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Jerry Jarrett Says TNA Focusing On Ex-WWE Talents Is A Mistake, Talks Dixie Carter

Inside The Ropes have launched a VIP service this week and one of their new shows is Lets Get Creative where they talk to wrestling bookers and writers. In the debut show, they spoke to Memphis promoter and TNA Founder, Jerry Jarrett. Here’s a portion of what Jerry had to say about TNA:

On Dixie’s non-wrestling background and how that effects her running a wrestling company: “You’ve got to have an unabiding respect for the business or it’s impossible to be successful. When I was in the wrestling business, me and the wrestling business were intertwined. I ate it, slept it, dreamt it. The wrestling business was my mistress. Dixie saw her first match after she had ownership, I think and I know for a fact she has little regard for the tradition or the history of the business. So, if you don’t know what brought you to the dance, how are you supposed to learn from it and build on it. After all this years, it’s pretty obvious that I’m right. TNA today is as closed to being a non factor in the business as you can get.”

Thoughts on TNA’s focus on ex-WWE talents: “That’s one of the mistakes they made. They can’t seem to get past the fact that when you bring in guys that WWE has let go, fans are going to see them as yesterday’s soup. But of course you have to have someone who knows how to cultivate and create talent otherwise you have no choice but to use whoever’s available, thats named talent. It’s pretty obvious that they don’t have anybody that knows how to create talent. I’m guessing, because I haven’t seen the show in 2-3 years, but I’m sure there’s talent there that could be superstars. Truth, Ron Killings was in TNA and then you saw when he went to WWE how Vince made him into a superstar. In the wrestling business, it’s really not any secret, it’s understanding that if you’re making a movie. what are the ingredients you need? A compelling storyline, a great producer/director and great talent. You mix those ingredients and you get great cinema. But if you take this great star or talent and put him in a stinking movie with a stinking producer director, what do you get? and the wrestling business is a dance between the promoter or booker or writer and the talent. They have to be on the same page and they both have to be good.”

TNA’s future: “I am amazed, because when I was there, Bob Carter called me at least two to three times a week and said “I can’t lose any more money, Jerry” and I said, “You’re needing to talk to your daughter, not to me. She’s running the place.” So I’m amazed that they are in business. I think at this point, it’safe to say that TNA will continue to be subsidized by Bob Carter until he dies. Then I think TNA will go the way of ECW and the territory days.”

To hear the full two hour plus interview where Jerry talks through his entire booking career from Memphis to WWE to TNA, along with over 100 hours of content in archive shows and interviews, click here.

  • You’re ignoring the fact that what’s he saying is, TNA is failing because they consistently fail to make and push their own stars. Ron Killings was a relative nobody with a very short run in WWF before going to TNA. He was there for years, and while they pushed him early on, they failed to keep him at that top star level for long. The only “homegrown” guy they’ve stuck with all these years, off and on at least, is AJ Styles. They’ve failed with Samoa Joe, who was a monster for all of five minutes before being relegated to the mid-card. They failed with Christopher Daniels, who is an amazing wrestler that they’ve not once ever bothered even trying to push into the main event spotlight. They recently have failed with guys like Austin Aries and Chris Sabin, both of whom they temporarily pushed into the World Title picture, only to have them lose it shortly after and fall back in to the midcard. That is all failure on their part to make and maintain their OWN stars.

    If you look at it, since they broke with the NWA and created their own belt, look just who has held it. Kurt Angle 5 times. Sting 4 times. Jeff Hardy 3 times. Mr. Anderson 2 times. Now Bully Ray 2 times. Samoa Joe had it once. Bobby Roode once. James Storm once. Aries and Sabin once, recently. And to a man, all of those guys had pretty short reigns, for the most part, the equivalent of “transitional champions”. Not young guys that the company is putting everything on their back to carry it to higher places. Nope, just to work a program with an old, established star, so that that star can eventually win the belt back. And honestly, what has having Kurt Angle, and Jeff Hardy, and Sting, etc. there and being champion so often really done for TNA? For their ratings, for their buyrates, their merch sales, etc.? How much has it really helped them?

    You need to have a certain amount of established “name” stars, especially in the beginning, to help draw a crowd. But the thing is, what made TNA special for a very short while, and the reason people, myself included, watched, was because of the X Division, which used to be the focus of the promotion. That was what “set them apart”. And it was good. But then they brought in Russo, and they brought in Nash and Hall, and Steiner and Booker T, and Sting, and Mick Foley, and then Hogan and Bischoff, RVD, etc. They kept bringing in all of these old ECW/WCW/WWE stars, hoping over and over that that would make people watch. But it didn’t. Even back in 2005, they did give the NWA belt to a couple of guys that really deserved it, that they really should have ran with, in Raven and then Rhyno, but Raven’s run was rather inconsequential, and Rhyno’s only lasted 2 days because Kevin Nash was originally supposed to win the belt.

    I mean that’s basically TNA in a nutshell, a company that could/should be great, but isn’t, because the person calling the shots doesn’t really know or understand wrestling.

  • Nicholas Giambattista

    The bad thing about TNA is nobody really cares about it anymore. Nobody is talking about it and that means nobody is watching it. The only people that really watch is old bitter ECW and some WCW fans. I know I don’t care it will never be what WCW was WWE best rivial.

  • millerj265

    I think he was saying more along the lines of long term established wwe guys. His son was in and out 2 or 3 times and nvr had a run that lasted longer then 3yrs I don’t think. And truth was only there a few months and he wasn’t given a chance once they let the road dog go. Plus somebody had to start TNA and the fact that double J did have a run in both wwe and wcw probably helped TNA more then it hurt it in the early stages of its development.

  • millerj265

    TNA is already pg13 and that’s not helping them out any, plus bringing back the six sided ring wont help, it didn’t do much to attract ppl after there initial surprise in seeing it, and the ratings weren’t really effected much either way when it was done away with. Plus almost all the wrestlers have said they really didn’t enjoy the ring that much and it was a lot harder to work in then a normal 4 sided ring. Not focusing on older more expensive stars is really what they need to work on the most. Having more then two is just a waste of money and potential roster spots and tv time for younger up and coming guys who will still be around 5yrs from now. They only need about 2 and those 2 need to still be able to go and have a terry funk mentality of wanting to get the nxt generation of talents over and ready to carry the ball. Angel and hardy could have been guys like that as they can still go and they have the star power to help make they guys they wrestle seem like legit stars. It may be too late for angel as I think he needs to hang it up and focus on getting clean and living a longer healthier life. Hardy on the other hand is still young enough and good enough to fill out that role, as long as he stays clean and motivated.

  • Abomb321

    See I think Ron killings with the right push would be a major star in the wwe, future world champ why not. I mean Rey mysterio won the world heavy weight championship I think different is what wwe needs. As far as tna he is right. Take the focus off of old talent bring in new blood, get rid of the four sided ring, and have more wrestling better but shorter story lines each week they could easily gain true wrestling fans and be a challenge for wwe. Let wwe stay pg give tna a pg13 edgy story and wrestling lines everybody would want tna over wwe. In my own opinion of course.

  • Rob ‘Richard Hammond’ Picken

    Truth could’ve easily been (and still be) WWE champ, WWEs problem is they’re 12 years too late. They should’ve been pushing him and doing this back in 2001, even now they could still do it, I mean Raws main eventers are paper thin right now and Orton is quite frankly boring. And with Cena on the shelf it gives a chance for some of the other guys to step up and we KNOW Truth can be an exceptional heel and top guy when need be

  • CC

    Ok, I am not usually one to defend TNA, and I do agree that the constant use of ex-WWE talent has hurt TNA more often than not, but I think he has forgotten something. His son was ex-WWE. The first TNA/NWA talent was ex-WWE. Is he saying they were “old soup”?
    He also mentions Ron Killings as if Ron was a TNA talent that went to WWE, totally forgetting that he was in WWE long before he was in TNA.

  • poko

    The idea that any promotion should stay away from talented performers simply because they started out somewhere else is ridiculous. It would be like a baseball team not signing free agents. Moreover, it goes completely counter to the territory days, where one of the best aspects was that talent moved around and thus storylines and feuds were able to stay fresh. I absolutely loved seeing guys come in hot from other regions. I’d like to see more movement between TNA and the WWE, to be honest. TNA’s only big mistakes were bringing in guys who were washed up, otherwise most of the signings have been solid.

  • Chris E.

    Whoa, I was thinking it was Jeff’ interview and not his dad. “I haven’t seen the show in 2-3 years” pretty much invalidates his opinion. Hardy was great for TNA, but his personal problems get in the way, same with Angle. Christian was more relevant in TNA than he had been in WWE in years. Bubba Ray is the show(business), right now. The used up guys like Val Venis, The Nasty Boys, Hall, Nash, X-Pac were all bad moves.
    When WWE takes an guy and makes him a star, he first saddles them with a crap gimmick (Santino’ snake, R-Truth’ “Little Jimmy”, Rhodes mask, Cena’ rapping), and if it gets over they can slide them into main event status. At TNA, this should have happened to Shark Boy (w/ Stone Cold references), Eric Young (guy has been way over a couple of times), and there is someone else I am forgetting but they cant parlay that into success.

  • Kristopher Robinson

    Great points. Except the thing about R truth, I don’t see him as a superstar IMO, he was just more of a flash in the pan that tried to stay lit.