Global Force Wrestling AMPED
Friday, July 24 2015
Las Vegas, NV
Back in 2015 Jeff Jarrett was on a mission. He sought to combine wrestlers from a variety of rosters across the world through international partnerships to produce a single television product that showcased the best of everybody.
Partnering with esteemed companies like AAA, NJPW, RevPro, wXW, TNA and Riot City Wrestling – he cobbled together an extremely promising looking roster that reads like a 2017 super promotion. SANADA, KUSHIDA, Mickie James, Bobby Roode, Kongo Kong, The Bollywood Boyz, The Bullet Club, The Killer Elite Squad, PJ Black and many more are now all featured acts across the wrestling world.
It all sounded great in theory but it ran into one pretty substantial stumbling block – nobody wanted to air it. Jarrett pitched and pitched and pitched and yet nobody would bite. The three tapings worth of Global Force Wrestling looked to be lost to the ages.
The current GFW, the one that spawned from TNA rather than the original, has decided to use it to plug the gap of its previous One Night Only content as a cost effective method to fill PPV hours and so the now very wacky looking GFW tapings will finally see the light of day as four PPV chunks. And guess what? They’re pretty good!
Aside from some strange editing cuts and an occasional weird siren (as well as Chael Sonnen being terrible on commentary) the whole presentation looked slick and professional. Video packages were designed to flesh out the individual characters, graphics and on screen insets looked professional and the whole presentation looked major league.
NEX*GEN Tournament – First Round
PJ Black def. Seiya Sanada
SANADA is now a member of Los Ingobernables in NJPW while PJ Black competes in Lucha Underground. Sanada came out to the music that GFW currently uses for Naomichi Marufuji. Black’s Twitter handle wasn’t updated since this was originally produced and was incorrect as a result. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sanada going back to when he first showed up in TNA. His worked was always clean and exciting, he carried himself like a star and he seemed to have some presence. He’s only grown and grown as a performer. Black can be hot and cold but he was good here and these two delivered a really fun, briskly paced opener. The NEX*GEN division was clearly intended to be GFW’s X-Division and these two delivered that kind of match condensed perfectly for the TV format. Black picked up the win with a Springboard 450 Splash. ***1/4
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) August 15, 2017
Bobby Roode arrived in the Global Zone and was initially presented as an outside threat invading Global Force. In the context of 2015 he was meant to a TNA guy who had no business in GFW. Watched with 2017 eyes however it was presented as if NXT champion Bobby Roode was showing up on GFW PPV. That was pretty amusing. Roode and Nick Aldis (shedding the Magnus name for GFW) jibber jabbred for a while before Kongo Kong laid out Aldis. Kong vs. Aldis would be the main event of this overall PPV (and the fourth episode of TV). Roode was good here. Smug heel is his wheelhouse.
Misterioso Jr, Phoenix Star and Zokre def. Bestia 666, Blood Eagle and Steve Pain
Misterioso Jr, Phoenix Star and Zokre came out to what would become Alberto El Patron’s music in GFW. The first time I saw Los Luchas (Zokre and Phoenix Star) was a 2008 episode of Championship Wrestling From Hollywood where they wrestled The Young Bucks, who I was also seeing for the first time. Those Young Buck kids looked like they had something. On the surface this seemed a pretty peculiar match to main event your first TV show. None of these guys were featured acts in the company and only one of them would feature in the tag team tournament. But then they went out and delivered a killer main event with a load of cool exchanges and sequences, a bunch of dives and some really nifty fast paced action. Nobody in particular really stood out but this was just really, really fun. If GFW wanted to say “We take people from all over the world to deliver something different!” this match more than did that job. The worst part was Chael Sonnen pretending everybody looked the same under a mask. ***1/2
KUSHIDA def. Virgil Flynn
Despite being repeatedly called a newbie and being discussed as being more inexperienced than KUSHIDA, a graphic earlier in the show showed Flynn had 11 years experience to KUSHIDA’s 9. KUSHIDA was extremely generous here giving Flynn a tonne and making him look like a legitimate threat and giving Flynn a load of nearfalls before putting Flynn away with a Hoverboard Lock. This could have been a simple squash but the competitive nature made Flynn look good and made it seem like KUSHIDA actually overcame something. Flynn was clearly relatively raw but this was a strong showcase for him. Good stuff. Sonnen referred to KUSHIDA working over Flynn’s arm as “Japanese technique” (without ever tying things together to make it clear he was setting up his finish) and weirdly spent most of the show shouting about the pace of the referee counts. He was not very good. ***1/4
— Garrett Kidney (@garrettkidney) August 15, 2017
Bobby Roode def. Kevin Kross
They aired a character profile about Kross on both episode one and episode two and yet neither really gave the viewer a feel for who he was. He just seemed like bland babyface number 1143. He also came to the ring in an oversized leather jacket that seemed like he stole it from his dads closet. This was the worst match in GFW history to date – a pretty bland heavyweight match tied together by Roode working over Kross’ arm. Kross didn’t show much to warrant all the character work that was put into him prior to this match. Roode won with a crossface. *1/2
GFW Tag Team Tournament – First Round
The Bollywood Boyz def. The Akbars
The Bollywood Boyz can now be seen as the Singh Brothers as Jinder Mahal’s lackeys on Smackdown. The Bollywood Boyz also held the Ring Ka King tag team titles so they were clearly favourites here. The Akbars were doing a stereotypical vaguely Arab terrorist gimmick including utterly tasteless shots of airplanes in their video feature on episode 2. So yeah… The match was okay. The Bollywood Boyz were fun and exciting, the Akbars were bland and generic. **
Baffling babyface Karen Jarrett came to the ring to insist that she will ensure that the women of GFW get the spotlight they deserve. She needs that spotlight of course. Lei’d Tapa interrupted to the best theme song in GFW history. It’s was mostly just somebody saying the words “Lei’d Tapa” over and over again. Karen emasculated Tapa’s long unnamed husband (Royal Red) before leaving.
GFW Womens Championship Tournament – Semi Final
Christina Von Eerie def. Mickie James and Lei’d Tapa
Mickie James didn’t come out to Hardcore Country which was frankly very upsetting. Mickie James can be currently found on Raw, Christian Von Eerie recently appeared on Impact to drop the GFW Womens title (SPOILERS!) and Lei’d Tapa recently lost to Ember Moon on NXT. This was perfectly solid but ultimately pretty forgettable. Mickie was predictably the star of the match but Von Eerie picked up the win with a backbreaker out of the corner for the win. She will face the winner of another wonderful looking three way – Amber Gallows vs. Laura James vs. Katarina Leigh/Winter. **1/4
NEX*GEN Tournament – First Round
Jigsaw def. Sonjay Dutt
Sonjay is current X-Division champion. You know, of all the people on this show who aren’t doing anything two years later – it’s pretty sad that that’s Jigsaw. More people should be booking Jigsaw in 2017. This was a rematch of an excellent 2012 TNA match that somehow didn’t instantly result in Jigsaw being offered a contract. Predictably this was an excellent match, two guys who simply very rarely miss delivering a super fun, competitive match. The AMPED Army (GFW’s name for their fans) seemed tired in the earlier match but this one sparked things back to life. The NEX*GEN title tournament is two for two in delivering very enjoyable matches. Jigsaw advanced with a Jig ‘n’ Tonic. More people book Jigsaw! Jigsaw delivered a comically bad Kalisto level promo backstage post-match. ***1/2
GFW Heavyweight Championship – First Round
Nick Aldis def. Kongo Kong
It’s funny, Kong laid out Aldis on the first episode and this would’ve headlined the fourth episode so they would’ve done a three week build to this main event. This was a Magnus match. Perfectly enjoyable, occasionally actively good but as usual it felt like it was missing something. The crowd were super into it though so that helped a great deal. Kong did look better here than he’s ever had a chance to on Impact so far – breaking out some of him more impressive power and agility stuff including a missed moonsault. Aldis eventually picked up the win with the Spineshanker after Kong kicked out of a diving elbow that looked suspiciously like a three count. Sonnen took shots at Kong’s weight at one stage because he’s terrible. Aldis is mechanically fine and can deliver good stuff with the right opponent but his matches always seem to lack a real emotional spark. Kong outshined him here. This was considerably better than the Roode/Kross match though. ***
Because nobody wrestled more than once these four episodes smooshed together worked surprisingly well as a package. Everything flowed pretty smoothly, each episode consisting of two matches and some video packages or a promo made things breeze on by even if episode 3 dragged a little, there were a bunch of really good matches and they at least tried to establish characters.
Would this have succeeded as a stand alone TV show? It’s tough to say. They had a tremendously interesting roster – mostly giving them the chance they needed to shine – but ultimately most of the characters fell flat and most of the shows, currently built around the early stages of multiple tournaments, seemed to lack story hooks to keep people coming back. Each episode would’ve been an easy enjoyable watch but likely little more than that.
As a standalone package two years later though, this is honestly more than worth your time. The various matches feel unique, most of the wrestling was really fun and the sheer novelty of it all considering where all the people featured on this show are two years later it’s just a flat out fun watch. It was certainly miles better than the usual One Night Only muck.