JB, Park and Grado discuss all things GFW including Slammiversary fallout, the BROKEN filming style, Abyss’ future in wrestling, the United Kingdom, and more!
This past Wednesday, Global Force Wrestling hosted a teleconference with three of its top superstars. This conference featured a good Q&A session as well as breaking news and announcements from GFW, which you can read here. Answering questions for the media this week were Jeremy Borash, Joseph Park and Grado.
Jeremy and Joseph, you’ve been getting good feedback from your recent match at Slammiversary, care to reflect on that?
JB: Thanks to everybody that sent us such great feedback on our match, I think most people had little or no expectations of it going in and I think it delivered. Scott Steiner has become a cult hero on the internet, lot of memes, lot of GIFs, unfortunately a lot of them are referring to me and my good friend Joseph Park as “fat-asses” but that’s his prerogative. Overall it was a fun match, a little bit of a throwback to some of the other stuff we’ve done previously and we’re really happy with the response. My fingers and hands are still looking like a pincushion at this point. I know Joseph Park was happy with it as well…
Park: Very happy with it. Very happy with the outcome; crazy match, crazy times. Some old friends showed up – Shark Boy was there – obviously, the good Reverend, Jim Mitchell showing up on the scene so it was a lot of fun.
JB, how many pin tacks were there?
JB: Well, there were 30 in me and counted 60 so I think along the way some fell out or something. By the time I got back to the table, I think there were 20 that they had to pull out that I hadn’t pulled out yet. I would really not recommend, for anyone out there listening, jumping into a pile of tacks. For whatever reason you might find yourself doing so, I certainly never would have expected to have done that. But I would tell everyone, it’s painful as “F” and not something that you’d ever want to go through.
What was it like to have Father James Mitchell back for Slammiversary and what is his future in GFW?
Park: It was a great, great feeling to have the good Reverend, Jim Mitchell back on the scene at IMPACT Wrestling. I’ve got a lot of great history with that guy. In my opinion, he is still to this day one of the best promos in the wrestling industry. He’s a really dynamic, pretty unique guy, pretty different guy. It meant a lot. He was as much part of Abyss as Abyss was. It was a great feeling to have him back, I thought it was a great callback to a lot of history with the company. As far as the future, who knows? He’s the kinda guy that could show up anytime, anywhere, so who knows?
JB: I think you can look at the way the match went and look at the story of what happened in the match. He came back and we saw Abyss; in the weeks since then we have just seen Joseph Park so I would bet that if we ever see Abyss again, we’ll also see Jim Mitchell. It was a one-time thing but I think it’s going to be a wait and see situation. I’ve got to echo the earlier comment and say that he’s a brilliant speaker, that is a guy who can deliver a promo. He’s always been one of my favourites and has always been hugely underrated, just never given the platform but if you throw that guy in front of the right audience, the right stage, the right platform… he’s a star. He’s legitimately evil! That’s not a gimmick, the guy is out of his mind. He’d be welcomed back any time.
JB, do you plan to keep on wrestling after your one-off match at Slammiversary?
JB: Well, I think it was obvious to everybody watching that I had the knack for it. Actually, I’ve had four matches in my life… the first one was in 2001 on the World Wrestling All-Stars very first Pay-Per-View; I got thrown in the ring by Jerry Lawler in a open invitation, company-wide, battle royal – that was my first official match. Since then, I’ve been defeated by Eric Bischoff; I believe he hit me in the balls and rolled me up one time and there were the EC3 matches as well. I had not really scored a pinfall in my career so now that I have a big ‘W’ in the win column, all the boys are getting the big ‘W’ so I think I’m gonna hang up my boots.
What was your training regimen to get you prepared for the match?
JB: You saw the training regimen on our way to the matchup. Joseph Park and I went training. We did some cardio… and ended up at a Chinese place. We did a couple things but, obviously, I am not an athlete. I don’t ever want to do that again. The extent of my training for that match was making sure that I could climb to the top rope because those ropes, in a six-sided ring, are much harder to stand on than in a traditional wrestling ring where the ropes are at a 90 degree angle. That was the main training I did; get up there, practise to make sure I could jump off the thing and not fall on my ass. However, Joseph Park did extensive training for the match and I think you can see that it paid off. Oh, and we both carbed up before the show.
How was it working with Scott Steiner after he’d been out of action for so long and do you think he’ll wrestle for GFW again?
JB: We’ve all known Scott for many, many years and I’ve personally known him for years, going back to WCW. If I hadn’t known Scott Steiner for years, I would have been petrified with the whole situation. Back in WCW, when I talk about how it was a hostile work environment, he was a big part of that; if you saw him walking down the hall, I would usually just walk the other way… I’d do a complete 180 and just find another hallway. I toured with him several times across Australia and the UK, we would use tour buses and he would commandeer the back quarter of the bus. He would spread out there and you just wouldn’t go there… it would be like the animal in the cage. He gets respect because most people fear him. If you’ve known him long enough and he likes you or will at least tolerate you, you can work with him. Luckily, over the course of time, we’ve had a good relationship so working with him was an absolute pleasure, believe it or not, and he contributed an enormous amount to that match in terms of creativity. He was great. To me, he’s one of those guys that tomorrow you could give him a webshow where he rants on something for a minute and I’d watch it. He’s almost like a modern day Iron Shiek… you don’t know what he’s going to say, it’s gonna be crazy whatever he says and his reputation is now living on through the internet – with memes, GIFs, soundbytes and parody songs – and the cult following he has on the internet alone has been bigger now than it ever has been. He was an absolute treat to work with and I think we’re gonna see him again.
The JB/Park vs. Steiner/Matthews match had a certain flavour that people had recognised from the Final Deletion stuff and the other Hardy projects. Is this a style that you’re going to be taking on and doing more of in GFW?
JB: Thanks for the question, I guess the answer would be that it’s kinda been my style for a number of years and I guess it was just a little bit more defined with what we did with The Final Deletion. But if you go back to the Paparazzi Productions stuff we used to do with Kevin Nash, a lot of the stuff where they let me have the reins on, you can see a lot of that different style with it. Over the years, I guess I’ve just had a different vision for things and while that’s not a style you’d wanna see in every match, I think as a departure, as something a little different, as a little taste of variety in a show like that, that’s where I think it fits in. As far as a full time format… might be a little tough to pull off.
A lot of people talk about what a big hand you had in The Final Deletion and with the uncertain future of the BROKEN Universe, have you had any thoughts about bringing it back to GFW with different characters?
JB: No, I don’t think so and only because that particular style is something we did at Slammiversary with Joseph Park, Josh Matthews and Scott Steiner and I thought it was pretty entertaining. It’s more about the way I like to shoot television; I’ve done short movies and short videos – it’s more of an edit style, with specific settings that I use with the cameras and I don’t let many people in on that because it’s got a very distinct look. Anybody that does that for a living can kinda figure it out, I think, but it’s more about the presentation and style and more than anything else it’s gotta be different. One thing you notice with other wrestling programmes is that a lot of it all looks the same, it’s all shot the same and that got it’s positives and negatives. In terms of being able to do the things we do, I like to shoot run and gun… I don’t like to get a lot of clearances, I’d rather ask for forgiveness a lot of the time. Y’know I think the biggest legal issues I’m concerned about in terms of the Hardy stuff is the statute of limitations. I don’t want to be in court explaining why we broke into a zoo and fought a kangaroo. I don’t want to be in court explaining why we shot fireworks from FAA licensed aerial machines. Just gonna lay low on that… not a lot of the stuff we did was above the law in North Carolina. At lot of that stuff was done completely on the fly; that’s how we work best and I think that anybody that was part of those shoots will really look back on them as a true experience and some of the best stuff that we’ve ever done.
Slammiversary happened on the same night as the NJPW G-1 Special in the United States. Was that a scary proposition for GFW, having two major events happening on the same night?
JB: No. Not taking anything away from what they were doing but in this day and age with pay-per-views and live events, if people want to watch something then they’re going to go out of their way to watch it. I tuned in to some of that show the next day just because I wanted to see it so I think with digital media as it is, you can’t really look at anything, outside of football, that will really mess with your television audience. At the same time, I think more and more people are just going to be choosing the shows they want to watch and, having easier access to it, that’s gonna be the future.
How much longer do you think Abyss has left in the wrestling ring?
Park: Ah, gosh, that’s a great question. I don’t think my gas tank is empty by any means, though it’s definitely not full anymore. I’m no spring chicken. I’ve had a fantastic career, more so than I ever could have imagined so I’ve been very blessed. I’ve been around a lot of great people that have helped me over the years. I feel like my resume kinda speaks for itself and I’m pretty proud of it. My longevity is something that I’m really proud of. I’ve been in the business since 1995 and with IMPACT going on 16 years so I’m pretty excited and honoured about that. I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Abyss and keep watching for some cool things coming up.
Where does Decay rank amongst the highlights of Abyss’ career?
Park: Decay ranks really high. Decay was a lot of fun. It was a chance for me to do something different, which can be hard. I’ve been around for quite a while, done an awful lot and Decay was an opportunity to do something that I hadn’t done. The switch to facepaint was kinda neat after being in the mask for a long time. Getting to work with Steve and Rosemary was fantastic; I was the old veteran giving them advice and they were the young, energized talent that would pick me up every now and then. So it was a great partnership and all three of us are close friends. It was a lot of fun.
The State of Grado
Grado, how are things going for you these days?
Grado: My dinner’s in the oven, I’m awaiting my dinner because, obviously, it’s 6pm here and it’s the best time of the day. I have been doing rehearsals today for a stage show that I’m doing in Scotland. I’ve come back from rehearsals… the macaroni cheese is in the oven… I’m sitting here listening to my good friends Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park… I’m having the time of my life.
JB: Grado recently visited my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and I had all these big plans for him; was gonna take him to the Country Music Hall of Fame, to the Bridgestone Arena, to the Amplitheatre, to the dam, take him across town to all the restaurants and show him some culture, some country music, broadway… and what ended up happening, Grado, when you were here for a week?
Grado: We just ended up sitting on our asses in your apartment, eating pizza, ribs, wings, chips… we did not leave the couch. We were absolute slobs, and I mean absolute disgusting manky slobs, 2017 champions. I never moved an inch. Sat in the chair, drank beer and couldn’t stop eating. That’s what I love about America: the food. The food is just fantastic. I had these plans to go see the hockey and blah blah, but nah, I was fine just sitting watching TV, and it was great. I’d do it all again tomorrow.
JB: Our Uber Eats bill was over $500, just to give you an idea of how lazy [we were] and how much was eaten. Grado has not been asked back, in fact, Grado has now been banned from the Jarrett house as well. Jeff’s got a nice lovely boat and we went out on the boat and, pardon my French, Grado got a little sh**faced and manage to insult most of the family at some point and then insulted a 14-year old young man. He asked him who his favourite wrestler was, he responded that it was John Cena and I believe he told this 14-year old kid to “F Off”.
Grado: That is true but I didn’t realise that American people are not allowed to swear in front of American kids. In the UK, that’s pretty accepted. I didn’t realise the heat I would get for swearing at a 14-year old; I didn’t think it was that big a deal but I had absolute nuclear heat that day. The next day, I woke up and was hungover and I was absolutely mortified. I thought I was great entertainment but JB told me I was belching and farting and swearing… and don’t get me wrong, I had the time of my life on the boat with Double J. That 14-year old kid, why’d he say John Cena? Come on?
JB: We’ll chalk it up to cultural differences.
A lot of people are asking about you’re legal issues, Grado, tell everyone what’s going on.
Grado: Joseph, could you explain?
Park: Grado, don’t say another word, my friend. That’s what I’m here for.Basically, it goes like this… Grado has found himself, due to this country’s new leadership, that he is on the outs, he will be deported, he will be moved on. I, of course, being the resourceful, contingent, very appicable attourney have found an opportunity for him to stay in this country. It’s very simple, very simple, he just needs to get married; we need to get the guy hooked up. What better place than at IMPACT Wrestling to do this? All the boys are doing it. I walk around the back and everybody’s dating… Eddie Edwards has got his wife there, Davey Richards has got his wife there, Josh Matthews for cryin’ out loud. Grado, you gotta get married, my friend. You know the deal. We’re gonna get it done this week, pal. Tune in this week, everybody, you’ll see what’s going on.
You’re the one guy, JB, that’s never missed a taping in 15 years. You’ve been there through thick and thin, and all the ups and downs. How excited are you for things going forward and what do you see for the announce team going forward?
JB: I get that a lot, the “you’ve seen everything, you’ve done everything, you’ve never missed a show” and here’s what I always tell people: the two years that I spent at the tail end of WCW – and you talk about chaos and different things – I would put those two years of chaos up against the 15 years I’ve spent here in terms of craziness. WCW was a real hostile environment. The pay was fantastic so you’d look the other way but the actual experience there made everything since then a complete cakewalk. I think it set me up for what I was going to see. As far as the here and now, it feels like we got the old band back together. I look back at the period where we were really making a ton of money on live events, doing great ratings, going great business across the board and the show better than it had ever been, and those people are back in place now. Sitting in a room with Dutch Mantell, who has so many years of experience and knows wrestling in and out better than anyone else, you start to soak up the knowledge a little bit. Scott D’amore is great, Sonjay Dutt is a brilliant guy, Joseph Park as well and so from top to bottom you have guys that I think are a dream team of guys that gel together, get along well and think alike. I love working with these guys and the creative meetings are a lot of fun and I think it shows in the shows. The storylines are coming around, taking better shape and we’re telling better stories. As far as the announce tea is concerned, I have been told going forward it will be myself, Josh Matthews and Pope.
It is well documented, JB, that you’ve spent a lot of time in the UK. What are your favourite things to do there?
JB: Very easy… I’ve been to Alexandra Palace in London for the darts finals every year for the last 5 years. If you haven’t watched, it’s wrestling presentation done to darts. Basically, you’ve got these amazing entrances, the crowd, the ECW arena reminds me of the atmosphere at the darts finale every year. I know a lot of the pro guys there and it’s so much fun. Not that I’m a fan of darts, I’m a fan of the atmosphere and I’m a fan of thousands of people cheering on stuff because they’re passionate about it. I love Morrison’s Triple Pepperoni pizza; you tried that too, didn’t you Grado?
Grado: Aye, you put me on to it and I get it most weeks, yeah. Love it.
JB: I love the television in the UK. Gogglebox… I like Celebrity Juice, one of the funniest TV shows on television and if you’ve ever watched that show, you see where Jimmy Fallon gets all his bits from because you can literally see something done on Celebrity Juice on The Tonight Show within weeks, usually. I think they’re real innovators. There’s some great TV in the UK, I think that’s the best thing that I picked up spending so much time over there was how many different cool, creative things are going on in the UK television scene. It’s made obvious by how many of those shows get picked up, rebranded and remade for American audiences. I really think the UK is the cornerstone of television and the creation of it.
As the teleconference drew to a close, Ross Foreman teased next week’s guests, stating that the two people involved have been in the wrestling business for a combined 75 years. RealSport will be here to bring you all the up-to-date news and trending topics from GFW’s weekly teleconference.
Who do you think next week’s guests will be? Have you been enjoying the conference call coverage? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below or contact me directly on Twitter @thejezshow