Speaking on the latest episode of his “My World” podcast, Jeff Jarrett discussed bringing in Jeff Hardy into TNA, how his run went, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On Jeff Hardy’s being a free agent in 2003: “When I hear that he’s available, shocked might not be the right word, but — Vince had dealt with, whoever you want to put in that basket — Ultimate Warrior, you know, folks that Vince always figured out a way to monetize them on his terms. But for them to release Jeff, and I knew the cash cow that he was at the time, it really surprised me. And I immediately wanted to kind of dig in. ‘Is he an option for us?’ You know, dig into what’s going on and what the reality is. And even if he had any interest. Because again, me and Jeff and Matt met each other in the early 90s, mid 90s.”
On how contract negotiations with Hardy went: “I would imagine I had his number. And if I didn’t have his correct number, I reached out and got it somehow. I don’t really remember. But yeah, I mean I had [it]… Once we got into him playing his own theme coming out, all that. But it was simple. ‘Jeff, there’s no way we can pay you what you’re worth, so that’s off the table. We also pal, and this is the real deal, know that if it’s not now, it’s at some point you’re going to be thinking about going back. And that may be crazy. But Jeff, we’re all businessmen. Got to leave our options. So all I’m really talking about to you is one date for an opportunity. And I think if we remove the money component of it, it could be as good for you as it is for us. We would love the shot in the arm. And I don’t know where your head’s at, but what is the downside? Of course we’re going to take care of you creatively, and let’s just see if you like us and we like you.’ I mean, just that simple.”
On why Jeff Hardy’s debut was delayed: “Had zero interest in the business. Zero. He just, to my knowledge, he [was] very good with his money. They’re not extravagant spenders. And so obviously, he’s coming off [WWE]. So at that point, it’s 2003 when he got released. So a five-year run, a four or five year run of good money. Prior to kids, I’d say he was doing all right. But no, he just had zero interest…. I can remember lots of pops [in his TNA debut]. And I think I talked about this a couple of weeks ago when we tried to do this. I still believe that’s the loudest sustained pop the Asylum ever had. It was deafening, and it kept going and going and going. It was something. He milked it for all it was worth, but he didn’t have to milk it.”
On why AJ Styles was booked as Jeff Hardy’s first TNA opponent: “Big time, big time. And you know, as we’ve done these ‘My Worlds’, I kind of — because in the heat of the moment, in the battle, I would always think — ‘Balance, balance, balance. It can’t be too overloaded with established veterans or WCW or WWE guys, me being one of them. But you can’t balance it too much with all young guys. But AJ was our guy, or certainly headed in that direction. So it was always the balance of everything, but knowing that we have a guy like Hardy, it was, ‘Of course, AJ’s got to be in the ring with him.’ Okay, a lot of pressure on him. And is that going to be the biggest box office attraction? But long term, it’s one of those things that I look back on now in that methodically, we really built AJ. Over the years, we really built him from 2002 to 2008 and 2009. It was just a consistent build.”
On Jeff Hardy’s struggles during the time, how that affected his TNA run: “Well, [I remember] issues. And I’m trying to think — well, first note is that online chatter, I try to rack my brain. I’d love to get the old crew back in a room and try to see what we could recall. But I think you casually mentioned there or Meltzer, Keller did or whatever it was, that it was going to be Monte [Brown’s] slot. And you kind of think back, of course Jeff Hardy is going to sell many more pay-per-view buys. But you know the ‘What if.’ What if Monte had been in that, because we were headed down that road with Monte. But it was the obvious choice with Jeff, that crazy 12-foot ladder when he wanted a real, real big ladder.
“But no, there were issues. I mean, Jeff was battling his demons. I didn’t call it that then, he didn’t call it that then. But there was — again, we were doing at this point, I think we — and I’m not exactly sure which dates, but I think we had officially left the Asylum in Nashville and we were just doing Orlando. But you know, Jeff was having a tough time. I don’t believe for a minute that it was his mindset that he didn’t want to be there, specifically at TNA. He didn’t want to be in a lot of places. He just was battling his demons. And Jeff has never been a guy who could care less about winning or losing. That’s another thing about his philosophy, he always knew how to get himself over regardless of the finish, regardless of the hotspots, Jeff’s Jeff.”
In the latest episode of his “My World” podcast, Jeff Jarrett opened up about the process of bringing Jeff Hardy into TNA (Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) and how his run in the company went. Jarrett discussed various aspects, including Hardy’s availability as a free agent in 2003, contract negotiations, the delay in his debut, his first opponent, and the struggles he faced during his time in TNA.
When Hardy became available as a free agent, Jarrett was surprised by WWE’s decision to release him. Considering Hardy’s popularity and potential as a cash cow, Jarrett immediately wanted to explore the possibility of bringing him to TNA. Having known Hardy since the 90s, Jarrett reached out to him to gauge his interest in joining the company.
During contract negotiations, Jarrett acknowledged that TNA couldn’t match the financial offers Hardy was receiving elsewhere. Instead, he proposed a different approach, focusing on creative opportunities and leaving the door open for a potential return to WWE in the future. Jarrett emphasized the potential benefits for both parties and assured Hardy that TNA would take care of him creatively.
However, there was a delay in Hardy’s debut due to his lack of interest in the wrestling business at that time. Hardy had accumulated a substantial amount of money during his previous WWE run and had no immediate desire to jump back into the industry. Despite this, when Hardy finally made his TNA debut, it was met with an overwhelming response from the crowd. Jarrett described it as one of the loudest sustained pops in TNA’s history.
For Hardy’s first opponent, TNA booked AJ Styles, who was seen as a rising star within the company. Jarrett explained that while he aimed for a balance between established veterans and young talent, it was essential to have Styles face off against Hardy. This decision played a significant role in building Styles’ career over the years.
Throughout his time in TNA, Hardy faced personal struggles and battled his demons. Jarrett acknowledged that there were issues but believed that it wasn’t specific to TNA. Hardy was dealing with personal challenges that affected his mindset and performance. Regardless, Hardy always managed to get himself over with the audience, showcasing his unique style and charisma.
In conclusion, Jeff Jarrett’s discussion on his podcast shed light on the process of bringing Jeff Hardy to TNA and the challenges he faced during his run in the company. Despite the personal struggles, Hardy’s impact on TNA was undeniable, and his presence brought excitement to the promotion.