In Memory of Jerry Jarrett 1942-2023 (Photo Credit: WWE)
In Memory of Jerry Jarrett 1942-2023 (Photo Credit: WWE)

By Michael Weaver Jr. [E-Mail | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube]

Jerry & Jeff Jarrett. (Photo Credit: Jerry Jarrett's Facebook)
Jerry & Jeff Jarrett. (Photo Credit: Jerry Jarrett’s Facebook)

This past Tuesday the wrestling world lost a legendary person when Jerry Jarrett passed away at the age of 80.

Jerry was born in Nashville, Tennessee to Christine”Teeny”Jarrett on September 4, 1942.  After his parents divorced, his mother began working as a ticket vendor at the Nashville Hippodrome for the promoters of NWA Mid-America – Nick Gulas and Roy Welch.  Eventually, she received more responsibilities which included promoting shows in Indiana and Kentucky for NWA Mid-America.  When Jerry was seven years old he began to sell programs for the events.

After he decided to get into the professional wrestling business, he worked as an office assistant and a referee for Gulas and Welch.  He was trained by Sailor Moran and Tojo Yamamoto.  In 1965, he wrestled his first match in Missouri and after forming a tag team with Yamamoto, he primarily wrestled for NWA Mid-America.

In the late 1970s, Jerry created the Continental Wrestling Association and the organization became very successful and held regularly sold-out events in the Mid-South Coliseum and aired TV shows on Saturdays.  Gulas would eventually sell NWA Mid-America to Jarrett.

The CWA entered into a talent exchange agreement with Mid-South Wrestling and its promoter “Cowboy” Bill Watts.  Jarrett would end the 1980s by merging the CWA with World Class Championship Wrestling.  The CWA-WCCW merger would create the United States Wrestling Association.  However; in 1990 the WCCW would withdraw from the USWA after a revenue dispute.  The USWA, in 1992, would begin another talent exchange agreement but this time with Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation.

Throughout the 1990s, competitors from the USWA would appear on WWF programming and WWF Superstars would appear on USWA programming.  But in the mid-90s, attendance at the Mid-South Coliseum began to sharply decline and Jarrett would eventually sell his part of the organization to his longtime business partner, Jerry”The King”Lawler and Larry Burton.

In 2001, Jerry was just one of several individuals who attempted to purchase World Championship Wrestling from AOL-Time Warner.  However; AOL-Time Warner would eventually sell WCW to McMahon.  Jerry wouldn’t stay down for long though.

In the spring of 2002, Jerry and his son Jeff would form a new company called J Sports and Entertainment.  JSE would announce the formation of NWA: Total Nonstop Action.  NWA: TNA was going to be an alternative to the WWF and instead of airing weekly shows on cable or broadcast TV, they would offer a weekly two-hour pay-per-view on Wednesday nights for $9.99.  However; JSE would sell their 72% controlling interest to Panda Energy.  Jerry left the company in late 2005 after a dispute in the direction the company was going in.

The logo for Jarrett Companies. (Photo Credit: Jarrett Companies)
The logo for Jarrett Companies. (Photo Credit: Jarrett Companies)

After he left the wrestling business, Jerry opened a construction business with his son Jason , called Jarrett Builders Inc. (Now known as Jarrett Companies.).  He also started a client representation company with three other individuals.  They represented musicians, professional boxers and wrestlers.  In 2005, Jarrett and his partners were able to get Oleg Prudius (Later known as Vladimir Kozlov.) signed by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

After years of being estranged, Jerry and his son Jeff finally reconciled with each other.

Jerry wrote two books: The Story of the Development of NWATNA: A New Concept in Pay-Per-View Programming and his autobiography The Best of Times.

According to his sister, here is how Jerry’s life came to an end: “On Valentine’s Day morning he asked his wife of fifty-two years if she would be his Valentine.  Shortly afterwards he had a massive heart attack.  He had been undergoing treatments for esophageal cancer.”

After I interviewed Jerry in the mid-2000s, we kept in touch for several years thereafter.  Anytime I had a question or wanted to get his advice he never made me feel like I was bothering him.  He stated numerous times to me that he enjoyed reading WU Online because we were an unbiased and honest website.  He also took time to send correspondence to my mother who would talk to him regarding my numerous health conditions.  I have never met such a sincere, friendly and caring person like Mr. Jerry Jarrett.  The death of Jerry Jarrett is definitely our loss but Heaven’s gain.

On behalf of myself, my mother and WU Online I would like to pass our condolences to the friends, fans and the entire Jarrett family.

Jerry is survived by his second wife, Deborah, his four children Jason, Jeff, Jennifer and Jerry Jr., his grandchildren and his sister.

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