The reach of pro wrestling has always been amazing. Even without television, wrestling matches were contested all over the world. Pro wrestling’s first World championship came as a result of the European Greco-Roman heavyweight champion defeating American champion Tom Jenkins. I (@Velvet 478) grew up in New Jersey, so my wrestling diet consisted of a healthy dose of the World Wrestling Federation. Shows would populate the weekend on Fox 5 and WWOR-TV (Channel 9). Cable television came into play and that allowed me to watch wrestling from other places. One of my favorites to watch was World Class Championship Wrestling. The legendary Texas-based fed was easily dominated by The Von Erichs. But somewhere in the mid-card, there were matches being contested by a chubby bearded guy named Eric Embry and a young blonde kid.
That kid was Jeff Jarrett. He and Embry went back-and-forth for the WCCW Light-Heavyweight championship. And even then, I didn’t know that Jarrett would have such a long career in wrestling. I have followed his career since then and seen almost every change he has gone through. Memorable Jarrett moment for me include the time he got carried out of an arena on the shoulders of his fellow wrestlers after having his arm broken by Robert Fuller’s baseball bat, his awesome performance in a losing effort against Shawn Michaels for his Intercontinental title, setting a record for I-C title wins (which has since been broken by Chris Jericho), and his controversial time in World Championship Wrestling. It might be a bitter pill for WWE to swallow, but Jarrett was wrestling’s original third-generation superstar.On paper, his accomplishments are amazing. Of his 77 championship runs, 10 of those are universally-recognized World championship wins. But just like everything else in the latter part of Jarrett’s career, those things have come under major scrutiny. Some say Jarrett becoming WCW champion was the beginning of the end for the company. One of Jarrett’s reigns was ended by actor David Arquette. His six NWA World title runs occurred as co-owner of the company. Most saw it as a cheap way to make himself a World champion.
I met Jeff last year at a Masters Of Ring Entertainment show I was on. He'scool as hell and is a damn hard worker. Polite, but straightforward. Wish I got a chance to pick his brain but the guy never stops moving. I had to scratch my head in wondering why the guy never gets any credit for his achievements.
This sport can be really fickle and funny at times. People in wrestling cosign what benefits them and condemns what doesn’t. Ever since he became WCW champion, all of Jarrett’s moves have been dissected and his accomplishments minimized by just about everyone. He’s won championships on just about every continent where wrestling is regularly held. And sadly, almost no one cares or gives him props. It’s crazy and borderline hilarious how easily someone whose career has been placed under the microscope for the sake of scrutiny is now been viewed by everyone with a set of eyes in a brand-new light. That happened at the end of last week.
Anthem Sports and Entertainment announced that it had purchased controlling interest in TNA Wrestling. It was also announced that Dixie Carter would step down from her position as Chairwoman of the fed to accept a new position within ASE. For long time fans of wrestling, that was awesome news. Even bigger news came when it was announced that Jarrett would return to the fold as a consultant within the company. So many eyes lit up. So many hopes were given new life and new energy. In the eyes of wrestling fans, Jeff Jarrett has suddenly become the answer for all things great to be accomplished in TNA…..
…but for how long? Remember, this a fickle business. Here a couple of scenarios that could take place.
OPTION A: Jeff Jarrett infuses the formula that helped TNA make its initial IMPACT (pun intended) on the World of pro wrestling. This formula put a plethora of regional and national stars on a much bigger stage than they’d ever been on before. In turn, this influx of talent brought to light shortcomings in the WWE product at the time: tag team and cruiserweight action. The X-Division championship has about as much value as the Money In The Bank briefcase nowadays and almost no one pays attention to the tag team scene anymore. Maybe Jarrett’s years of experience could breathe life into these divisions.
OPTION B: Jarrett could use his experience of doing international business in recent years to halt the latest wave in WWE’s global expansion. Despite flaws in the product, something TNA could always boast about in recent years was its international relationships. All but maybe one or two of those working relationships are dead. If WWE’s upcoming UK-title tournament is a success, don’t look for them to stop there. Jarrett has also not abandoned his own Global Force Wrestling imprint. He could do three things at once with this venture: slow down WWE’s global progression, re-establish foreign relationships for TNA, and lay the groundwork for GFW to continue doing more global business.
OPTION C: Jarrett could do all of the above and live up to the expectations of his detractors by making himself the focal point of TNA again. Whether it is in a position that features him prominently on TNA programming or another six World title reigns, Jarrett could become TNA’s version of “the face that runs the place” again. However, that may not be a bad thing. Some would say Hulk Hogan did the same thing in WCW. But as big a shadow as Jarrett can cast, Hogan’s is enormous and selfish in nature. That is what would set Jarrett apart. What wrestler isn’t a shameless self-promoter (GUILTY AM I!)? The difference is Jarrett recognizes the TNA is one product and he is another. As result, there is much better chance of prosperity under Jarrett’s watch for ALL involved.
I (@Velvet478) can’t wait to see how all of this plays out. I also can’t wait to see how the vision of all those watching will change in the coming year. Despite criticism, Jarrett hasn't let anyone or anything stop him from achieving anything in this sport. I'm hoping the trend continues with this new venture. One man with years of experience brings infinite possibilities for the future of TNA. I’ll be watching.. …but it won’t be through a microscope.