Jerry Jarret Interview

01.jpgOne of the most-legendary promoters in the history of professional wrestling & the founder of TNA Wrestling, Jerry Jarrett, was the special guest on the live edition of Monday Night Mayhem. The interview can be heard live in streaming audio every Monday night at 8PM ET/7PM CT exclusively on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network (www.MondayNightMayhem.com, www.OnlineWorldOfWrestling.com and www.ITunes.com)

Jerry wanted to let fans know that since leaving TNA Wrestling his health has been well. Jeff has been able to devote more of his time to his family and to his construction business. “Being outdoors is great. The construction business is stress, but not the same kind of the stress as the wrestling business.”

Jerry was asked about the development of Total Nonstop Action, and whether he thinks the product of the early days is better overall than today. Jerry said that the “old-school” days of NWA-TNA “bring a smile to his face,” as they were a throwback to the ’70’s & ’80’s. Jerry was a lot more involved in those early years of the company, and is slightly prejudice to that time because of his involvement. Jerry went on to say that the judge and the yardstick of success in wrestling is making money. People’s opinions are their opinions, but what it all boils down to is a bottom financial line.

As to how the NWA-TNA came about, Jerry described in detail what lead into the night of the first show. Jerry had sold his stock in the Memphis & Louisville territories to his former partner, Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jerry says that at that point, he was out of the wrestling business. After WCW closed up shop and his son departed the WWE, Jeff came to his father. With World Championship Wrestling out of the picture, Jerry bought into the concept of NWA-TNA, something that he does not regret at all in his life. Jerry explained, “you try to do everything you can for your children.” Jerry figurs that at that time, despite having accumulating some wealth in the business, it would take approximately $50 million dollars to get onto broadcast television, which he did not have. Jeff and Jerry were able to get In-Demand to jump on board for a 52-week PPV budget. The original company strategy was that word of mouth would help grow the product. This did not happen. The company was out of money and HealthSouth backed out. Then the Carter Family was there to invest into the company’s ownership, and keep it thriving to this day.

Jerry was very open about his true feelings for Vince Russo. “I have no regard for Vince Russo, I think he is a detriment to the wrestling business, and I don’t think he has ever, ever been successful in the business.” Jerry believes that Vince has taken a lot of credit for the WWE’s success while he was there, and that Jerry was “the captain of the ship” when WCW sunk. “I do not consider him an asset to the wrestling business in any way.”

When asked if he thought TNA could eventually compete on a one-on-one level with the WWE, Jerry replied, “Bob Carter has a lot of money, but he don’t have enough to compete with Vince McMahon. You can’t buy competition with Vince…Vince is a third-generation promoter, he knows the wrestling business…His life is the wrestling business 24/7. I can tell you that, because I am one of the few people that stayed in his home with him & Linda…Unless you have the same kind of credentials in the wrestling business, the same kind of money, & most importantly, the same kind of dedication, you cannot compete. Ted Turner could not compete.” Jerry said that he didn’t want NWA-TNA to compete with Vince but to build a niche audience. Jerry wanted TNA to appeal to the fans that loved wrestling. “If you have every show, you can probably know when I quit booking…probably show 25, 27, 28, because the emphasis was on wrestling.” The short answer to TNA competing with WWE is, “No.”

Jarrett remembers his time with Andy Kaufman very fondly: “He was a huge, huge wrestling fan, and was one of the finest people I ever met.” Jarret further said that he thinks that Andy never let his “star character” get to his head. Then Jarret explained that Andy coming to Memphis happened by accident. “Verne Gagne said no, Vince McMahon said no, I said yes.” Over 25 years later, Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman in Memphis, TN has become a legendary angel that many fans around the world still remember to this day.

If Vince McMahon asked Jerry if he would he go into the WWE Hall Of Fame, Jerry said that would be “an easy yes.” Jerry says that he gives credit where credit is due and that “by far,” the most-smartest personal in the history of the wrestling business is Vince McMahon. Jerry is proud to consider himself a freind of Vince.

Jerry closed the interview with advice for those who are trying to break into the business, whether as a performer or a booker. “Go into the wrestling business loving it with your whole heart….You will be happy whatever you are doing. Those people who go into it for fame, glory and money, do not usually make successes.” Jerry has no regrets on his time in the business and he would not go back and change a thing. Jerrett believes everything he went through was a blessing, both negative and positive.

Jerrett’s book, “The Story Of The Development Of The NWA:TNA, A New Concept In Pay-Per-View Programming” can be purchased at www.Highspots.com or www.Amazon.com. Jerry’s official MySpace page is at www.MySpace.com/JerryWJarrett.

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