather or Dana White if they think that pay-per-view is a dying business model. I certainly don't think so and I don't see it going away. If you create enough demand for your product in any business, you will get a return. It's all about creating that demand, that aura, that specialty. We're about to roll into WrestleMania season and that will be a can't miss event because of the big money match, the special attraction.
Do you think we'll see a Global Force Wrestling event by the time WrestleMania rolls around?
Is there anything else you can tell us what to expect from Global Force.
I love that there's anticipation and a fan base that wants to know who, what, when, where and why. But I will stick to my strategic rollout that I want to create brand awareness, and that each move we make contributes to brand awareness. You all will be the first to know when we get something out.