Jeff Jarrett’s surprise return to TNA Wrestling at last month’s Impact tapings ruffled quite a few feathers. The main issue was TNA management didn’t smartened up the talent in the locker room, so there was quite a bit of confusion when Jeff and Karen Jarrett showed up. There had been a lot of bad blood between TNA and the Jarretts since his departure in 2013 and many considered the two parties bitter enemies that wouldn’t be working together again.
Tyrus, the former Brodus Clay, was a good example of someone caught in the cross fire. He had agreed to work Global Force Wrestling’s shows this summer but was disallowed by the TNA office.
— Tyrus (@BrodusClay) June 2, 2015
This resulted in Karen Jarrett taking an indirect shot at TNA President Dixie Carter:
Sounds like someone is throwing a temper tantrum in Nashville. Oh you can't control the world darlin!
— Karen Jarrett (@karenjarrett) June 2, 2015
Tyrus was never told any different, so you can imagine his reaction when he saw Jeff and Karen Jarrett show up at last month’s Impact taping. He detailed it in a recent interview:
“I was confused as to why I was asked not to do the shows. TNA said I could work wherever I want with the exception of companies with TV. When it was explained to me, I talked with Jeff to let him know, and no one really smartened me up. When he came walking onto TNA, I was like, “What… the hell?” Immediately one of the reps came up to me and said, “You can work his shows now.” I told him it was very important that you get away from me right now. I was hot.”
Now, the two promotions are sharing talent with a cross-over “invasion” angle in place. Basically, TNA talent shows up at GFW shows and vice versa. Eric Young has been working GFW’s recent live events and there are plans for it to continue on future episodes of Impact Wrestling. What makes it even more confusing though is talent such as Magnus, who quit TNA, but now it appears he’s in GFW on behalf of TNA.
In an interview that was transcribed on RollingStone.com, Magnus tried to clear it up that he wasn’t leaving TNA for GFW but was simply working for GFW independently.
There is something I have to clear up. It's not so much that I'm leaving TNA for GFW, that's just a coincidence that I'm going there immediately. I had let TNA know that I was going to leave on June 30, and we left on good terms. We agreed to wrap things up the right way, and I loved the way that we did. Then Jeff showed up on TV, and I looked at him and just said, "What the hell?" I was backstage at the TV tapings, and little Kody [Angle] came running up to me and gave me a big hug. I didn't put two-and-two together, because I thought maybe Kurt had the kids. Then I saw Jeff's kids, and then I saw this SUV. Suddenly the window rolls down and Jeff is there. I just told him, "I don't even want to know." I had no idea he was going to show up, and I'm still not sure what is going on completely.
Once again, Magnus reiterated the confusion felt by Tyrus and many others caught in the middle of the new working arrangement between TNA and GFW.
While I do not have full details on the extent of the new working relationship between TNA and GFW, I don’t think it’s a good idea. TNA has a TV deal so it’s smart of Jeff Jarrett to use that outlet to plug his promotion; however, TNA is in a bad position right now. They're possibly losing domestic TV in a couple of months and have done pretty significant damage to their core fanbase. Jarrett had a great opportunity to provide not only a WWE alternative but a TNA alternative. By getting mixed up with TNA, Jarrett blurs the lines and unfortunately, will pick up a lot of the baggage from TNA that he's not going to want. Not only are fans going to dismiss GFW without giving it a fair shot (looking it at as "TNA light"), it's doing significant damage in the relationship with talent out of the gate.
Because this is pro wrestling, there is the possibility that all of this is just one big elaborate work, however, I don't see that as the case. But event if it was, I question why GFW would want to get mixed up with TNA right now. Their relationship with Destination America is on the ropes, issues about not paying their production staff persist and several names are leaving TNA because they aren't getting enough work there to make a living.
While TNA does get unfairly criticized, it's more than just the "evil Internet" with negative opinions of the promotion. GFW had the chance to get people off the TNA bandwagon and on theirs but now run the risk of being seen as secondary to a promotion that is in a state of turmoil. Let's also not forget that TNA's audience is trending in the opposite direction. At a time when they need viewership to rise to make a case for them to remain on Destination America, viewership averages have been in decline.