Jerry Jarrett, Father of WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, Dies at Age 80February 14, 2023
Legendary wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett died at the age of 80, WWE announced Tuesday.
Jarrett's impact on the wrestling industry was immense and continues to be felt today in direct and indirect ways. He transformed the business to help shape the product fans are watching now, and his son, Jeff, is a WWE Hall of Famer who has wrestled for numerous promotions and is currently signed with All Elite Wrestling.
A number of figures from the wrestling world reflected on his contributions:
Sean Waltman @ TheRealXPac
I loved Jerry Jarrett. He believed in me. He's responsible for Marty & I becoming Tag Champs. I was also one of the 1st people he called to help start TNA. I'm very grateful to Jerry & I'm really sad to know I'll never see him again. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIP</a> <a href="https://t.co/5XSS9EGXq9">pic.twitter.com/5XSS9EGXq9</a>
Christopher Daniels @ facdaniels
Rest in Peace Jerry Jarrett. I had such good experiences working with him in early TNA. He told my parents that the AMW-XXX cage match at Turning Point 2004 was one of the best he'd ever seen, which was a compliment that I cherish to this day. My best wishes to Jeff & his family. <a href="https://t.co/p6mbdnviq4">pic.twitter.com/p6mbdnviq4</a>
Dark Side of the Ring @ DarkSideOfRing
RIP Jerry Jarrett 🕯️<br><br>One of the greatest minds in wrestling. His impact on the business is undeniable, and his influence will continue to be felt as long as there are still fans willing to pay to see personal issues settled in the ring.<br><br>Our deepest condolences to the family. <a href="https://t.co/Au2gcRwirY">pic.twitter.com/Au2gcRwirY</a>
Frankie Kazarian @ FrankieKazarian
RIP Jerry Jarrett. Jerry was essentially my first boss when I signed with TNA in 2003. We had several very nice and funny conversations, one in particular I will never forget. Thank you for all you gave to professional wrestling. My heart goes out to my friend <a href="https://twitter.com/RealJeffJarrett?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealJeffJarrett</a>
Jarrett helped to found the Continental Wrestling Association in 1977. With the aid of co-owner and top star Jerry Lawler, he turned CWA into the undisputed king in Memphis, Tennessee.
"During the late 70s and early 80s, more than 20 percent of the homes in the metro area watched the show and more than 70 percent of the television sets on during that time period were watching the wrestling show," the Wrestling Observer Newsletter 's Dave Meltzer wrote.
Jarrett built his booking style around an approach that was novel at the time and almost unbelievably simple: "Personal issues draw money." Leaning into the storytelling and entertainment aspect beyond just the in-ring product helped set CWA apart.
The most famous example was Lawler's feud with comedian Andy Kaufman, which broke through to the mainstream and included a staged physical altercation between the two on Late Night with David Letterman .
Eventually, CWA's success waned and Jarrett merged with World Class Championship Wrestling to form the United States Wrestling Association. He subsequently sold his stake in the USWA, which ceased operations in 1997.
Later on, Jarrett and his son helped found NWA: Total Nonstop Action in 2002, and the promotion continues today as Impact Wrestling.