In our final part, we discuss a whole bunch of topics: wXw's relationship with Jeff Jarrett's GFW, an almost-booking of Alberto Del Rio and the role of the kayfabe in our day in age.
So, you were also announced as one of the partners of Jeff Jarrett's new GFW. Had Russo anything to do with that?
Tassilo Jung: Not at all.
Then what is the Deal with wXw and GFW?
Tassilo Jung: GFW is basically a network for promoters all around the world to do business with each other. The only thing GFW has done itself so far, was bringing Wrestle Kingdom 9 to the Amercian PPV distributors. That was a big deal for New Japan. We also don't know what's coming next. We get little updates from them, but we can't talk about that. But there were no disadvantages for us, joining this network. In fact, just this October, we've had Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi, NJPW's top draw over here. That wasn't directly through GFW, but there was a mutual trust, since we're part of the same organization.
Did you reach out to GFW or was it the other way around?
Tassilo Jung: They contacted us. We briefly thought about it and like I said: No disadvantages.
TNA is America's 2nd biggest promotion. Do you think GFW with its global network will be able to grow like TNA did?
Tassilo Jung: Well, I think it's a different concept. Until this point, GFW has never promoted a show of their own. Maybe they will in the future, I don't know. Right now it's just a network. It's all about the next steps. But yes: With all the promotions involved, this could get big.
So would you say, the GFW could be seen as a global, modern-day National Wrestling Alliance?
Tassilo Jung: No, not really. The NWA had a lot more influence in creative and all those things. We don't have any of that. That I would consider a very real disadvantage.
wXw also has other partners like Big Japan and CZW. Do you have something planned for those partnerships in the future?
Tassilo Jung: Yes in fact, just last October, we held the World Triangle League with those two promotions. For our last show, we have had CZW's Drew Gulak over here. With Big Japan, it's a bit difficult. They're in a tough spot in terms of finances. But, like in every good marriage, we're not giving up on them.
A couple of months ago you've announced Alberto Del Rio for one of your shows, probably the hottest free agent on the planet right now. But then his appearance got cancelled. What happened?
Tassilo Jung: The thing is: You can contact Del Rio directly, book him through his agent or through various people that are in contact with Del Rio. Our contact was a good friend of Del Rio's. We were negotiating while he was on a tour in England. The problem was: His agent already booked him for a series of events for that period of time. They've been told, they could pay up front – we didn't have that information. And since the other thing was a whole series of events it was clear, which booking he would take. It was just really, really bad timing. But we got over all of that and Del Rio is definitely somebody we wanna work again with in the future.
How do you convince a former WWE Champion to work for you?
Tassilo Jung: I don't wanna convince anybody. If people want to work someplace else, they should work there. I want people to come here because they like to. If you look at WWE right now: We've had a lot of these guys here. May it be Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Adrian Neville or Seth Rollins, who participated in the 16 Carat Gold Tournament. I think we have a pretty good reputation. Wrestlers that have been here usually tell good things about wXw.
How do you deal with media? Is it worth it to still keep the kayfabe?
Tassilo Jung: In some areas, where it is still a hardcore fan base, sometimes it works. But I think, we shouldn't do it anymore in this day in age. I mean, you don't have to expose everything, but please don't think people are stupid. Some folks still tell media that in the States it's scripted, but in Europe and Germany it is real. You can't tell that anybody that really watches wrestling. To me, it's the old McMahon-terminology: Sports Entertainment. To say it's real – well, that's a lie, glorification of violence and last but not least you ruin your own credibility.
So... is wrestling without kayfabe even possible?
Tassilo Jung: No, because kayfabe is everything. Without kayfabe there's no selling, there's no playing to audience. It's just two guys in their street clothes exchanging holds.
So what do we now? Maybe continue like we're doing right now, but being more open about the kayfabe?
Tassilo Jung: I've talked to several wrestlers about that aspect, because it's difficult. The first credo should be: Wrestling is not a competitive sport! We should be very open about that. Cause that's wrestling's strong point! If I watch a boxing match, there's a good chance the thing will be over in 30 seconds. Most of the time, that won't happen in wrestling, usually I get my money's worth.
The other big thing to me is: They should at the same time be looked at as athletes, not just stunt men. Stunt men fall three times on huge mats, they're protected all the time. As a wrestler you take for example 10 suplexes. Every day. On a ring that's made of wood, metal and a little upholstery. That's basically the same impact like a car crash with 20mph. So, you can look at a 40 year old wrestler and you can tell what he's been doing all his life. Calling a wrestler anything less than an athlete is ridiculous. Finally, the wrestler has to preserve his role in front of the audience. The fan has in my eyes still the demand to his suspension of disbelieve.