As noted, GFW announced today that Jeff Jarrett is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the company to focus on personal matters. It was noted in the announcement that Jarrett will be available to the company on a consultative basis as needed.
We also noted how the decision on Jarrett taking time off was made just a few hours before GFW posted the announcement on their website, and how Jarrett posted an optimistic early morning tweet that indicated he knew nothing of the leave that was to be announced. PWInsider reports that Anthem’s Ed Nordholm made the decision today and that he personally met with Jarrett in Nashville, Tennessee this afternoon. Jarrett was set to host a NFL Fantasy Draft with members of the GFW staff this evening but that was nixed and the staffers are hosting the draft at the GFW offices instead.
Regarding what led to the leave, the feeling is that unhappiness with Jarrett involving his “erratic behavior” was a driving factor in Nordholm’s decision. It appears they were not unhappy with the company’s creative direction with Jarrett as Chief Creative Officer. The situation had been building for months and the final tipping point was AAA’s TripleMania event in Mexico in late August. Jarrett, who recently put on weight, was not in the best of shape for that event and apparently stumbled down the ring steps right before wrestling in a battle royal for just a few minutes. He also took a while getting to the ring. Jarrett represented GFW in the match, along with Moose and Bobby Lashley, and was reportedly heckling fans and throwing tortillas into the crowd, which actually somewhat fit his gimmick in Mexico but still had people talking.
Jarrett’s condition at TripleMania led to a lot of people wondering if he needed time off. Nordholm witnessed the behavior as he was in attendance for the show. There was also an incident at a GFW TV taping several months back where Jarrett was yelling at Bob Ryder and that incident is said to be the beginning of the problems that led to Nordholm’s decision. One source noted to PWInsider that the situation is “far uglier” than anyone realizes.
Another source noted to PWInsider that Jarrett was “not blameless” but that there was also “blame to be thrown in all directions” of the company. The same source claimed that a lot of things Jarrett had been publicly criticized for were just him towing the company line and following “marching orders” out of loyalty to Anthem after they brought him back into the company, including when he defended Anthem in the beef with The Hardys. There’s been a feeling among some that Jarrett had been trying hard to step in between Nordholm and the wrestling side of the company due to the belief among many that Nordholm didn’t “get” the business. One source pointed to how the company put effort into bringing Alberto El Patron in as a surprise for his debut, only for Nordholm to tweet a photo of Patron before he came out, spoiling the surprise. The source admitted that Jarrett needed a break but noted that Jarrett had been “bending over backward” to try and balance things between Anthem and GFW, adding that Jarrett “desperately wanted his company back and wanted to prove to everyone he was right all along with his vision.”
We noted before that the company was working to determine who would tend to Jarrett’s duties while he’s gone. PWInsider adds that no decision has been made regarding creative changes and the writing team, which Jarrett put together, still includes Scott D’Amore and Dutch Mantel. Jim Cornette is also still with the company as of this evening. There was speculation that “Big” John Gaburick, who still works with the company as a consultant, was retained as a back-up plan in case the Jarrett regime did not work out.
On a related note, a source reported to PWInsider that the GFW – Anthem merger was “nowhere near as completed” as they have touted publicly. Trademarks for Global Force Wrestling and GFW are still under the ownership of the Global Force Wrestling LLC that Jarrett launched in 2014. It’s possible that the GFW letters will disappear from Impact Wrestling if Jarrett doesn’t return to the company for some reason.
It was also reported that Alberto El Patron’s status with the company is up in the air as Nordholm was willing to let him go after the Orlando airport incident with Paige in July. Jarrett was hands-on in calming the situation and now that Jarrett is gone, and Patron reportedly has less than a year left on his deal, the planned return at the next set of tapings may be off. We noted before that Jarrett vs. Patron had been discussed for the Bound For Glory pay-per-view in November but that match is probably not happening now.
Shane Helms, who had recent issues with Jarrett, took to Twitter and wrote the following reaction to the news:
K-A-Double R-M-Double A
— Hurricane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) September 5, 2017