Jerry Jarrett is a legendary figure in the professional wrestling business, and when WCW folded, he along with his son started NWA: TNA, which later became Impact Wrestling. Jerry recently talked to The Hannibal TV about what transpired between Jeff and Vince McMahon, and Vince Russo’s influence on Jeff.
“Jeff didn’t think that he was going to be treated fairly by Vince,” Jerry revealed. “When he left, the pipeline of pay-per-view money was really long. So Vince owed Jeff 3 or 4 pay-per-views? bunch of money. And Jeff feared that he wouldn’t get paid. And so he was booked against Chyna, and he was supposed to put the title on her. And he said, ‘Vince, I want to get paid for the pay-per-views and the shot you owe me, or I’m not going on’. And in the wrestling business, there’s not much you can do that is worse than that to a promoter.
“But it happened, and I blame Russo? I mean, you can’t blame somebody else because Jeff did it. But Russo was a horrible influence, and so to tell you how much it affected Vince, the night WWE and Vince took over from WCW, he publicly fired Jeff in the ring. So now WCW was gone, and Jeff was used to making huge money. Made big money in WCW, made big money in WWE.”
Jerry then explained that Jeff wanted to start a new promotion, and spoke about the people Jeff brought to the company.
“He told me how much money he needed, and so I agreed. I understand why Jeff did it, because that was his experience, and he couldn’t hire people from WWE. But the losers at WCW were all out of work. So he was able to hire all of them, and he just filled up TNA with all these people that I just thought? and I would talk to him and say, ‘Why would you hire somebody, a collection of people that had failed in their promotional effort?’ I guess it’s because it’s all he knew, or thought that’s all he could get.”
Jerry also revealed that one of the people in charge of syndication lied to them, leaving them nearly broke, and the Jarretts had to look for new investors.
“We were once again without a funding source, and that’s when Dixie Carter and Panda Energy became our partner, and on the day they came in, I came home to my wife and said, ‘It’s just a matter of when and not if it’s going to go under’.
“I deferred to Jeff on just about everything with TNA. I didn’t want Jeff to be the son like in the Smokey and the Bandit. So I deferred to him and when you look back, maybe I should have interjected myself more, I don’t know. It’s a very painful memory to me. During the course of it, I had a massive heart-attack, a triple-bypass surgery, and so I can tell everybody looking at this, stress will kill you. And that was the most stressed I’ve ever been in my life. That’s saying a lot when you spend your whole life in the wrestling business. Dixie and I, we didn’t get along from day one to the extent that when she moved downtown, I stayed out there and had my construction office in the building for my construction company, and I never took an office downtown.”
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit The Hannibal TV with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.