The Global Wrestling Federation: A promotion never to become a success
If you loved wrestling in the early 1990s and had access to ESPN, then there is a chance you may have watched the Global Wrestling Federation. Like many wrestling promotions outside of the modern-day WWE, GWF lasted just a short time and was started and closed in a four-year time span. Although the Dallas area had seen big-time wrestling dating back to post-World War II, it wasn’t until the excess of the 1980s that the city exploded in terms of wrestling. Combat sports fans are anticipating UFC 251 which will see a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. Fans can use Michigan online lotteries to get a bet bonus before the bout and wager on the fighter they believe will win.
The 1980s saw the quick rise and painful fall of WCCW and the Von Erich family. After the USWA’s short run powered by Tennessee promoter Jerry Jarrett, the GWF was formed by promoter Joe Pedicino – claimed to be a Vince McMahon wannabe – and an often-unnamed financial backer that never actually materialized.
Like so many wrestling promoters, Pedicino and company planned to revitalize a city that had been a hot-bed of business. Yet, what the promotion didn’t realize was that the city of Dallas and the surrounding area was burnt out and fans were unwilling to give another wrestling promotion the chance to mesmerize them.
GWF signed a contract with cable sports channel ESPN in 1991 to provide much-needed content. Making GWF unique was the company’s ESPN show aired five days a week from Monday to Friday. The amount of content shown made it difficult for the company to continue storylines, get over talent, and keep fans up to date on the action. Everything went episode to episode, and missing a week of action could throw off fans. GWF also had a show on American One, a network that aired a syndicated program from the promotion.
The company's roster of wrestlers was an ensemble of grapplers that had made a name for themselves in Dallas previously. Ex-WCCW wrestlers Chris Adams, One Man Gang, and Michael “P.S.” Hayes appeared on cards at the Dallas Sportatorium. Others that competed in the promotion included Buddy Landel, Rip Rogers, Scott Anthony (Raven) and Mick Foley.
Right from the start, the GWF’s talent was a hand to mouth existence. On an episode of Bruce Prichard’s Something to Wrestle With podcast, he spoke about receiving one of the highest guarantees offered by the promotion. It was merely $100 for an appearance with hotel and transportation paid. Jerry Lynn, a GWF alumni, admitted on an episode of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast, that he left the promotion and gave up the Lightweight Championship shortly after winning it due to not making enough money to live on.
GWF’s weekly shows were all recorded in a single Friday night. It took up to four hours to shoot the shows before being edited for airing on ESPN. Other than finances, running a burnt-out town, and shooting too many episodes of the weekly television in one night, GWF made the mistake of assuming its fanbase were “smarter” to the business than they actually were. Pedicino and company made the assumption fans read the insider “dirt sheets” and followed wrestling non-stop. The truth was that at the time, most wrestling fans were not “smart” fans. In addition, the business was just starting a downturn following its incredible highs of the 1980s.
According to reports, Pedicino showed up more infrequently to the GWF’s shows and the budget wasn’t high enough to lure in big named wrestlers to increase fan appeal. In 1994, the GWF folded due to a lack of money and on September 25th, the promotion aired its final TV show. In spite of being around for just a short time, the GWF’s catalogue of shows continues to be shown by ESPN Classic.