I recently interviewed GFW lead announcer Josh Mathews. Below is the full interview:
* * *
Firstly Josh, you've really come into your own in GFW. One thing that was noticeable since you joined the company, was your conscious effort to kind of have a deeper tone. Can you talk through the process - who have worked/are working with you backstage?
"As it relates to my commentary? No, I think that's a common misconception, to think that I've changed, or my style changed, or my voice changed. All of that is not true. I've been calling wrestling the same way that I've been calling wrestling since I started. Obviously, I've gotten better, as I've gone along, but there's no change in anything.
"It would be impossible to work somewhere for 13 years, and then come here, and immediately change the way that I call a wrestling match. Or the way that my cadence or my voice, or my style and all that… it is what it is. I've been the same way since I started doing this."
In the past couple of weeks, we've seen the likes of Jim Cornette, who I believe has one of the best minds in the business, and Johnny Impact coming in. How has that changed the mood of the locker room backstage? And what do you think about their arrivals?
"Well I think it's great. I think that - keeping them separate, I think that Johnny Impact coming in is awesome. I've known Johnny since before his wrestling career started. I've always been a fan of his, and I think what he does is phenomenal, and I think that he brings a different style, and a different attitude into the locker room.
"As for Jim Cornette, obviously he has been around this sport for many, many years. I think that Jim does bring a level of wisdom with him and everything that he does with the company, and everything he does with his character and the credibility that he brings. Honestly, I don't have a whole lot of time in my day to… I don't have a lot of time when we're down there doing TV to be in the locker room and see the morale of the locker room. But I think that those guys will bring a lot of different energy to the locker room, for sure."
You personally have had a big year in 2017, becoming one of the more prominent figures on - air. Was that something you pitched to the creative? How did the ball start rolling with you becoming more involved on - air?
"Well, I'll tell you exactly how it happened. When Jeff Jarrett came here, and when they were getting ready to take over, I said to him, 'Check out what happens when I go out there. The fans don't like me.' He sort of laughed and said, 'Okay'.
When I came back in the night, he said, 'They don't like you. They hate you!' And he said, 'I have an idea', and I said okay. The next thing I know, we were getting ready to have this match at Slammiversary. So that was all how it sort of came about, and that's the way it sort of played its role.
As you said, you've been in this business for over a decade. How do you see the evolution of this business over the past decade, and the wrestlers having a different dimension to their characters?
"I think it goes hand in hand with social media. And that wrestlers - everyone really - are more accessible than they ever have been before. And you get to know who these people really are. So it's hard to be a character, right? You are who you are. If you go on social media and do certain things, that's probably going to play into the way you are on TV.
"Look at what happened with me. I did an interview - a segment for one of our digital platforms, where I said I feel that I'm the best wrestling commentator on the planet. And that's another avenue that sort of put this whole thing into perspective, and there are so many different platforms, and so many different things that you just can't control, that you have to roll with.
"When they got rid of that Talking Smack show (on WWE) because the characters - the people were being too real, and so they can't control that. So they said they were not going to do the show anymore, because of the way it's going, and we don't like it, and we're going to stop doing it. GFW is the opposite, where we sort of embrace what happened, and we say, 'Okay. Let's see how we can deal with it.'"
I also wanted to ask you about the interview, the segment that you did, where you proclaimed yourself to be the G.O.A.T. Was that impromptu? Or did you go in thinking you'd be saying that?
"No, I didn't think I would say it until I said it. And it's true, how I feel about that. Again, it all goes back to the other things that I said in an interview, where I said that I wanted this company to be bigger, and better than it has ever been. That I want action figures and toys and bigger venues, and all of those things.
But everyone's stuck to me saying I was the greatest commentator of all time, and that's fine, because I truly believe that. Nobody told me to say it, nobody told me not to say it. It's what I believe."
GFW now tapes months' worth of content before hand. While that saves thousands of dollars in production, rent and travel, what are your thoughts on the results being leaked - for example, the recent taping of Victory Road?
"Well, I mean, you take the good with the bad, right? I mean, people like to say what they say because we tape in bulk, but, it's like, I'm a fan of movies. And I'm not watching the new X-Men movie live while they're filming. I'm watching the finished product; I'm watching when it's done. I watch a lot of other shows on Netflix and things like that, where I can watch every episode.
"It's binge - watchable, and it's done. I'm not looking for spoilers, I'm not looking for people to tell me the end of a movie before I see it. It doesn't do any good for me, as a viewer. Wrestling fans seem to want to know or seek out spoilers or all that sort of stuff, I don't really get it.
"But, also, if I know that Eli Drake is going to win the Global Championship on Thursday, I may tune in because I want to see how he's going to win the Global Championship on Thursday."
Everyone recently has been talking about the Rosemary incident in AAA. I wanted to ask you this because Rosemary is a part of the GFW family. What do you think about the entire ordeal, and is it something that is still seen in the wrestling business?
"Oh, I think it's disgusting. I think what Sexy Star did was unprofessional, uncalled for and it's amazing to see the community all gathered together to sort of blacklist this woman - this character from ever competing. She may need to find a different vocation because she decided that it was a good idea to "shoot" on her opponent, and it's just not something that you do.
"Rosemary gave up her arm, Rosemary let her put her in an arm bar, and the girl decided to show her how tough she is, and attempted to break Rosemary's arm."