Tha Sports Junkies 101

Top Story: TNA Rebranded as GFW

Anthem myataungkhyne via Wiki



Anthem Sports announced last week it has purchased Nashville-based Global Force Wrestling (GFW), a move was to distance itself from the financial struggles, and legal drama that hung over its brand.

The End of TNA

Dixie Carter was appointed as president of TNA back in spring 2003. And the company was once a home for future stars like Aj Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, etc.  But the previous management’s bad ways of contract handling lead them to their departure from TNA.

Later, it culminated in a lawsuit last fall when rock-and-roll legend Billy Corgan, who was hired to help lead the creative direction of TNA, sued Carter and the company.

But when the dust settled, Anthem Sports, the Canadian company that also owns the Fight Network, emerged as the new owner, and operator of the promotion.

Anthem Sports plans to rebrand Impact Wrestling (previously from TNA) to GFW. Jeff Jarrett will remain the creative head of Impact.

Its staple weekly program on Pop TV will continue to be called “Impact”, and their offices will remain in Nashville.

And the legal battle that played out dramatically in a Nashville courtroom last year has seemingly been put to rest.

This signals the end of TNA.

The Birth of New GFW

Global Force Wrestling (GFW) was founded in 2014 by Jeff Jarrett, the co-founder and former President of TNA (now known as Impact Wrestling), and his wife Karen Jarrett.

The new GFW plans to arrive on professional wrestling scene with some momentum.

The company has seen a drastic spike in its social media reach in recent months following a tour through India. Ratings for its weekly “Impact!” program are on the uptick.

GFW headquarters will be at Skywalk Studios, and they are using Slammiversary on Sunday as a re-launch of the company.

Anthem to the RESCUE

When TNA had dramatic problems, Anthem Sports gave a loan to keep the company afloat in 2016. Corgan also lent the company money and used those loan agreements as the basis for his lawsuit that also sought to wrestle away control of TNA.

But the court sided with Carter and Anthem came out of the legal wrangling as the majority owner.

“They started out as a very small lender,” Jarrett said. “Then, as 2016 progressed, it became more and more apparent that if the organization was going to be saved, they were going to have to step in. They stepped in and I’m very thankful they did because we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the organization.”

Nordholm said that once the wrestling company fell into Anthem’s hands, he began familiarizing himself with TNA by meeting with an array of stakeholders over the years.

“Amongst those, somebody set me up with Jeff,” Nordholm said, recalling meeting Jarrett in a private room at Nashville restaurant Pinewood Social. “It started off as, ‘Will you talk to me and give me some perspective on the show?’ We had lunch, we chatted. We ended up with a good rapport.”

Nordholm, who is a mergers and acquisitions attorney by trade, said Anthem needed an executive with a background in wrestling to helm the creative side of the company.

“We needed a wrestling guy,” he said.

Jarrett said “the first 100 days running the company were a whirlwind. The company had regular order of business issues, like putting together its budget, signing new in-ring talent, building a new creative team and revamping its website.”

The promotion secured a broadcast partnership deal with SpikeTV in U.K, and Digital growth in the month of March spiked by 184 percent.

Anthem Executive Vice President Ed Nordholm and Jeff Jarrett on NEW GFW

Jeff Jarrett said:

“We’re a global brand. We have partnerships in Mexico, Japan, and other places. Collectively coming together, we’ve combined forces and basically the rebrand final touches happen (on Sunday) at ‘Slammiversary.'”

Ed Nordholm then said that:

“The company chose to rebrand for two reasons. The double meaning of the name “TNA” was a turnoff for some marketing partners. And the name was tainted because of the negative media coverage.”

He also added:

“When Anthem Sport got involved we saw a rare opportunity to involve with an asset that already had global distribution. It’s a 3,500-hour library, broadcast in 120 countries, existing distribution contracts in India, Africa and now United Kingdom.”

“The timeline to take a ground zero promotion to that kind of penetration was 15 years. And the work now is to fix some things.”

Going Head to Head with WWE?

Jarrett and Nordholm are also banking on strengthened international partnerships, more growth on digital presence, and revamped roster buoying GFW as an alternative to the unquestioned professional wrestling behemoth, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

The Goal

The new GFW broadcast and streaming deals are also in the works, both in India and the United Kingdom.

“We had more visitors to our YouTube from India than from the United States,” Nordholm said.

So the goal is to export GFW content, and to partner with local promotions to cultivate new content.

In U.K., talks have advanced with ITV Studios to contraction negotations, while in the India, the concept remains in the developmental phase, Jarrett said.

The GFW has a valuable video library with the legendary wrestlers who have passed through its roster over the years, and the future stars who emerged, and then move on to other promotions.

Anthem’s International Strategy.

“One part of our international strategy is not just to take WWE-style ‘Impact’, and export it to other countries, but as well to more deeply penetrate those international markets in association with (wrestling) promotions that are centric to those markets,” Nordholm said.

“International promotions want to tap into our expertise to boost those shows, but also to in turn boost the GFW content.”

Nordholm said “the company is developing an on-demand streaming service as well to tap into its valuable library.”

Already, the company’s YouTube channel is highly rank in the sports category, with just under 1 million subscribers. The company has already launched an app with some of its library available.

Nordholm also said “it will serve as the baseline for a new on-demand streaming app in North America.”

“The objective is to make that our own video on-demand hub,” Nordholm noted.

TNA’s two-pronged legacy

On one hand, the promotion successfully developed future stars, and gained traction as the home to legends. But on the other hand, there were negative headlines surrounding the business operation.

When asked to describe the company’s legacy over its first 15 years to Jeff Jarrett,

He said:


“Nobody said it would be easy. But when you really chart the road map of the business side of things, it was a challenge day in and day out. But in spite of those business challenges, I will say the brand persevered, the talent persevered.”

Jarrett also noted that:

“And when you look back on history, 2005 to 2015, we create the stars of today  right under our watch – A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode, arguably the top freshest stars in the world today. I’m  happy for this roster now. I’m ready to show the next A.J. Styles to the world.”

Anthem, One question…

Is Impact Wrestling ready to be repackage again?

Let’s be honest; the company has probably needed to repackage itself for a while, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Since it is moving in a different direction already, but the name continues to drag them down.

So the answer is YES! Or like Alberto #SiSiSi

This could be the start of something new and exciting for Anthem’s New GFW, and thus for wrestling fans looking for a major alternative to WWE.


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