2018 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Jarrett was recently a guest on Heated Conversations. As the co-founder of TNA (now known as Impact Wrestling), he spoke to host Booker T about the idea of TNA competing with WWE.
WWE has long been the top wrestling promotion in the world, but in the mid-2000's TNA established itself as the clear number-two company and provided a quality alternative from the WWE. Led by Jarret and the likes of Sting, AJ Styles and Kurt Angle, TNA's popularity began increasing. Jarrett said there was a time he believed the main event scene in TNA was strong enough to compete with WWE.
"It is well documented; I was super excited about the progress that we went with. We were on Spike TV on Saturday nights; one hour on late night. Then we went to Thursday night late night, then we got one hour on prime time. Rather quick time, it doubled. We went to two hours on prime time. I can tell you without question they were the most profitable years of the organization," Jarrett said. "I can remember being in the merchandise warehouse, we were getting ready for something, but there was a picture of the Main Event Mafia. When you looked at the original guys that were in it, it was Sting, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash, and when you look at that picture, they were all five guys that were not only world champions, but could carry their weight individually, and when you put them together, it was ratings, it was legitimacy, it was great storytelling.
"So there was a time," he continued, "around 2006, 2007, around that time, the two hours on Thursday nights, the ratings, the momentum, along with a young AJ Styles. You had the Main Event Mafia on one side, on the other side you had myself, Mick Foley, arguing with each other, and you had AJ Styles on the other side of the fence, it was a natural, give and take, push and pull, and over that period of time, it did nothing but elevate AJ Styles. You think about that. It was good TV, and it goes down in history as being the heyday of TNA Wrestling."
Currently, alums of TNA are enjoying success in WWE. Styles is in his second reign as WWE Champion. Bobby Roode is the current U.S. Champion. Samoa Joe is a former two-time NXT Champion and has been a mainstay in the main event scene on RAW since being called up to the main roster. Jarrett said he is proud of all of the former TNA superstars but he raved particularly about Styles, who he believes was always talented enough to be WWE Champion.
"AJ Styles is the champion, at this time he is headed to WrestleMania as the world champion at this time, around the same time I am going into the Hall of Fame. Samoa Joe, what amazing run he had in TNA, and Bobby Roode, since the TNA Asylum days," Jarrett said. "But AJ Styles has been here since day one; the very first show he was crowned champion. He was a highlight from day one with the organization. He always had a wow factor. Long before his personality developed, his athletic ability was above the rest. He really was and is phenomenal in the ring."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Heated Conversations with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Heated Conversations
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.