Jerry W. Jarrett (born September 4, 1942 in Nashville, Tennessee) is an American promoter and former professional wrestler, and the father of wrestler Jeff Jarrett. He is the co-founder and former part-owner of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Like World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon, Jarrett was initially a promoter and became a wrestler later in life.
Born into poverty, Jerry Jarrett was exposed to the wrestling business at a very early age. His mother worked as a ticket vendor, and Jarrett began selling programs for NWA Mid-America, according promotion owned by Roy Welch and Nick Gulas at the age of seven. After receiving his driving license at fourteen, he became a wrestling promoter, renting buildings, advertising shows, constructing the ring, selling tickets, and stocking refreshments. He worked as a promoter until he left Nashville to attend college. Upon graduating, Jarrett worked for Welch and Gulas as an office assistant, and became a referee by default after a referee no-showed. He soon returned to promoting, working his way up from local promotions to regional, then national promotions.
While working as a referee, Jarrett decided to become a wrestler, and was trained by his friend and future tag team partner Tojo Yamamoto and veteran wrestler Sailor Moran. He wrestled his first match in Haiti in 1965.
Jarrett became a successful wrestler in the South, particularly in his home state of Tennessee, forming tag teams with Jackie Fargo and Tojo Yamamoto. At one point he participated in the extremely hazardous Scaffold Match.
Jarrett operated multiple wrestling promotions throughout his career, including Mid-Southern Wrestling, the Continental Wrestling Association, the United States Wrestling Association, World Class Championship Wrestling and, most recently, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Jarrett was often the business partner of Jerry Lawler. In the 1970s, Jarrett began televising his shows.
NWA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
After the sale of World Championship Wrestling to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and the bankruptcy of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the North American pro-wrestling scene lacked a viable number two promotion and alternative to WWE which Jerry and Jeff Jarrett attempted to fill with the formation of NWA:TNA.
On May 9, 2002, the Jarretts announced the formation of J Sports and Entertainment (JSE) with Jerry Jarrett as Chairman and Jeff Jarrett as President. JSE was to be the parent company of NWA:TNA, a new national wrestling promotion that would air weekly pay-per-views on iNDEMAND, beginning June 19, 2002.
In October 2002, JSE sold controlling interest (72%) of NWA:TNA to Panda Energy. Dixie Carter, daughter of Panda Energy founder Bob Carter was doing public relations work for TNA at the time and brought the investment opportunity to her father. The terms of the sale allowed Jeff and Jerry Jarrett retaining control of the wrestling operations and Panda Energy handling the business side.
In October 2005, Jarrett made headlines by showing up at WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT, with WWE.com issuing a statement saying "Longtime wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett met with WWE officials this morning in Stamford, Conn., and he was not alone." The man Jarrett was with Oleg Prudius, who would go onto perform in WWE as Vladimir Kozlov.
Jerry Jarrett left TNA in late 2005 after a fallout with management, including his son, Jeff.
- Continental Wrestling Association World Tag Team Championship
- National Wrestling Alliance Mid-America Tag Team Championship
- National Wrestling Alliance Southern Tag Team Championship (Mid-America version)
- National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship (Mid-America version)
- National Wrestling Alliance Tennessee Tag Team Championship