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Heel Turns: Tough times for GFW

Posted by Achilles Heel On September 10

Achilles HeelThese are tough times for Global Force Wrestling. The company stripped champion Alberto El Patron of his title due to his behavior during a domestic violence incident involving his fiancé, Paige, at an Orlando airport.

This past week it was revealed that Jeff Jarrett, the creative force behind GFW, is no longer in that position because he needed to focus on personal issues. It’s not entirely clear whether Jarrett is taking a leave of absence or if his absence is permanent, but, reading between the lines, it does not appear that the choice was made by Jarrett.

Coinciding with the Jarrett news, Sports Illustrated’s “Extra Mustard” reports that Anthem Sports and Entertainment, the power behind GFW and, before the merger, Impact Wrestling, is prepared to sell GFW and cut its ties to professional wrestling.

Doing some damage control, Ed Nordholm, the executive vice president of Anthem Sports and Entertainment, appeared on Wrestling Observer Radio on Friday. He said that the goal is to make money, but the company knew that wasn’t going to happen overnight.

“We invested in this company,” Nordholm said. “We’re growing it. We know it’s not going to turn around tomorrow.”

Nordholm announced the creating of a streaming service, which is similar to the WWE Network. Nordholm said that the hope is that other wrestling companies will also make their product available on the streaming service, so it will not be exclusively GFW matches.

What Nordholm didn’t say was that Anthem has no plans to sell GFW. Even if he did say it, not many would believe it.

The streaming service is one of the few untapped revenue sources for GFW. Attendance for its few house shows this summer was not good (one was canceled), and there aren’t any future house shows scheduled. The company can’t be making much money from the broadcast of its weekly Impact Wrestling on POP TV, at least not compared to what it was making on Spike, so there is a desperate need for more revenue.

One positive since the change in ownership has been Jarrett’s connections with other promotions. The attempt to create a global atmosphere by making partnerships with wrestling organizations in other countries seemed to be an innovative way to differentiate the product from WWE and generate new fans. Without Jarrett’s presence, the future of those plans should also be in doubt.


FOREVER YOUNG: The final of the Mae Young Classic, to be broadcast live Tuesday on WWE Network following the conclusion of Smackdown, will feature Shayna Bazzler against Kairi Sane in a David vs. Goliath-style match. Bazzler, who has an MMA background, defeated Mercedes Martinez in the semifinals. Sane beat Toni Storm in the other semifinal.

Although the matches have been shorter than in the Cruiserweight Classic, the Mae Young Classic has been a creative success, giving women wrestlers an excellent platform on which to demonstrated their talent. Expect some of these women to be involved in the storyline to crown a new NXT champion after Asuka’s departure.


FOUR HORSEWOMEN: The biggest news out of the Mae Young Classic might be the developing storyline between MMA’s “Four Horsewomen” and the former NXT “Four Horsewomen” group. The two stables, if you’ll pardon the expression, have had verbal confrontations at ringside and outside the arena during the Mae Young Classic.

WWE’s Horsewomen group consists of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley and Sasha Banks, with Banks being absent at the Mae Young Classic confrontations. The MMA Horsewomen group consists of Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke and Classic finalist Shayna Bazzler. Rousey, of course, is a huge attraction. She appeared in a segment with The Rock at WrestleMania 31, hiptossing Triple H and putting Stephanie McMahon in an armbar.

The Greek God of Wrestling could see this rivalry building to a Survivor Series match that would generate mainstream publicity.


WOMEN ON RISE: The previous two items indicate how far women’s wrestling has come during the past decade. The possibility that a women’s match could be one of the featured matches at Survivor Series would have seemed unthinkable even two or three years ago.

By contrast, some of the “knockouts” on Impact Wrestling have matches that, while they would have been fine a few years ago, now, by comparison to what we’re seeing in WWE and on the Mae Young Classic, look like they are contested by women barely out of wrestling school.


RISING FROM THE GRAVES: As has been evident by two recent editions of Heel Turns, Achilles Heel has become a big fan of broadcaster Corey Graves. Apparently, he’s not the only one. WWE has filled the void by JBL’s departure from Smackdown by tapping Graves to fill the vacancy. Graves, the brightest light among WWE’s color commentators, will broadcast both RAW and Smackdown.


MAIN EVENTS DELIVER: Raw and Smackdown delivered a pair of excellent main events last week. Raw closed with an outstanding steel cage match between Braun Strowman and Big Show. Yes, you read that right. The match was outstanding. Strowman earned the hard-fought victory, which included a Strowman superplex off the turnbuckles – the “specially reinforced” ring did not collapse, as it did earlier this year – and a Big Show elbow off the second turnbuckle. After the match, Strowman powerslammed Big Show into the steel cage, causing one of the panels to fall.

Smackdown followed that up the next night with an entertaining main event between Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton. Nakamura won the match to earn another title shot at WWE champion Jinder Mahal.


SHARPE CRITICISM: Nick Foles’ lingering elbow soreness is starting to remind the Greek God of Wrestling of Iron Mike Sharpe’s injured forearm. For those too young to get the reference, the eccentric Sharpe wore a forearm support for nearly a decade, if not longer. Eagles fans had better hope that Foles’ elbow heals quicker than Sharpe’s forearm.


MORE DISHONOR: More matches have been added to Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XV” pay-per-view from Las Vegas on Sept. 22. New matches include Marty Scurll vs. Chuck Taylor, a last man standing match between Silas Young and Jay Lethal, a Las Vegas street fight between Jay White and Punishment Martinez, and a six-man tag team match between The Kingdom (Matt Taven, T.K. O’Ryan and Vinny Marsegia) and Bully Ray and Mark and Jay Briscoe, with the winner to face Adam Page and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) for the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championship later that night.

Death before Dishonor is headlined by Cody Rhodes defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against Minoru Suzuki. Kushida defends the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Kenny King.


KINGS OF ENGLAND: Congratulations to Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for winning CHIKAR’s King of Trios in England. That trio, known collectively as House Strong Style, defeated the defending champion House Sendai Girls (Maiko Satomura, Dash Chisako and Cassandra Miagi) in the final of the three-night tournament. Dunne is the WWE United Kingdom champion, a title he won from Bate. Seven and Bate used to be tag team champions in CHIKARA.


CZW ON THE MOVE: Saturday night’s “Down with the Sickness” was Combat Zone Wrestling’s final card at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. Citing changes in the venue, CZW will be moving its home base to the Rastelli Complex at 1855 Hurffville Rd. in Sewell, N.J. The first CZW event in its new home will be The Wolf of Wrestling on Oct. 14.


MORE MERCY MATCHES: The card for WWE’s “No Mercy” is filling out. The main event features Brock Lesnar defending the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman. The buildup for John Cena vs. Roman Reigns has certainly been heated.

The Raw Women’s Championship match, originally scheduled to be Alexis Bliss defending the title against Sasha Banks, will now include Nia Jax and Emma in fatal four-way match. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against former champions Sheamus and Cesaro. Finn Balor will face Bray Wyatt, and Neville will defend the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Enzo Amore, who has been using heel tactics to win since joining the cruiserweights.


HURRICANE IMPACT: With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, where NXT is based and WWE’s training facility is located, WWE postponed several NXT events, which allowed its many Florida-based wrestlers to get out of the hurricane’s path.

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