Jeff Jarrett On Why Impact And GFW Merged, When Impact Will Run Live Events Again, India Return


Impact Wrestling Executive Producer Jeff Jarrett before day two of the Impact Wrestling tapings in Mumbai, India last week. Below is the full interview:

His time in India:

“Obviously the traffic and the driving is a little bit unique, but it’s all good. I’m used to it. But it’s Film City, and Bollywood – it’s a fantastic place, and we’ve partnered with great entertainment folks. Our partners, obviously, Sony SIX – they’ve been absolutely fantastic to work with. So far it has been a very, very successful tour.”

Can you tell us what it means to you to return to Impact Wrestling, and putting your vision in place?

“I’m very thankful. I’m very, very blessed. You know, I’ve done quite a bit of media since I’ve been here, and as Impact, we’ve reached our 15th anniversary – at Slammiversary, 15 years live at Orlando. It’s been surreal; who would’ve thought that back on June 19th 2002, when we had our very first show, and the ride we’ve been on as an organisation, and I left back in December 2013, and here we are in 2017 and I’m back, and the team is coming back together. It was the last piece of the puzzle, and it’s just very, very exciting.

“Our digital growth over the last 100 – 120 days has exploded, we’re obviously in India to produce an Impact show, which is a first. Back in 2013, when I was still with the organisation negotiating a contract, and who would’ve thought, after all those years, I’m back here, and Anthem – they’re great partners to work with. So here we are, producing Impact in Mumbai in Film City – it’s history being written.”

About the growth of Impact Wrestling in the past 15 years:

“It’s something I’m super excited about. It’s no secret that we’ve had our ups and downs. But since I’ve come back on board and Anthem’s come on board since January 1st this year, we have our Spike TV deal in the United Kingdom, obviously the Sony SIX situation here, where we’re producing Impact, we’re about to kick off our live events – restart that program back in the States in the late summer, and our licensing program and merchandise – the growth is very enjoyable.

“Just to think about all the situations that are going on – like in Africa, in South Africa, Super Sport is our partner there. And the growth there in digital perspective is enormous. We’re just excited on all fronts.”

You’ve merged Global Force Wrestling with Impact Wrestling. Can you give us your thoughts behind the idea, and also regarding the GFW title being added to the list of championships in the promotion?

“Yes, it’s a part of the merger. As things come together, and the fans will see on television – like you just said, I launched Global Force Wrestling (GFW) in April 2014. The days, and months, and now the years, as they roll by, and as they become one (Impact Wrestling and GFW), I think it’s going to be an interesting situation for the fans, and something we’re all excited about. Which is a part of the rebranding.”

You’ve obviously spearheaded deals in the past with promotions in Mexico and Japan, among other countries. Where does India rank for you as a market?

“Oh, I’ve been asked that question a lot, obviously. It’s right there at the top, outside the United States. I would say United Kingdom and India are tied for number one. I think India is a very, very important market for us, and something we’re very excited about. The CEO of Sony Pictures was present during the taping, and he came in the ring and presented Mahabali Shera with a trophy.”

“So the Sony relationship, the Indian relationship is a priority for us.”

Impact Wrestling has already taped an episode [the day before the interview]. Can you give us your thoughts on the fanbase, and what you thought about them yesterday?

“They were electric. They truly made the show. They were off the charts with their energy, and they reacted to everything that we did, and as you know, if you’re a wrestling fan, it is the fans that make the show go, and they made the show go to a whole different level.”

You laid the foundation for the promotion, and were the proverbial King of the Mountain in the company. With the influx of new talent, can you lay out your vision for the future?

“It’s something that we, as a team, collectively – from the talent relations to the match making to the production, that we all jointly want to put out the very best of professional wrestling. And we’ve laid the foundations and partnerships with Pro Wrestling NOAH – the number two organisation in Japan and AAA – the number one organisation in Mexico.

“And our partnerships around the world; we want to continue to grow the brand, and our partnerships is something that – our philosophy is to work with other promotions, and that’s what the fans want. Because they want dream match ups. So you’re going to start to see that. You’ve already seen some of that with Impact for Slammiversary and beyond. You’re going to see the partnerships developing even more.”

I talked to the talent couple of days ago, and one thing that everyone emphasized was the familiarity aspect regarding working with you. How easy has the transition been for you in the past couple of months, since you’ve already been there and worked with most of the talent on the roster before?

“Well, that’s something that I’m very excited for. I’ve been around the game for a long time and I enjoyed it. And I like to motivate people to go out there and take it up a notch, and grab the ball and run with it. You got to be as aggressive and as competitive as possible. It’s something that I enjoy, and I’m a big believer in attitude and enthusiasm. So that’s something I drive to do with people I work with day in and day out.”

Working with the likes of Dutch Mantell and Scott Steiner, and with people he’s familiar with:

“I’m a big believer in vision. As a promotion, you got to believe in vision and know where you’re going. And so to speak, everyone has to roll in the same direction, and that’s something we’re striving to do daily. It doesn’t happen overnight. Impact had some unfortunate times over the last 24 months – 36 months, and that’s something that we all as a team are looking to – to roll in the same direction, and just looking to grow this brand.

“As I said earlier, we’re going to start the live events, and re-energize the merchandise, our licensing programming. Our digital assets have exploded over the last 100 days. We just want to continue to grow in all facets of the business.”

“We’re looking at starting our live events in August.”

Finally, how often do you see Impact Wrestling coming back down to the country?

“We’re going to re-evaluate that after this trip is over, but I certainly would love to come back sooner rather than later. This certainly won’t be our last trip. But we’ll re-evaluate all things after the trip.”

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