After 35 years in pro-wrestling, Jeff Jarrett is finally ready to tell his story.
The WWE Hall of Famer and 10-time world champion is teaming up with Conrad Thompson for My World with Jeff Jarrett, a weekly podcast available from today.
“Conrad’s the guy to do it,” Jarrett told NZPWI. “He’s got a track record. I listened to Bruce [Pritchard’s] podcast, Something to Wrestle, Eric Bischoff’s 83 Weeks, and all the others.
“I like that it’s not a guest-based format. It’s truly taking an event or a series of events and diving in and telling that story, so I’m really excited about the format.”
The first episode of My World is expected to cover Jarrett’s final match in the then-WWF against Chyna.
Future episodes will cover everything from Jarrett’s relationships with others in the industry and pivotal events like the final episode of WCW Nitro to the founding of TNA Wrestling, early days in Memphis, and more.
“Conrad’s got a whole list of items … he runs that department,” Jarrett said. “The topics are his. That was part of the agreement, so I said, ‘Okay, let’s roll with it.’”
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David Dunn: I realise you’ve done a tonne of interviews lately to promote the podcast so I’m going to try and move in the direction of Australia and New Zealand.
Jeff Jarrett: Absolutely. On my PR sheet, I pressed the powers that be. I said, ‘We’ve got to cover Australia’. It’s an important part of my career in a lot of ways. A lot of people aren’t completely aware of the TNA startup story for me, going on tour and touring in those early 2000s, end of 2001, early 2002 – that’s when I looked at the business from a different perspective. So it goes without saying, I’ve always been a fan of Australia and New Zealand wrestling.
In 2003, the World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA) held a pay-per-view event here in Auckland: WWA The Reckoning. You were there in the main event, defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. What are your memories of that time and coming to New Zealand?
One thing that just jumps off the page was the opening – I call it the tribal dance, maybe, is that correct?
The haka! I could remember backstage, like, wow, that was impressive. But arriving on the plane, stepping off the plane in New Zealand, I was really excited because – it goes without saying, New Zealand is not a big country – but for me and Sting to get in the ring, and the NWA title and the lineage specifically it has in that part of the world, I was excited for that and the crowd was electric. For me to get the opportunity to perform in front of a New Zealand crowd, I knew before the match that it was going to be special because you just don’t get those opportunities very often. And on a global basis, on a pay-per-view, it was pretty unique.
Obviously this was Andrew McManus and the World Wrestling All-Stars running the show but very heavily in conjunction with TNA, so I imagine you had some degree of involvement. How did you select Australia and New Zealand as an area that it was worth expanding into?
Andrew being a music promoter, and obviously he’s from that area… to take a step back, I came down to Australia for WCW. We did a Nitro and a Thunder and toured. Wrestling had not really been in Australia in a big way in several years. In essence, there was a thirst for it, there was a hunger for it. Andrew is the one who approached me originally in whatever year that was, 2001, when he came to me and said, ‘Hey, I think we can run some shows down here,’ and we did. Then obviously went to Europe and ran the show so the timing was right, and it worked in several ways.
In 2014, you announced the launch of Global Force Wrestling (GFW), and instantly there were partnerships being formed with GFW and other organizations around the world: New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in Japan, AAA in Mexico. Later that year, you announced a series of partnerships with companies around Australia, as well as Impact Pro Wrestling (IPW) in New Zealand. How did you pick out these organizations in Australia and New Zealand? What was it about them, if you can remember, that made you think they were worthwhile forming partnerships with?
In the early days of TNA, we were early adopters of YouTube. And so as time went on, and then social media got stronger and stronger and stronger… I guess my promoter mentality – going back to the ‘80s and before my time, the way that talent got noticed from promoter to promoter was a couple of pictures and way back in the day a VCR tape or word of mouth. But as Twitter and Facebook came on the scene and videos, quick videos that that you could view, and word of mouth, and me being familiar dating back to the late ‘90s of Australia and New Zealand… there is a real hunger, and there are wrestling fans in Australia, New Zealand, that are very knowledgeable and very, I’ll say diehard. They know what’s going on, not just in the WWE, or at that time WCW, but whether it’s TNA, or Ring of Honor, and now AEW, they’re very knowledgeable of the industry.
It just goes without saying that I wanted to look into it. Our phone keeps us connected in our hip pockets but I had contacts all throughout Australia. I dug into it and had multiple conversations with different promotions and knew that I wanted to form an alliance. It’s no secret, I’ve always believed in inter-promotional, whether it’s a talent exchange, or co-shows or co-promotion, whatever it may be. I was very engaged and super excited about the relationships that we developed.
Jeff, I’m conscious of your time so this will be my last question. It’s a bit left-field but it’s something I’ve seen mentioned online in the past but have never been able to find confirmation. Are your daughters featured in the music video for Mine by Taylor Swift? Is this true?
That’s actually true.
Amazing! How do you know Taylor Swift?
Taylor is originally born in Pennsylvania, but as a little girl, her family – I know the family – her family moved here to Hendersonville. I’m sitting in Hendersonville now, so their house was maybe a mile from us. And I guess you could say a family relationship developed. There’s unique stories, she brought Joe Jonas to the house at one point. But she had that video … one of my daughters, Jaclyn, looked like a little Taylor. Taylor’s the one who came over and said, ‘Hey I want her in a video’. And then we flew up to Maine and did it and the other kids were in different scenes, so all the kids were in the Mine video, yes. Taylor’s done quite well for herself, I would say [laughs] so it’s a true story, David. It’s a true story.