The Founder of TNA, Jeff Jarrett, spoke on the latest episode of the My World Podcast about the creation of the X-Division and one of the stars of it being Jay Lethal.
From watching TNA early on and seeing a wrestler the caliber of Lethal in his mid 20s, it was projected he would someday be working in WWE. Unfortunately, that’s never happened, and even at age 36, Lethal is currently with Ring of Honor where he has spent the last 10 years of his career. Jarrett spoke about the X-Division and how Lethal impacted it, and stated how he was surprised WWE never signed him.
“The X-Division wasn’t a lesser than or a weight class. The whole phraseology was, ‘It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits,’ Jarrett said. “Jay being a fantastic X-Division wrestler, he also had an incredible amount of charisma. Backstage, going on international tours, hanging out, catering, after hours. Jay was a very entertaining human being and just one of those things that how can we change it up here? Jay’s verbal skills to this day, I’m not really sure why [WWE didn’t sign him]. When you look at that segment between him and Flair.
“Jay can hold his own verbally with anybody, and I thought through the years, here we are talking about it 15 years later, Jay’s charisma on the mic, when you really let him go, is incredible. We wanted to feature him and spotlight him, and we did.”
With the creation of AEW, Jarrett spoke about the comparisons between All Elite Wrestling and his former company TNA on a previous podcast. The Founder of TNA also revealed how he had conversations with The Ultimate Warrior to come into TNA during the companies infancy.
Jarrett continued to talk about Lethal and how he never ended up in WWE, stating how many times he would sit back and wonder if TNA was going to lose him. The WWE Hall of Famer mentioned how well Lethal would’ve fit in WWE given his abilities and skills to do almost anything.
“From about 2006 to about 2010 or 11, every time Jay’s contract would come up, I would often think [he’s going to WWE],” Jarrett mentioned. “Because, to me, he’s got all of the tools. He’s an in-ring, he can go, he can be a heel, he can be a baby face. He knows how to turn it on, he can be a tag guy, he can be an X-Division guy. He is very well rounded, and then his mic skills. I often thought Vince McMahon and WWE, if they latch onto him because he can do ‘Black Machismo’, he can do a Flair impersonation.
“I’m not really talking about just impersonations, I’m talking about the innate charisma and the verbal skills that Jay had. I thought for a long time he would leave us and go on to the WWE. Then here we are all these years later, he obviously has a real comfort level with Ring of Honor. I’ve been around him a long time and he’s worked with me and for me, he obviously has a real comfort level where he’s at. But I can’t say enough good things about him. I have no idea why he didn’t go on [to WWE].”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit My World with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.