Josh Mathews appeared on The PWI Podcast released Tuesday to discuss the state of GFW following the departure of Jeff Jarrett, where the company is headed from here and even included an anecdote about a conversation he had with Bob Ryder prior to the launch of TNA.
Global Force announced the departure of Jeff Jarrett, which became the launching point for a lot of rumors regarding GFW shutting down over the past week. What can you say about that?
“What we put out Tuesday is very much the truth. Jeff is going to take a leave of absence and deal with some personal issues and it’s not incumbent upon me to talk about what those issues are. I’ve grown to really like Jeff and I hope that he can deal with those issues and come out the other side. There’s really nothing more to it that I can say, other than that was the news we put out Tuesday… and he has the full support of everyone in the company.”
Does Global Force not miss a beat with Jeff gone, does the machine just keep on going?
“I think it has to. That’s not a knock against anybody. Any machine has to keep going, and the good thing is we have got TV until the week before Bound For Glory in the can; everything’s done. The production team and Kevin Sullivan and his team and Jimmy and Ben and Kenny and Eric and Jay and all the guys down there, they’re working on these shows and working off of the formats they had when we were down at TV a few weeks ago. Digitally, I’m working off of the formats we had when we were down there. Everything is status quo as it relates to where we’re going. I think what you saw on the show last night was the same show that you would’ve seen had Tuesday not happened. The show that you’ll see Thursday will be the same show that you’d have seen had Tuesday not happened. It’s moving forward, these shows are done, we have to get to Bound For Glory and we’re looking forward to getting to Bound For Glory.”
How is the relationship with Anthem? Is there any buyer’s remorse?
“I don’t think there’s any reconsideration. I think our president, Ed Nordham, knows exactly what he got into. He likes to say that it’s a lot of blocking and tackling, we’re not scoring hail mary’s in bunches like you saw last night in the football game. You’re seeing a slow build. We’re moving in five to ten-yard increments, not in hail marys and that’s good. It’s can’t be stressed enough how important these (new television deals) are.”
How do you respond to the recent string of poorly attended house shows in the Northeast? Is it where expectations were considering where you are right now?
“Yes. It wasn’t a shock to anyone that ticket sales were what they were. Everyone knew going in what they were going to do. Staten Island went off and we got video packages out of them and you saw them in the show and it’s all about forward momentum and bringing attention to the brand. Two live events in August, if we lost some money on those two events, we did them at the end of the day. I think you have to do them, you have to have these cuts out there to show you what we did.
“I don’t know if there’ll be any more in 2017. I think the plan would be to do more in 2018. Also, I think there were some talks about maybe doing some live events in Toronto. So I don’t think there was much discouragement, but I think it turns our strategy into ‘you’re going to spend a lot of money to do these shows, where are you going to get the best bang for your buck?”
How does your career in TNA/GFW compare to that in WWE?
“It’s certainly more rewarding. It’s more taxing (laughs) than anything else. I mean, in WWE, I think there’s a level of intimidation for most people. I was an announcer and I sort of had a hand in helping with things that were going to be on the Network, but that was twelve years into my career.
Now here, (after three years) my day starts every day at 4 am. I wake up and I’m working with our graphics designer who’s in the United Kingdom, and our partners in London, from a PR standpoint… I was up at 2 am (the other day) making sure the launch was going to go off at the appropriate time in Germany.
“It’s just two different things. I’m in the business that I love, I’m doing what I love every single day. The only person that gets upset about my work schedule is my wife, and rightfully so. But it’s so much fun to be a part of this team.
“I don’t know if anybody knows this, but when Impact started and it was TNA all those years ago, I had a contract to be on those first Wednesday night PPV’s. A week before they were taping, I called Bob Ryder and I said ‘I got a job offer from WWE.’ He said ‘Let me call you back’ and he called Jeff and called me back and said ‘Rip up our contract. Rip it up, we don’t know how long we’ll be around. Go work for them,’ and that’s what I did for thirteen years. It was the decision I had to make with what I wanted to do, and hindsight being 20/20, I still would’ve made the decision that I made twenty years ago. “
For the full interview, check out the PWI Podcast.