Former TNA World Heavyweight and owner of Global Force Wrestling, Jeff Jarrett recently took some time to participate in an interview. Jarrett revealed the changes of the wrestling industry, new opportunities with Global Force Wrestling, his time with the TNA promotion and his experiences competing in both Puerto Rico and Japan. Check out the complete interview below.
As a third-generation entertainer entrenched in the business, was training under your dad both beneficial & detrimental? And how did it differ from your training under the late Buddy Landel?
Jeff Jarrett: “Let me stop you, I wasn’t trained by Buddy. He never trained me. That’s a rumor that got put out there. He and Bill Dundee beat me up for the very first time. That was sort of my induction so he would like to take credit for training me. (chuckles) He would like to say that he put me through what they say is the school of hard knocks.
I have often thought and I’ve been told this by numerous people that I respect in the business that have been around a long time. When you’re the son of a promoter and the son of a wrestler, it’s the best thing that could ever happen to them and it’s also the worst thing that could ever happen to them all at the same time. You have to take the good with the bad because being the son of a wrestler and a promoter and being the grandson of a promoter on his stepmother’s side, it’s a wrestling family.
As I work through the difficult times as a rookie in the business and I’ve been in all my active years. I look back at all my life experiences and realize how valuable those early days were riding in the backseat of a car going to all those different towns and put down all those wonderful cards or running the concession stands and setting up the ring.
Just all the instances that are life opportunities that I got in the wrestling business.
Jeff Jarrett: Then it just paid off because it opened so many doors for me and I got to wrestle at such a young age in Puerto Rico and in Texas and Japan. It really began to make me a more well-rounded as not just a wrestler where I sort of got my first taste at a young age, loving the production side of it and the promotion side of it. Just all the different components and departments so the short answer is I think is it was a huge benefit.
There is a lot of second and now especially third-generation wrestler’s guys out there. The hottest box office attraction out there in Hollywood, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a third-generation, professional wrestler and his ability to connect with the audience is you have to assume, I certainly do that at a very young age he saw his grandfather, a beloved individual. He saw his father travel around the country and become a champion in every place he went. So that was in Rock’s blood at a very young age and he obviously worked his butt off and continues to work his butt off but parlayed that into a much bigger position other than a professional wrestler and, box office attraction. Now he is a worldwide brand.”
Describe your time traveling the independent scene in Japan & Puerto Rico after leaving your dad’s promotion.
The initial inception of the Double J character in the WWE in the early ’90s was a flamboyant persona not often seen today. What was the inspiration for the character & could it work today?
Jeff Jarrett: “The inspiration was very simple. My God give name is J-e double f J-a, double r-e-double f. I am from Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve got a strong passion for country music, I love it. I probably think I’m a better singer than I really am. I had jumped from the boy at home and in those days they called them babyfaces in this area and then I stood on the grandest stage in 1993 in WWF and just that persona took on a whole new life. During that era especially, when you entered into the WWF things were amplified larger than life much more than they are so today. The world has changed and times have changed and no, you can’t introduce a character in 1993 even though that character was truly an extension of my personality.
And no, you can’t introduce that in 2015 as you did in 1993, not even close. Obviously, that is who I am, Mark Calloway is an extension of his personality that has been as successful as The Undertaker, Stone Cold and same with others. It’s all planned extension of your personality and not playing somebody that you are not. That for me is a recipe for success and not playing somebody you are not. An extension and taking a part of your psyche and really diving into it and letting the fan base attach to it.”
When you returned to the WWE, Jeff Jarrett had an edge about him. How did you feel it reflected the attitude era at the time?
Describe the ‘Chosen One’ character and the revamped nWo faction. Would Jeff Jarrett have done anything differently now looking back?
As part of the nWo & now aligned with the Bullet Club in NJPW, this lends itself for some interesting in-ring competition. What similarities or differences can you see in both factions?
Jeff Jarrett: “Those guys, the Young Bucks, Doc, and Karl have already been part of our Grand Slam Tour shows the first seven that we’ve had. The in-ring ability of the Bullet Club versus the in-ring ability of the nWo and I think those guys (nWo) would be the first to tell you is that without question would say the Bullet Club is off the charts bell to bell more talented. They organically came out from Fergal DeVitt and Karl Anderson and those guys came up through the hard way in the New Japan dojo. They worked their butts off, match after match, tour after tour.
The timing was right also as it all exploded all at once. It is a completely different set of circumstances then the nWo when it was real life set of circumstances when Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, arguably two of the biggest four or five guys in the WWF at the time defected and went south and were taking over. That was as real as it gets. But when you talk about competitive and Global Force Wrestling, we are going to bring that type of competition to the forefront.
Jeff Jarrett: Scott and Kevin walked in and were making much more money than the established WCW stars. This is a business so they stepped in and they took over from day one. Then as Hogan became a part of that mix then who had already gotten multiple fat paychecks and deservedly so as he moved through his time. That group, all three of them were much better known as the faces of WWF. Now here they are in the Turner group taking over.
This was some real-life emotion here coming out and I still believe this was the big success of it.
Having AJ (Styles) now as a face of that group is great. Timing is everything and when you get back to the original nWo angle and you can go back with Stone Cold Steve Austin 3:16 was born and then fast forward up to the Bullet Club and how the turn happened organically blossomed from one thing into the next as circumstances would take place, AJ would leave his comfort zone goes over to Japan, shocks the world and he’s pardon the pun a Phenomenal athlete, a phenomenal professional wrestler. He just stair stepped it up and took the Bullet Club, collectively to another level.
Jeff Jarrett: A couple of months after that timing is everything and Global Force was inking a deal to promote Wrestle Kingdom 9 and they brought me into the Bullet Club with the suit and I whack Tanahashi. The true story and Tanahashi has told people that his own daughter was in tears just because of it. I am not saying that to say something about myself but collectively the group already has that aura around them. Then you have Bad Boy Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale and then Cody Hall, Scott Hall’s son. They just keep stair stepping it up, where it is without question the hottest faction in professional wrestling, bar none.”
TNA has seen peaks and valleys in the promotion’s existence. How did Jeff Jarrett envision the promotion initially, and to what do you attribute to its longevity?
Describe the Ring Ka King experience & working with Sonjay Dutt at the time.
Jeff Jarrett: “It was very rewarding. Endemol from India partnered up with us to be one of my favorite experiences in my entire career in India and be in that setting and with an off the charts group of unbelievable talent. No, not everyone got along but at times that’s what makes up a great locker room where there are egos and striving and competing to be the very best as there were experiences that were very unique.
Ring Ka King to this day was a result of the Colors Network. It was incredibly successful in ratings and I would love to go back over there and do another season. But the Indian television market is a unique one and that network quite frankly is like an NBC. It is a major broadcast network and professional wrestling doesn’t have a long term play over there but professional wrestling in India is wildly loved and has a real place in that country.”
I’ve recently had the fortune to speak to Nick Aldis & Chris Mordetzky (Chris Masters). Both give you a great deal of credit for your ability to find talent and assemble tremendous teams to further create opportunities. To what does Jeff Jarrett attribute this ability, awareness, and sense?
One of the things I absolutely loved about this business is going out there.
During your time in TNA, your on-screen character has seen a number of changes. To which feuds could Jeff Jarrett attribute further character development?
The appearance and capture of the King of the Mountain title on TNA’S SLAMMIVERSARY pay-per-view stunned the wrestling world. What was the inspiration to create this appearance & match?
The birth and emergence of GFW has provided a new outlet for several former TNA, WWE and WCW talent. How did the idea come about? Is the Jeff Jarrett vision reminiscent of that of TNA’s initially? And how will the recent television deal allow for viewers all over the continent, and not just the U.S, see them?
Jeff Jarrett: “The vision is fundamentally, very different. It’s also because of the timing of things. I named the company April 7th, 2014 and went directly and worked to form alliances with major promotions in Japan, Mexico and independent promotions in South Africa, Europe, and Australia and really dialed in and the NEX GEN title was about giving guys opportunity which quite frankly is too many to name.