This past Wednesday, Global Force Wrestling hosted a teleconference with two men who combined have over 75 years in the wrestling business, Bruce Prichard and Dutch Mantel. Before the Q&A got fully underway, GFW’s head of media relations, Ross Foreman broke the news that Bobby Lashley would be wrestling at AAA’s TripleMania event in August.
Looking forward in GFW
There was a segment recently where Konnan was seen to threaten a man with a pair of wire cutters, which was entertaining for viewers aged 35-45. Are we going to be seeing more PG friendly programming or is this more edgy format going to be a constant with going forward?
Dutch Mantell: Well, I think we are going to go with programming that suits the viewership. As far as more edgier that is a possibility, but not necessarily the way we are going to go. Konnan with the wire cutters, that's Konnan. That's his personality coming through and I think he's adding a touch of realism to it and I think that's what some folks are missing. You talk to Konnan for five minutes and you're going to get what Konnan is really like. Sometimes people play a character and sometimes people are the character. Konnan is really like that.
In 2017 you can watch wrestling on many platforms. What are your plans to engage lapsed Impact fans and other wrestling fans who do not currently want to spend their time or money on the current product?
Bruce Pritchard: I personally think that with the number of opportunities for people to view wrestling on so many different forms, you cannot compare the number of eyeballs and number of people watching wrestling today to the way you did even 10 years ago. It's a completely different world. Whether it is via television, or the internet, there's a million different avenues. The YouTube channel for GFW product is doing huge numbers. If you add that to the television, it's not on the greatest network in POP, but at the same time compared to everything else on there, it's doing alright. There are so many hours of wrestling available. The days of television ratings being the only way of measuring success, those days are long gone.
Any update on Rey Mysterio coming to GFW?
BP: The latest I heard was that negotiations were not officially underway but unofficially we were talking to him and he would be a great addition. I can't add anything more to that.
Dutch, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I really enjoyed the work you did with Jack Swagger in WWE. Do you have any plans to bring him into GFW and rekindle that partnership?
DM: Well I have talked to Jack and since he has left WWE he has expressed an interest, I have expressed an interest in him, but he was on the road for 10 years with WWE and I think right now he is enjoying his time off. But as to the question, I am interested; I think he is a great talent and a great performer. Even better than that, Jack is a great guy to be around. Great athlete, great brand and I think we could possibly see him in GFW in the future.
Does GFW have any plans to broadcast a live event from the UK?
BP: I was recently in the UK and it was great. I found the fans to be absolutely amazing; it was a great time and a great week. I got to asked this question every single night: at some point would a major company produce a PPV live from the UK? My answer is yes, I think that there’s the opportunity to do that. Again it’s about the way that people view television, and view the product now. Being able to distribute it through the internet, live, makes it an event. I don't think people say ‘I only want my wrestling on Sunday at 6 o'clock.’ I think that if you were to deliver something to them that was unique and that they are interested in, they'll tune in at 12 in the afternoon; they'll buy it and maybe watch it a little later. I don't watch live TV anymore, I DVR everything. I go back and watch it at my leisure. I think if you were to ask most of my friends and most of the people I know, that's how people watch TV now. I do believe that there are opportunities to present a huge event, a special event, be it PPV or what have you in the UK at some point, and probably closer in your future than you think.
With GFW going back on the road is it time to bring back Gut Check?
BP: I think that the Gut Check is something that the business needs and what I mean by that is there is free talent out there everywhere, no matter where you look, and if the company is out on the road, that's where we find talent. We find talent in some of the most obscure places you would ever believe. There is always going to be some diamond in the rough somewhere. So I don't think it hurts, I think it is a good thing for the business, being able to provide an avenue for up and coming talent to show their wares and then can get recognised. I think it's a great thing.
Are there any new talents that you are going to be focusing on pushing to become the new face of GFW?
BP: I think we have the talent but it is up to us to mold the talent into what we want them to be, to get them ready to perform at a high position at the top.
DM: I'm going to contradict that a little bit because I think it's up to the talent. I think it's up to the talent to go out [and get] every single opportunity that they have to get out in front of people and make a splash and a name for themselves. They need to go out and make it their job. They need to go out there and make it so they cannot be denied; steal the show in every single situation you are given. You can give anyone the greatest idea and the push that you guys like to talk about, but if the talent can't go out there and deliver it, it doesn't matter. So it's up to the talent to go out and make the very most of whatever opportunity they are given at any given time.
What are your thoughts on the departure of Davey Richards?
BP: I didn't even know he was studying to be a doctor. I knew he was diabetic, I knew that, but him being a doctor, I wish him all the success in the world. That's great, to be able to help people. I know he had tremendous passion for professional wrestling and my dealings with him were very professional. What always stuck out to me about him was his passion, he really had a passion for this business. I hate to see him go and the door is always open for his return.
DM: Same here. It's always a shame to lose talent but I know he also has a passion elsewhere that he wants to pursue and to not pursue that passion, shame on him if he doesn't. I wish him the best of luck.
Pearls of wisdom
What advice would you have for someone wanting to advance their career in play by play commentary in the world of professional wrestling?
BP: Learn how to tell stories. Learn how to tell stories concisely and be able to allow yourself to give the talent time to shine rather than getting yourself over. Stay away from radio for television.
DM: Basically, the more you do it the better you get. Don't rush it. Many people jump up to bigger franchises when they are not ready. Learn to get the talent over rather than yourself.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of taping shows compared to live shows?
BP: The advantage is definitely cost. You can spread that out and you're not having the addition of traveling back and forth every single week on a weekly basis to do live television. On top of that, you also have your television production costs. Those are just simple economics of production. Sometimes the advantages of that part outweigh the advantages of being able to go live with the surprise element of live shows. I'm a live TV guy, I love live television, however sometimes you just have to look at the basic economics of whether or not it is feasible to do that. If it is feasible then sure we are going to do it, but also having all of the TV footage done and being able to take the time to do everything you need in post production, to make the product the very best you can. When you're live man, you get one shot at it and that’s it.
DM: I'm much in agreement with Bruce. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Anything can happen on live TV. You've got to be ready to step it up and make decisions on the spot.
Bruce, was there anything that you have ever written that was rejected by Vince McMahon?
BP: Haha, tons of things! That happens on a daily basis. That's called the creative process. You are constantly pitching and constantly discussing different ways to do things. You may have an idea in your head and a way you would like to do something and pitch it and everyone love it, then three days later that one idea may have completely evolved into something else. But a million of them - for everyone that makes it to air you got a hundred that don't.
How does the management now compare to the previous in TNA?
BP: For me from a talent standpoint, it's working with Jeff (Jarrett) and that's just a completely different environment from what it was before. I sit there and I talk to him about the business and we talk about the future, and I believe there is actually an understanding. I do believe the folks at Anthem have placed their confidence in him and the folks like Dutch and Jeremy that are involved now, Anthem trust they know what the hell they are doing. They allow them to do it and not come in and say no, you know what, we do it this way up here in Canada so I want you to do it this way. They’re actually allowing the business to be run and are listening to folks who have actually done it before. So the environment is night and day, and frankly that was one of the selling points for me coming back into the fold. It's a completely different company is the short answer compared to what it was when I left.
DM: I have to agree with what Bruce said. We talked about models and we talked about this and that but really ownership sets the tone. The tone before I always felt was a bit off. I didn't really know who was in charge. In WWE there is one guy in charge and you know that’s Vince McMahon. The previous management was a bit like a rudderless ship; you didn’t know who was running things but that’s totally different now.
What from the old school of pro wrestling could be brought into new GFW and still work?
BP: Keep it simple. The simpler the better.
DM: All other shows allow WWE to set the standard. Many shows have long talky segments and that loses the audience. Keep it simple. Always make it so a 10-year-old could understand it. Listen to your fans. Shows are way too long; anything other 2 hours is too long... 3 hours is more like a commitment.
As the teleconference drew to a close, Ross Foreman teased next week’s guests, stating it would be GFW’s “prettiest” teleconference to date. RealSport will be here to bring you all the up-to-date news and trending topics from GFW’s weekly teleconference.