Jeff Jarrett is one of the best known and most respected men in the whole wrestling industry. His family has wrestling in its genes and Jarrett as well as having an illustrious on-screen career with WWE and elsewhere has founded no less than two companies with international credentials. In town for discussions about the future of Impact wrestling, the company he founded, left and has recently returned to revive, Jarrett was as full of passion, energy and good humour as he has ever been. Jarrett was surprised when we compared him to Tony Blair but given his commanding knowledge of how to handle an interview we think it a fair assessment. Take a read to see which of us got the better of the exchange and of course stay tuned to Impact Wrestling through the app (available for £4.99 a month), further details of which are available here and which can be downloaded here. Keep an eye on the UK facebook page for any news about British events.
Should we read something into the cities you've visited in the UK - Glasgow, Manchester and London... sounds like an Impact Wrestling tour schedule..?
I'll let you read into it what you will. You Brits are pretty perceptive but I'll let you read into what you will. I apologise that there's some things I can't answer today because a deal's not a deal until it's a deal. When the I's are dotted and t's are crossed I'll be happy to share the news with you!
And that applies to the rumoured meetings with ITV we presume...?
You presume correctly!
WWE has had a UK tournament and has a UK Champion, promotions are teaming up like RevPro and New Japan. What can UK fans expect from Impact Wrestling going forward?
It's no secret that the relationship between the Impact Wrestling audience and fans in the UK has been very prosperous over the last few years. It did fall on hard times and that's the main reason Ed and I are here - to start back on those positive relationships. The app was launched, it was rushed to market and there was a good reason for that - because of the Challenge TV situation we wanted the fan base to have a way to stay engaged. So we're here with multiple discussions, with multiple networks, with promotors and doing media to re-energise the relationship across all its facets.
Can we expect to see you back on our screens?
Not at this time! I'm enjoying wearing what we'll call the promotor and businessman hats. The guitar is always close by but that's not in my plans right now...
The GFW invasion angle made for interesting TV, might we see more of a GFW-Impact crossover in the future?
The relationship with GFW and Impact is going to be something that I'm obviously personally very excited for. We are coming up on the 15th year of Impact and started Global Force a couple of years ago, seeing them come together on some level will be great. The situation that happened a year and a half ago was great for all parties involved and obviously gave GFW quite a lot of exposure. As we roll into the second quarter of this year, the GFW-Impact relationship is just going to get better.
We worked with Impact Wrestling to highlight some UK wrestlers who then featured on the last tour. Will we see more UK talent on Impact?
The short answer is absolutely, yes. It's on the record books, I've always been a big fan of the UK scene going back to 2005/6/7, coming over. Now quite frankly it's the hottest scene in the world of professional wrestling. That's another part of this trip - some talent meetings. I'll leave the talents nameless but we've had success with British wrestlers over the years and we'll continue that for sure.
Fans have asked us why they have to pay for Impact Wrestling content that used to be free. What would you say to them?
You guys are notorious freeloaders! No, all kidding aside it's a great opportunity. To create and service the app isn't a free mechanism. Its priced very inexpensively and it is a transition period and we want the fanbase that is willing to be engaged to have that opportunity at a very minimal cost. We're in discussions around the world, many territories, on growing the app. Kudos to Anthem Sports and Entertainment. They rushed it to market to give the opportunity for the fans to stay engaged.
Do you think Chyna should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year?
The Hall of Fame is subjective and the buck stops with one man like every other decision in that organisation. It's Vince's opinion. Everyone can have an opinion, its truly worthless when it comes to the Hall of Fame. If Vince wants them in, they're in and if out, they're out. When you talk about importance of being ground-breaking, Chyna certainly was so unique and instrumental - she was one of those characters that defined the Attitude Era, so the simple answer is absolutely.
Will the X-Division be a bigger focus going forward as it once was?
Well in GFW we have a division called NEX*GEN and that's about the next generation of wrestlers much like the X-Division was in 2002. I've always been a massive fan of - and here in the UK you have - I call them kids, that was 10-12 years ago but are now in their late 20s or early 30s are incredible athletes and really know what they're doing. It's that next generation style of wrestling that will definitely be front and centre.
Last time we spoke we tried to get a good rib story out of you, will you give us one now?
I'll say this, ribs are a part of our industry because its always hurry up and wait - car rides, plane rides...if you've been in the industry long enough you learn how to master the rib. [shouts] THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER! I'm just ribbing you....
He might be a rib-master but Jeff Jarrett is no joker. Together with Anthem, Jarrett appears to have breathed new life into Impact and the future for the company is looking reassuringly bright.