Former TNA Impact Wrestling personality and current backstage official for Global Force Wrestling Scott D'Amore recently spoke to VOC Wrestling Nation about GFW and the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom show in January.
On Wrestle Kingdom 9 at the Tokyo Dome: “It was a career goal to be involved in an event at the Tokyo Dome. They’ve been doing it for 23 years now & there have been so many amazing moments that have happened in Tokyo Dome. Over here, WWE has always had Wrestlemania & it’s bounced all over the United States & even in Canada, but when it comes to NJPW wrestling & Japanese wrestling, the biggest events always happen at the Tokyo Dome & they always happen January 4. It’s going to be great to be a part of that. Last year, I went over & I was there doing some R&R & I wanted to see some of my students, Alex Shelley & the Timesplitters so I was able to sit there in the crowd & spend time with friends. Sitting there & watching the event, I looked at it & I was like, ‘This has to has to has to… somehow we have to get this to a North American audience.'”
On what Global Force Wrestling intends to provide that “sports entertainment” is lacking: “There is so much good talent around the world that isn’t getting an opportunity to be seen & GFW is going to go out there That’s why its formed all these partnerships around the world. We’re going to know when people are making waves & when exciting things are happening & we’re going to help bring that to the wrestling audience. I think that the biggest difference is going to happen with GFW is that, for so long in wrestling, if you did something somewhere else, it didn’t exist. If you came to another promotion, it seemed that everything in the past was just swept under the rug. We’re not only going to acknowledge people’s history which is what helps get them where they are but we’re going to acknowledge things throughout wrestling. Just because something is happening in a different place doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It’s time to treat wrestling with a little more respect & wrestling fans with a little more respect. We’re living in a digital age. Everything is available at their fingertips. We’re going to stop trying to treat people as if they don’t know what’s going on out there in a broader sense. We’re going to be very interactive & very fan-friendly & look to deliver great wrestling action to fans through multiple platforms. There is so much good talent out there in independent wrestling around the world & it’s time to start giving a place where those people can get an opportunity to shine.
I think it’s just a matter of really being more open & honest with the fans that helps build part of the realism of the product. If Sydney Crosby goes & scores the gold medal winning goal for the Olympics, that’s going to be acknowledged on an NHL broadcast. To me, it makes great common sense but sometimes in business, we get away from things that may be what we should be doing. When you get too close to something, sometimes, you just start doing things a certain way & it just stays that way. I think this is going to be a better opportunity to be open with the fans. They’re going to be interactive & feel that they’re a big part of the GFW product. ”
Part of it is, without having a domestic weekly television in place yet, it’s getting it out there & getting people to understand this product. Getting them to know what’s going on, getting them to know the characters. This has been a monumental task of going in & promoting Wrestle Kingdom 9 without having a weekly television platform to do it off of. I think it’s the power of social media, right. No longer are you completely at the mercy of a handful of television executives on what people get to see. People can view & share & retweet the videos & the articles & the traction that we’ve been able to get is amazing. It shows what’s possible in this digital world we now live in. I think GFW is doing a great job of getting content out there. If there’s one thing that can be said, no one can say, ‘Well, man, I haven’t seen anything about this’ or ‘Man, I wish they would put out more information.’ We put out very detailed articles by very good writers, explaining the different factions & characters & some of the history. The video crew has been going around the clock putting out these videos.”
On wrestlers who aren’t involved speaking about Wrestle Kingdom 9: “The people in the industry… Scott Steiner & you mentioned Kevin Nash… these guys aren’t attached to Wrestle Kingdom. These guys aren’t going to be on Wrestle Kingdom but they were still willing to sit down & answer questions, do interviews, & talk about their experiences having been involved. That’s one of the signs that I take that it’s like, ‘Something is going on on the right path’, when people who aren’t making a dime from this deal in the wrestling business. Your & my friend, Scott Hall, likes to say, ‘This is show business, not show friends.’ Despite the fact that Kevin Nash & Scott Steiner & all of these people aren’t part of this event right now & aren’t making any money, they’re still willing to sit down & take the time to record these videos & do these interviews & help get the word out so that fans understand… the fans that haven’t had a chance to experience the New Japan product know what they’re missing & what they could expect if they tune in on January 4.”
On Jeff Jarrett: “That’s a testament to the quality of New Japan & the amount of the stars there that have had positive experiences. It can also be attributed to the respect & good will that Jeff Jarrett has built up in the wrestling industry over his career. He walked away from a company that he had built. It was his baby &, for his reasons, I know you’re going to be chatting with him, I’ll let him explain, that’s a pretty huge decision to make. He walked away from a company he formed & built from day 1 & took from the tiniest little company into a company that was on national TV on 50-something companies around the world & he chose to leave that to focus on forming GFW & forming this new company because he really seems to understand that there is an audience out there that’s not getting a product that what’s what they want & not engaging them & exciting them & he’s looking to put that together. I don’t know if people understand how much it turns over your life to walk away from something you started from scratch. Start with quitting your job & not having a check every week. That’s a pretty big life changer for a guy who has a wife & five kids. The fact is, to start it from scratch all over again… it’s amazing what he’s done. I’ve been out of the wrestling business for years with the exception of a Border City Wrestling show here or there, dipped my toe in the water. It hasn’t been a big part of my life as far as my business life. I’m a wrestling fan. Jim Ross put it best when I first started talking to him about this event, he said, ‘Scott, I’m a wrestling fan. I grew up a wrestling fan. I was lucky to make my living & be successful for many years in the wrestling business. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m a wrestling fan & I’ll die a wrestling fan.’ That’s how I feel. I didn’t see myself getting back into the wrestling industry on a major level but, when this stuff started coming together & when Jeff Jarrett was forming GFW, it was almost perfect timing. He left in late December of 2013 & I was in Tokyo in January of 2014. Being there at Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 8 put the fire back in my belly. As Jeff started getting things rolling, we chatted a little bit here & there & Jeff is someone I have a lot of respect for & a lot of good feelings for & I have a lot of faith in, which I think may be the best way to sum it up. Me & Jeff have had a good relationship over many years. Like any relationship, it has its up & downs, but there has never been a time where I didn’t have respect for him & what he does. I didn’t not have faith that he was nose to the grindstone, plugging ahead, trying to make wrestling better. Wrestling has been his whole life, professionally, from the time he was a boy up until now. I just think that he’s got a passion & it’s really honestly the excitement of seeing what he was doing & the message he was sending, & the fact that it’s him, quite honestly, because he’s one of the people that I would run through a brick wall to help him out because he’s always been someone who’s supportive of me & supportive of the wrestling business & try to better it. If that’s going to happen, if there’s a way that I could help then, you know, hey, count me in”
On cross-overs & cross-promotions with other wrestling companies: “I don’t understand why everything has to be adversarial. In some levels, as business grows, there may be a day where Pro Wrestling Syndicate & House of Hardcore & GFW are on the same level competing for wrestling fans & that’s healthy. But I don’t understand or have ever really understood why that has to be, say, adversarial. I grew up in the construction industry &, every time a job comes out, there could be an upwards of 12 or 15 of us bidding on the same job to get the same work so we were definitely in direct competition but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t have respect or decent relationships with other companies that were in competition with us. To me, if you get people who are focused on getting their own business better & focused on delivering the wrestling fans a quality product that they want to see, well, then there’s not reason why House of Hardcore, Pro Wrestling Syndicate, & GFW can’t be on good terms. There isn’t a reason why there can’t be a day where GFW can help out House of Hardcore & Pro Wrestling Syndicate can help out GFW & House of Hardcore can swoop in & save the day. Say something is going on in GFW & Tommy Dreamer does something or uses one of his many connections or anything to help each other out, & I think that’s one of the things that we’re going to try to do with GFW. In wrestling, we’ve always been very exclusive in the sense like, ‘this is our company… we’re going to do our own thing & that’s how it’s going to be. We don’t work with other people’. I think one of the biggest things about GFW is, it’s not going to be exclusion, it’s going to be inclusion. Why can’t we have a good relation with House of Hardcore? Why can’t there be ways that we can work together. I’m not talking in a sense of having Tommy Dreamer leading an invasion of Hardcore talent on a GFW TV show or vice versa… Jeff Jarrett leading a GFW invasion on House of Hardcore. In order to be able to productively work together, maybe House of Hardcore has a business connection that might be beneficial to GFW &, if it doesn’t harm HOH in order to share that business content, then great.’ Or if we’re in an area, running an event in a venue that HOH has dealt with or had a relationship with, they might be able to assist. Maybe they’ve been somewhere that we’re looking to go & they can say, ‘this is the good & this is the bad.’ That has to be reciprocal, right? HOH coming down to Nashville & Jeff was all like, ‘Here’s my friends. They do the top-rated morning show here on the morning drive. Here’s a TV contact that will do something…’ & that’s part of it. Part of it is talent & exchanging information. The biggest way we can help each other is exchanging information & part of that can be in relation to talent. If HOH has a junior heavyweight event going on & I can pick up the phone, ‘Hey Tommy.” Tommy pretty much knows everything in the wrestling business. He eats, sleeps, & breathes this business. Outside of his family, I don’t think there’s anything that Tommy loves more than this business. If GFW saw this unbelievable cruiser-weight in South Africa & Tommy hasn’t seen or heard of him, we can say, ‘Hey Tommy, you’re running this world junior heavyweight tournament… you have to see this guy.’ Open communication between different groups & promoters to me has to be a positive. It has to be a positive for business & there’s no way it’s not a positive thing as far as delivering a better product to wrestling fans all over the place.”
In his opinion, what will be the “match of the night” for Wrestle Kingdom 9: “There’s going to be so much stuff. You’ve got Suzuki going out there in MMA rules with Sakuraba, which is going to be awesome. You’ve got Okada & Tanahashi in the main event for the championship, which is the biggest prize in New Japan Wrestling & possibly the world right now. They’ve main event-ed shows & the Tokyo Dome & put on unbelievable performances & they have to step it up another level & I’m confident they’re going to do that. Going with the idea that the main event can’t steal the show, which it’s theirs to have, I’ll give 2. I’ll say that… because I have to cheat my way out of this. There’s the IWGP Junior Tag Championship, which has The Timesplitters who obviously, I’m biased for because they both spent considerable time training at the wrestling school here. They’re amazing. Versus the Young Bucks, representing the Bullet Club. If the Young Bucks weren’t already awesome in the last year, plus, they’ve just gone to a whole new level. The stuff that they do is amazing. They’re charismatic & entertaining as Hell. They’ve been there with the champions, The Red Dragons, who are fantastic. Fish & O’Reilly are a fantastic tag team. Then you throw in the Forever Hooligans with Romero & Koslov. Their swagger & their change of pace… I know that that match is going to put on an unbelievable display . I think it’s going to be awesome. The second match I’ll say that, this event is the first major, major, mega event since signing with NJPW for Kenny Omega, another Bullet Club member. Kenny Omega, if you haven’t seen him, this guy does things that the human body just wasn’t meant to do. You’d never imagine that a human body could do it, especially considering, & to say this respectfully & not diss anybody else, because there’s guys that do super athletic & high-flying things. They’re much smaller guys. Kenny is at the very top end of the Junior Heavyweight weight class. He’s a thick muscled, powerful individual &, the things that he can do with his body are amazing. Some of the stuff that he’s going to pull off at the Tokyo Dome in front of 50,000 people is going to be a huge rush. I just think that he’s going to use that grand stage to show why he was one of the best kept secrets in wrestling for so long now.”
On whether we will see him near the ring at Wrestle Kingdom 9: “The major events, I’ve made my way down to ringside. It’s part of the solidarity thing… showing of support with Bullet Club. As Karl Anderson was there the second that it was born, he likes to joke that me & Jeff Jarrett are the Bullet Club Office. Everybody in the Bullet Club has a lot of swagger & unique style. Me & Jeff are a little older. We still have a little business savvy to us. We have a tendency to show up for major events wearing suits. Machine Gun always says we’re the Bullet Club Office. They take care of things in the trenches & we take care of stuff in the Board Room. I like that analogy because a lot of what Jeff & I have done is behind-the-scenes stuff & organizing relationships & dealing with the business end of things. That doesn’t mean we don’t like to roll up our sleeves & get our hands dirty. That’s part of it. From a straight non-storyline sense, it’s a chance for me to walk out there in the Tokyo Dome & be part of an event that I’ve really, really legitimately dreamed about being part of so, going ringside, not going to leave Double J out there by himself, how about that? I’ll be out there, as always, me. I never get involved. I never interfere. I just sit there quietly & support our talent. I’ll just be there acting like a little angel, I’m sure.”
On Bullet Club: “In Bullet Club, there’s just such a cool factor. That’s why you’re seeing the Bullet Club transcend in NJPW. That’s why you see there shirts in crowds at Ring of Honor, TNA, WWE, independent shows, even though it’s got no domestic TV here in the US. I saw sullet Club shirtx walking through a mall in Windsor, Ontario, at Detroit Tiger games, & a Cottonmouth Kings concert. You’re starting to see Bullet Club become so popular. The thing is, ten years ago, it might not have been like this but with the explosion of social media, stuff gets out there & shared & retweeted. It’s almost like this underground swell of support for Bullet Club. It started out very simply… just a few guys who had started together in New Japan dojo, the non-Japanese guy who formed this group & it just kind of grew & took on a life of its own. It’s a huge part of the reason why New Japan’s product continues to soar.It’s got that NWO cool feel. The great thing is you got guys who aren’t trying to recreate the NWO. They’re doing their own thing. I think it’s hilarious with the fingers in the air. Too Sweets & that was done from Day 1 with the Bullet Club, as a way to pay homage to Scott & Kevin & the NWO. They grew up watching them. I saw an exchange on Twitter where somebody said something to Scott, ‘How do you feel about the Bullet Club stealing your sign’ & Scott is real cool & says, ‘I don’t look at it that way. I’m just honored that someone still remembers something we did.’ After that, I see Karl Anderson pop in & say, ‘Hey Scott, no disrespect. We do this because you’re the reason why we’re in the wrestling business. It’s completely done out of admiration.’ To me, it’s a cool faction & continuing to grow & adding Kenny Omega… The talent that’s in the Bullet Club is so unbelievable. It gets to run around & do what it wants, where it wants, when it wants. It gets to shake up NJPW & Japanese wrestling in general is kind of structured. It’s got the pageantry & everything but it doesn’t have the referees getting knocked down or all of the interference. Bullet Club doesn’t always do it but it does it when it needs to be done & that makes it different from the rest of the product & helps make it stand out.”
On Jim Ross: “I think it’s fantastic & super exciting that Jim Ross is returning to call this event. He’s the most legendary announcer in our industry’s history. I think Jim Ross can announce a chess match & draw the audience in. He’s the best storytelling announcer in the business– not just the wrestling business but in the wrestling business. The fact that he didn’t have to come back & call wrestling. I mean, he’s called MMA, boxing, & done little projects but if Jim Ross didn’t come back or call another wrestling show in his life, no one would have said a negative thing about it. The fact that he stepped out of the box & he’s coming back in… there’s going to be people who are going to be excited for this. Jim Ross had to come back & do all this prep work. He’s got to go out there & be the very best that there could be because that’s who he is & what he is. The fact that he would take time out & this event is what he chose to make that return & say, ‘Well, hell yeah, damn it, I want to call wrestling again & this is the show I want to call.’ I can tell you, from my conversations with Jim from the very beginning of this, he loved the product & he respected it. He said it reminded him of the product that he grew up watching & that he was a part of in his early years under Bill Watts. I can see the similarities between the two products but, overall, are quite different. They have the same aspects. They treat wrestling with respect, they’re hard-hitting, they’re great storytelling. They don’t get bogged down in a lot of the BS of the backstage stuff & everything else. They’re storytelling but, for the most part, it starts & ends in the ring. It’s presented in a believable way. It shows a respect for wrestling fans & I think having JR come back to call this event takes it to a whole other level. Now you have that voice that’s attached to so many memories over people’s years of the wrestling business. Everybody can go on & on with soundbytes of Jim Ross, whether it’s the boyhood dream has become a reality & any of the other hundreds of ‘Oh Wow’ moments that he’s gotten to call. He’s going to be there. It’d be easy for him to say, ‘You know what? Set up a studio here ten minutes from my house & we’ll set up a satellite link & I’ll call it here. That would’ve been cool just having him call it. But, I can tell you, from the first second that I talked to Jim Ross, there was no way he was returning to wrestling or calling this show unless he was sitting there ringside at the Tokyo Dome. For Jim Ross, on his birthday weekend, to get on a plane & travel 20 hours instead of being in Las Vega watching UFC. Instead, he’s traveling 20 hours & he’s going to Tokyo to a different culture & he’s going to deal with all the time changes & how that’s going to effect his body. He’s going to land on the ground & he’s going to start making sure everything is right & everything is set. He’s going to go out there & do what he does better than anyone else & that’s call wrestling action to tell the story going on in the ring. I think that’s super exciting.”