On a recent edition of his “My World” podcast, Jeff Jarrett discussed the career of Jeff Hardy in TNA/Impact Wrestling and signing him for his first run.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On Jeff knowing how to get over: “And that’s another thing that is — you hear old-timers through the years, I think I remember Dick Murdoch saying something to the effect, Wahoo McDaniel on a car ride. Guys that know how to get over? You’re not going to deny them, period. We’re using that theme a lot, get over; Jeff was one of those guys who knew how to get over and stay over. So finishesm matches, high spots, did not affect whether he wanted to be there or not. The outside forces that he was dealing with, that affected him. Obviously pretty bad.”
On whether he was in favor of turning Hardy heel in 2010: “I could probably think of — well, yeah, I just thought of one. But when Hulk came in, to his defense he came in with all the power. If he kept things exactly the way they were, I know from his — I would assume from his brain space, he would go, ‘Well, they don’t need me here. They don’t need this or that. So I’m going to make a bunch of changes.’ And Dixie encouraged it from the beginning, I always thought Hogan’s best role would be an ambassador out validating what we were already doing. We were having success, we were profitable, but we needed a louder megaphone, a louder spokesman, a more well-known one. But Hulk came in; what made the brand different? One of the things was the six-sided ring. ‘Get rid of that.’ You know, he dogged me on some promos who, for the lack of a better word, as we’ve joked in this podcast, in a lot of ways I was one of the faces from — not a talent, from a business perspective of the brand.
“Well, Jeff Hardy is someone that we brought on board. Obviously WWE, massive lineage, but — and we haven’t really even got into it. God rest his soul, Don West, he could talk for days. And when we would strategize back at the office and go out on live events and the way Don would meticulously get into the DNA of the strategy of how we were going to sell things, Hardy was always at the tip-top. Kurt would sell a lot of t-shirts and merchandise, but everybody would love to have a picture with Kurt Angle in the ring. Me, I’m going to sell 20, 25, 30 guitars at a high level. So sell some meet and greets, and I’m maybe selling the 8x10s in the program and I’m kind of the face of the brand and all this. Don had Jeff plugged in everywhere in that merch, down to his wristbands and trinkets. He would say, ‘All right, we got three or four trinkets from Jeff Hardy. We got three or four skews of t-shirts. We got to create this mega kind of grand thing of, ‘Hey, can we do a limited number of photo ops with Jeff during intermission?’ And that’ll help us sell t-shirts, but we can only do 30.’ I mean, he was amazing on his strategy to monetize things.
“There was not even a close second that Jeff was our merch mover. Period. It’s even silly, I mean, I could go on and on about that. You know, I was recently telling a story about when I looked at the SKUs, when the Fiend was red hot, it was the Fiend and others as far as selling merch off of the active roster, I’m sure Cena is 10 to 1 right now selling merch. But Jeff was that needle mover. And when they came in, I understood that Hogan and Eric wanted to do things differently because in a lot of ways, that may validate their high salaries and paychecks and all that. But creatively, I thought, ‘Okay, you’re going to make Jeff Hardy — I didn’t want to call him a heel. Let’s call him an antagonist. What will he do to antagonize his protagonist? What’s Jeff going to do to make people either hate him or resent him or angry or whatever it is?’ That’s just not in Jeff’s character. And I’m not saying real life, I’m talking about his persona. So Conrad, I thought it was from a business perspective, a horrible decision. But at that point, I was on the outside looking in. And from a creative perspective, I ran the play to the best of my ability. I was worried about live events and internationals, but creatively I went right along with it.”