In 2008, Jeff Jarrett, then co-owner of Impact Wrestling (TNA), threatened to fine the Motor City Machine Guns for not wanting to blade. At the same time, Paul Heyman, then owner of ECW, criticized TNA for its creative process and booking decisions.
These issues were further complicated by Kurt Angle‘s real-life drama with Jeff Jarrett and other backstage issues such as Angelina Love‘s visa issues and Christopher Daniels‘ arrest. Despite these issues, TNA continued to produce events such as No Surrender 2009 which featured a spectacular main event between Kurt Angle and Matt Morgan.
On a recent episode of his My World podcast, Jeff Jarrett looked back on the controversies surrounding TNA in 2008.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On TNA threatening fines to Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin for refusing to blade: “I can remember a couple of instances and one that — I can remember this, and when they brought it to me and I’m like I almost said, ‘Are you serious?’ I got a lot more clarity in 2023 than I did then, but I thought, ‘What do you mean, they don’t want to? Like are they afraid, or they don’t think it’s right for the angle or the storyline? They don’t think it’s right for their character? They don’t think it’s going to be believable? Give me some context why you don’t want to do this.’ Same thing, Andy Douglas was asked to cut his hair and he refused. And I’m thinking, ‘Why? What is the reasoning? Is it afraid it’s not going to grow back? It’s not good for the character?’
“‘Look, if you don’t want to do it I understand, but you know we run a business here and if you’re telling us what you do and don’t want to do, I totally get that. We’re just going to move on from you as a talent. Make sure you understand that.’ I kind of had this in my mind thinking, ‘Why are they so vehemently opposed?’ Again born and raised in this business, it was it just kind of part of the trade. I now know that people don’t exactly view it that way in so many ways. Some do, some don’t. So, now it’s a mixed bag but I didn’t understand why they didn’t want to do it. Then when you got into kind of the fine situation, again I was never big on fines. Not just for this, but across the board. There’s other ways like if you’re going to show up for work, great, pay them. If you’re not just don’t book them. That is much more effective than a fine. Just you’re off.”
On Paul Heyman criticizing TNA in 2008: “So, no. I never had any conversation. I didn’t have a conversation. Me and Paul reacquainted ourselves four or five years ago and we just, we text often and he’s one of the funniest guys. He’s great. He’s a character, man. But, so I never had a conversation. The luxury of doing this podcast Conrad, is kind of want to look back. Bob Carter talked to Jim Ross, Eric Bischoff before he came in, he was very outspoken. ‘I don’t even know who AJ Styles is,’ you know, different things like that. Paul made those comments, they’re all fair enough. They were obviously — I don’t even want to call them casual watchers maybe, just we were so under the radar in so many ways.
“And if you would have asked Paul, because you know he commented on, ‘It’s a vanity project,’ and I know exactly it’s the connotation of Dixie Carter. The analogy of he’s tying it to Dixie Carter vanity, but I believe if you would have asked Paul during this time ‘Hey Paul, do you think TNA’s making any money?’ He probably would have said not a penny losing. I think the perception because of our first, two, three, four years is that we were that vanity thing that just continued to just show up. I think if he would have got under the hood he would have still said ‘You know what, we need to brand TNA more. We need to make AJ Styles the centerpiece.’ All of his points there’s some validity to all of them. I think he wasn’t completely in engaged or knew all the pieces of the puzzle. Because, I believe if he did have I think he would have said things maybe, maybe not with a different twist.”
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