On a recent edition of his “My World” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and AEW wrestler Jeff Jarrett discussed the working relationship between TNA and NJPW in 2008, getting fans to engage with the product, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On TNA’s relationship with NJPW in 2008: “Goal alignment. We’ve talked about it often, but we had a fantastic relationship with New Japan. Kurt, they wanted [Team] 3D through the — you know, whatever it may be. But that talent exchange of us sending them talent or they sent us talent. But I was going to say, you kind of delicately let it out there, Mr. Russo. But you now, Tanahashi and we’ve said this before, Okada. Okada doesn’t have fond memories [of TNA]. But you kind of go back and go, ‘Okay, goal alignment.’ We — and I say we collectively, all of us, didn’t lean into the New Japan audience at this time, obviously. Regret and learning from your mistakes. But it just wasn’t it wasn’t a priority. Our priority was to Spike [TV], period. So, with that being said, yes, Sting was super comfortable with it. It’s a little bit surprising to me, but no, Sting’s never been afraid to kind of step out of his… [Comfort zone?] Well, I wouldn’t even say that. Play it a different extension of his personality, and this Main Event Mafia sting was, he still stayed true very, very much to his character, but it gave it a different look.”
On TNA having fans text in votes for match gimmicks and weapons: “Spike. This is all Spike. They wanted engagement. 2008, has Twitter just launched? Yeah, all of it was new. ‘How do we get real-time engagement?’ This was going to be our only opportunity. We were live. So how do you — you know, we didn’t go live very often. We were going to be doing pay-per-views. But since we were going to be live, ‘how do we get actual data in?’
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In 2008, TNA (Total Nonstop Action) Wrestling had a working relationship with NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling), which was discussed by WWE Hall of Famer and AEW wrestler Jeff Jarrett on his “My World” podcast. This partnership involved talent exchanges between the two promotions, with TNA sending their wrestlers to NJPW and vice versa.
Jarrett mentioned that there was a goal alignment between TNA and NJPW during this time. NJPW wanted TNA to send them talent like Team 3D, while TNA also benefited from receiving talent from NJPW. However, Jarrett acknowledged that they didn’t fully capitalize on the New Japan audience at the time, as their priority was to cater to Spike TV, the network that aired TNA programming.
One of the interesting aspects of TNA’s approach to engaging fans in 2008 was their use of text voting for match gimmicks and weapons. This was a strategy driven by Spike TV, who wanted real-time engagement from viewers. With the rise of social media platforms like Twitter, TNA saw this as an opportunity to gather actual data from their live shows and pay-per-views.
The podcast episode also touched upon Sting’s involvement in TNA during this period. Sting, known for his loyalty to WCW and later joining WWE, was comfortable working with NJPW through TNA. This willingness to step out of his comfort zone and explore different aspects of his character allowed Sting to bring a fresh look to his persona as part of the Main Event Mafia storyline in TNA.
To get a better understanding of the topics discussed, you can listen to the full podcast episode titled “My World #131: Turning Point 2008” embedded in the article.
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Overall, the working relationship between TNA and NJPW in 2008 provided an opportunity for talent exchanges and cross-promotion. While TNA didn’t fully tap into the New Japan audience during this time, it was a valuable experience that allowed wrestlers like Sting to explore new dimensions of their characters.