On the latest episode of My World with Jeff Jarrett, the founder of TNA Wrestling spoke about creating the company with his father, Jerry Jarrett, and the plans they had with signing certain talent off the heels of WCW being bought by WWE. The original idea for TNA was sparked during a summer where Jarrett was on the shelf at home after being “fired” on RAW by Vince McMahon live on television after the purchase of WCW.
Speaking about the birth of the idea of TNA on a previous podcast, Jarrett said the company had several names from WWF at the time in mind for the company, including Chyna and Sid Vicious. Jarrett also mentioned how interested he and his father were in The Ultimate Warrior being a part of TNA, noting that his father had a great relationship with the former WWF Champion.
“I had a couple conversations with [Ultimate Warrior], but very top level,” Jarrett said. “To put it back in context, I had never done business with him, our paths really never crossed in WWF. Me and [Warrior’s] paths never really crossed other than I met him on Thanksgiving day in 1985 and I met him with Sting. Our paths had never crossed, he was more a business colleague, he was a friend of my dad’s. I reached out, had some conversations but my dad was doing all the business negotiations. He was asking me some questions, very high level.
“He has tremendous name value and going into June of 2002, we were only looking at 26 shows. ‘Hey man , come give us a try,’ I gave that pitch to a lot of folks through the first year, whether it was [Mr. Perfect], Rick Steiner or Hacksaw or the Road Warriors. We’re not asking you to sign an exclusive deal, we’re not asking you to do anything. We’re starting up a company, do you want to come work a few shows?”
Although Warrior never appeared for TNA Wrestling, Jarrett said his father was the main person driving that conversation and it was due to his lack of knowledge of the business at the time. Jarrett said every talent they talked too, including Warrior, was very hot and cold about joining TNA and it was on them to convince the talent to give their new company a shot.
“During this startup phase, from the time WCW closed to this timeframe, I was sharing many more conversations with my father about the business than I had the years I went to WCW and WWF back and forth,” Jarrett said. “I can vividly remember thinking to myself talent of 2002 has quite a bit of a different mindset than when [my father] was actively involved in an ownership role, it wasn’t the same mentality.
“Dealing with talent post WCW and nothing else on the horizon, the underbelly is, am I jumping on this train or not? Who’s doing what, how’s it taking us? There wasn’t really any place to make a living, my dad dealing with the hot-cold switch of any talent, let alone Ultimate Warrior, I became very aware of that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit My World with Jeff Jarrett with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.