Global Force Wrestling Vice President of International Relations, writer and talent relations worker Scott D'Amore took some time to speak with "The HANNIBAL TV" to discuss Impact's name change from TNA to Global Force Wrestling, what else has changed with the company, the return of house shows this summer, a new "Gut Check" reality show coming this fall being recorded mainly at D'Amore's Can Am Wrestling school where he has trained the likes of Rhyno, Eric Young, Gail Kim and a long list of others, D'Amore also speaks on his experiences as an enhancement wrestling in WWE and WCW and much more.
You can watch the full interview in the video above, thanks to Wrestling Inc. reader Himanshu D for this transcription:
His current position in Global Force Wrestling:
"My current position with Global Force Wrestling and Impact, or I guess Global Force Wrestling Impact, is Vice President of International Relations and also heading up a lot of the talent relations stuff as well as being on the booking committee."
Why they decided to change the name from TNA to Global Force Wrestling:
"The decision to change or to get away from the TNA name was kind of done before I got involved. They had kind of started moving towards the direction of 'Impact Wrestling', and then with everything with Jeff Jarrett, myself, Karen Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, Kevin Sullivan, the Global Force Wrestling team coming in, with this merger the decision was basically to become 'Global Force Wrestling Impact'. 'Impact' is a brand name, it will continue to be the name of our flagship show, and you can think of 'Global Force Wrestling' or 'GFW' as the sanctioning body per se. It's like we're the National Wrestling Alliance and the TV show is Championship Wrestling From Florida, to kind of use an analogy that is probably way too old for most of the people watching this to get. But that's kind of the idea, so you'll see 'GFW Impact', you'll see 'GFW Xplosion' which is our syndicated show that airs in I think 60+ markets around the world. Obviously as you've seen, we've unified the championships, and I think it's a great way of combining the two of them and showing that we have a fresh new era, we're moving in a new direction, we're moving in a positive direction, and we're part of wrestling's future. Whatever happened in the past, good and bad, it's all there, it's in the past and we're moving forward and we're gonna move forward in a very positive and great direction."
If he is on the writing team:
"I was part of the writing team off and on over for a few years and then from early 2005, the end of the Dusty Rhodes era and with the launch on Spike TV and everything else, I headed up the creative committee at that time with Mike Tenay, Jeremy Borash, Dutch Mantell and all that and we had a great run. Dave Meltzer says it was the best period and who would ever argue with Dave Meltzer? Unless he says anything bad about me, then we argue with him. But yeah, then I got away from that and, I think it was right around the end of '06 or early '07, stayed on as a producer for a few years and now I'm back and part of the booking team. We've got a great group in there and I think we're trying to highlight wrestling but also tell compelling, entertaining storylines.
"If you look at it, we just did Slammiversary and we had Bobby Lashley and Alberto El Patron out there, two great heavyweights having a tremendous heavyweight title unification match. The contrast to that was that opening match which was the four-way tag team match where you had LAX representing Impact, you had Marufuji and Ishimori representing NOAH, you had Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid representing The Crash and then you had Drago and Fantasma representing AAA. God, it was like 20 minutes. That's that high-paced, fast action-type style that so many people love. We put that out there and then you had Joseph Park and Jeremy Borash wrestling Josh Matthews and Scott Steiner with Shark Boy and Jim Mitchell and little bit of comedy and gaga out there. We try to give a little bit of something for everybody when we go out there. We want to showcase great wrestling but we want to tell great stories and we want to make people laugh. That's when wrestling is done right, it does all those things."
The relationship between Impact and Pro Wrestling NOAH:
"The relationship with Impact and Pro Wrestling NOAH is a pretty new relationship when Pro Wrestling NOAH, much like Impact, changed ownership, Pro Wrestling NOAH did late in 2016, Impact I guess officially at the start of 2017. Uchida-san, Masayuki Uchida, who's the chairman of Pro Wrestling NOAH, I've done business with him over the years both with the All Japan Pro Wrestling promotion and then with the Wrestle-1 promotion, he reached out to me and wanted to start doing stuff with the Can-Am dojo and we were talking about stuff and then as it got going and then kind of a funny situation you know, it was like, "Oh, how's your relationship with Impact Wrestling?". I was like, "Oh it's really good. I get along with everybody there." And as that started, he was kind of like, "Can you put together a type of agreement or partnership between Impact and Pro Wrestling NOAH?".
"So I started the conversation being a representative of NOAH approaching Impact and before we got the deal done, I ended up the Vice President of Impact signing the deal for them with Pro Wrestling NOAH. But we're going to look to exchange talent, which you've seen. Eddie Edwards, Moose, James Storm have all went over and appeared on Pro Wrestling NOAH events, and you just saw this past week and for many weeks of television here upcoming, you'll be seeing Marufuji and Ishimori competing in Impact which is fantastic. We'll also be sending some talent, like we'll be sending some of our young talent probably like Shera and some other guys over there to compete and learn by training in their dojo and they'll be sending guys over this way. Currently here at the Can-Am dojo, we have Kaito Kiyomiya who's 20-years-old, just a stud of an athlete who they think is potentially the future of Pro Wrestling NOAH. He's living here in Canada and training here at the dojo for a few months and that's the type of synergy that we want to see, right? We're going to teach their young wrestlers, give them some of the American sizzle, we're going to take the American wrestlers, send them over there so they can get some of that traditional Japanese training and a talent exchange of course, and eventually our goal is certainly to have co-branded events both in the United States and in Japan and maybe other places. With the relationships with AAA and The Crash, there's opportunities to go out there and run events all over the world. We just became the first US-based wrestling company to go over and film in India and then air that all over the world. So that's a great market to be in and we're just looking to go out and expand and as the name says be global."
If there will be house shows again in the future:
"There will absolutely 100% be house shows as already has been announced. We have our first house shows in early August, we have three days, August 4th, 5th and 6th in the New York City and Jersey area. That's our first loop. We'll be announcing very soon September house shows and October house shows and we're going to get back out there and in front of wrestling fans because what we do at the end of the day is entertain wrestling fans and part of that is getting out there and getting that interaction. It's great to watch it on TV, it's great to consume tons of content here (on a mobile phone), but when we're doing things the way we've done it in this business for close to a hundred years now, we're getting out there and a lot of that personal interaction, right? Fans want to meet their favourite wrestler, they want to see them in person, they want to get a chance to touch them, they want to get a chance to take a picture with them and that's what we're going to provide when we go out there and do our live events."
The tryout with Pro Wrestling NOAH and the upcoming reality show with Impact Wrestling:
"Well basically what started is with Marufuji over here, Uchida-san and myself had talked about doing a little tryout to look for some new young gaijin or American talent for NOAH. As that got going then Jeff Jarrett said, "Hey, Impact would be interested in being a part of that" and we of course said, 'Absolutely'. So originally the idea was that we'd come here and we'd choose one wrestler to fly to Japan and to live in Japan for a little while, to get an opportunity to do a little training there and most importantly to get a chance to wrestle and perform on NOAH events, and for Impact, what we looked at doing was, the idea was to pick somebody who would get a developmental opportunity, a chance to be here in the Can-Am dojo, to be sponsored by Impact and to train here for a minimum of three months and at the end of that three months they'd be evaluated on an Impact event.
"So as we talked about it, in this day and age when you look at things and as we've talked about how important digital content is, the thought process became, "Why don't we document this entire process from when they get picked to when they show up to when they start their training to when they finish it to when they go to a GFW Impact event, to be part of that event and to be kind of evaluated. That's what it kind of morphed into in the discussions and the talent that showed up was tremendous, and we ended up choosing two people for the Impact portion of the tryout and we're excited to have them. They'll be joining us in September. Honest to god, we were actually oversold for the tryout which concerned me but we got them all through, got a chance to evaluate them all and just really had a great group of guys. I've never done one of these things where there was nobody that was like (really bad). Overall, we just had a good group. We legitimately probably could've picked 10 people and there's a lot of people out there that were part of this tryout that didn't win but I think definitely improved their position and put their names and themselves in a position where they can be monitored and hopefully get opportunities down the road."