Jeff Jarrett Explains Why TNA Never Had A Developmental System

(Photo Credit: AEW)

WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, who is also All Elite Wrestling’s Director of Business Development, took to an episode of his “My World with Jeff Jarrett” podcast, where he talked about a number of topics including why TNA Wrestling never had a developmental system.

Jarrett said, “Well, the financials of starting a development can fluctuate enormously. But at this stage, independent wrestling had begun to get healthy. Obviously Ring of Honor is out there, and they have developed and brought a lot of guys in. And then you know, Japan’s promotions. Guys were getting work out there. We weren’t in a position financially to just start writing checks. It’s — the amount of money through the years at NXT, massive. But you know, there’s always a different lens to view that through. You look at — I mean, Major League Baseball is another set of circumstances that they’re going through right now… but, you know, Major League Baseball is whittling down their developmental system. They see more upside in theNIL and kids being developed in colleges. And not in AAA, AA, high single [A], low single, rookie and all that. So just kind of evolving with the times, that’s why I think in a lot of ways, me being a wrestling junkie has always kind of kept me in tune with different guys in different places, in different promotions all over the world. And I think because the cream truly — I believe this, I’ve been taught this, but I’ve seen it firsthand. The cream always rises, always rises to the top. If you’re good at this, and you’re gonna get work, and you’re gonna get buzz. No matter what level it is, you’re gonna keep going up and up and up.”

“Again, we didn’t have the ability. But we kept our ears on the pavement and tried to hear about new things. Because you know, when I heard read that quote from Jim Cornette, I could plug in Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, so many different people. Because guys that book Dutch Mantel — I mean, Dusty. I can remember me and Dusty talking about the Asylum shows when he was driving up every week. And I would pick his brain on a Wednesday afternoon when I have just — I don’t say a lull in a spot. He would sit out in the arena and hold court, and entertain guys. And then other days, he would be into what he’s doing that night and whatever. But I can remember him just say, ‘All right, who you got coming up?’ That generation, we’ve talked a lot before we got going on the territory days. The way those promoters really kept going… is the turnover, the massive turnover in talent continually. And I think there’s a real upside. And when I look at AEW, the massive talent roster, I think there is a brilliance in it. Because it can keep people super, super, super fresh, and a constant turnover. And you know, there is so much upside. And historically speaking, that’s just how our business works. I mean, to Cornette’s quote, it’s easy to say we are a TNA or to have a developmental. It’s a whole nother thing to finance that thing. But there is truth in that.”

On being selective about taking risky moves:

“I’ve got a ton of respect for guys that maybe go above and beyond, and take those kinds of risks. But again, I think at times, taking the crazy bump, high risk now — like I think, Mick Foley. I’ll just use the first one that comes to my mind. Fell off Hell in the Cell, a calculated risk. And he got carted out but came back and — you know. The carting out, he wove that into a story. So, it was a crazy bump but it was a part of the story. The thing that I’m thinking through now Conrad, as you say that, is that to take a high-risk move for the sake of taking a high-risk move? I think you’re shortchanging yourself, or maybe taking a shortcut yourself. And not really maximizing charisma, promos, storytelling, drama that you can build in the match without doing those.”

“I get it, there’s a balance out there. But at the end of the day, thank the Lord that — I’ve had this viewpoint that was ingrained in me — people remember the moments of emotional attachment. A promo, a 1-2-3. Yes, they kind of care how you get there. They do, but they don’t. But they remember the emotional attachment as opposed to the guitar solo. I just — you know, they want to remember the hook of the song or whatever it may be. There’s so many different analogies you could bring together. But man, it’s a slippery slope, Conrad, because injuries can happen, as we all know, in an instant. And then you’re on the shelf for months at a time.”

You can check out the complete podcast in the video below.

(H/T to for transcribing the above quotes)