Jerry Jarrett, Father of WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, Dies at Age 80

Joseph Zucker @ @JosephZucker Featured Columnist IV February 14, 2023

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 08:  WWE Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2014 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The network will launch on February 24, 2014 as the first-ever 24/7 streaming network, offering both scheduled programs and video on demand. The USD 9.99 per month subscription will include access to all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events each year. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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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:

David Bixenspan @ davidbix

RIP Jerry Jarrett, the man behind the best wrestling television of all time.

Dave Meltzer @ davemeltzerWON

We will have a story on the death of Jerry Jarrett up on the site shortly. He was a genius booker for his time, one of the best ever, drew ratings nobody will ever touch again. Best to Jeff and the family.

NWA @ nwa

The NWA family is saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Jerry Jarrett. A very important part of the professional wrestling business, we send our condolences to his family, friends and fans. <a href="https://t.co/zMdyNkoV9G">pic.twitter.com/zMdyNkoV9G</a>

Sean Waltman @ TheRealXPac

I loved Jerry Jarrett. He believed in me. He's responsible for Marty &amp; I becoming Tag Champs. I was also one of the 1st people he called to help start TNA. I'm very grateful to Jerry &amp; I'm really sad to know I'll never see him again. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&amp;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 &amp; 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.