On a recent edition of his “My World” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett recalled former TNA President Dixie Carter wanting to always keep Sting under contract with her promotion, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On Dixie Carter thinking Sting was a must-have in TNA and if he agreed: “I don’t know that we’ve got into this part of it because of the timing of this, because we went through the Sting renegotiations multiple times. But I believe in this particular year Conrad, this is when we were going from one hour to two hours on Spike. We’ll call it the licensing fee double because that’s how they dole out money, by the hour. So our talent budget was a huge topic of discussion and we’ll call it, Dallas was ‘Well no, we don’t need to double the talent budget.’ And I’m like, ‘The only thing that makes this show go is, is our talent.’ Yes, we’ve got to market it. And yes, we’ve got to be better at creative. And you know, we’re going to take pay-per-views on the road and there’s a bunch of everything that goes into it. But investing in our talent is the number one set of circumstances. And they’re like, ‘Well,’ so we didn’t always see eye to eye on that. And as it was coming up and then the million dollar question that came around about every time this year, ‘What are we doing with Sting?’ And I’m like, ‘If we’re not going up in budget and I’m having, or I’m responsible for doubling the number of segments we’re writing, how in the world are we supposed to,’ you know what I’m saying? If we’re not adding more talent and guys that have been with us are going to get, ‘Hey, I know this guy’s going to want a bump and this guy’s going to want a bump.’ And just all the optics of it and the growth of the company.
“At times, it drove not just me, but internally the creative team, crazy. If you want to re-sign him, there’s no question. Everybody on the creative team, and I mean that everybody, was ‘Yes, we want him.’ But we need to tell, ‘Can you let us know what our options are and how much talent does that prevent us [from using].’ Or disgruntlement like, where does that kind of fall into this talent budget? And Conrad, that was one of those things that — just, the growing pains of dealing with investors who made their money in energy and not in the entertainment business. It’s just difficult conversations. Many, many times, no resolution. You know, we just referenced the India situation that added revenue. But not getting a clear answer it was very, very frustrating at times. Because we made it clear, ‘Yes, we want him. But at what cost?’ And you couldn’t get a clear answer back because they didn’t know. That’s the real frustrating part about it. So it was a head-scratcher at times, but we always ended up somehow resigning him. Most of the time, talent-wise, we would kind of ease into it. But I’ll never forget having those multiple conversations around the time we went from one to two hours and I’m like, ‘You’ve got to increase your talent.’ But of course, the investor wanted as much money back or ROI on it as they could get. So wasn’t easy, Connie. Wasn’t easy.”
On the challenges of booking shows in Canada: “We’re talking about 2008. So TNA launched in 2002 for a quick refresher. So we’re six years in, taking the pay-per-views on the road, going from one hour on Spike TV to two hours. Our coverage in Canada continues to grow, our international business continues to grow. And putting a show on in Canada — I can’t say that it’s not easy, but there is a whole — immigration, it’s just it’s a different set of circumstances. Our pay-per-views from the beginning aired in Canada. So you know, the transmission and all that wasn’t a crazy deal. But just — it’s a different set of circumstances. But like you just mentioned, there’s four or rive events we could talk about historically. One of the ones that always pops to my mind is that WrestleMania, is going to sell out in the US or Canada, a big pay-per-view. But when the Attitude era was hot and Rock, Austin, DX was rocking and rolling all over the world, we go up to Toronto, and that’s where I just referenced. Me and Edge had an IC title match, and we flipped the title, and we flipped it back in Buffalo at a pay per view… Canada is obviously geographically very close. But it’s just it’s for a lack of a better word — Yes, it’s a different country. But the wrestling fanbase, and Owen was one of the ones that in his unique sense of humor, we would chat about it. But then he’d be serious about it. I’ve had conversations with Bret as well.
“But the Canadian fan base, obviously love their hockey but they’re very passionate about their professional wrestling. And you look at the territories. Obviously Stampede was big, Montreal, back in the eastern provinces they had the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens, Jack Tunney, Billy Red Lyons. And the famous blue checks from the WWE in Canadian dollars. But lots and lots of history, and at TNA with a Canadian influence. Christian Cage, how relevant is that to talk about today? Christian was on our roster, obviously Team Canada. Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Johnny Devine, obviously Scott D’Amore. We had a Canadian presence as far as talent goes as well. So we wanted to continue to grow and it was another stepping stone in the right direction to tour our pay-per-views. And we decided, let’s go to a building we weren’t going to run — you know, it’s even really hard to get dates on the hockey buildings up there in Canada. But we found a good market and got the date and locked it in and off we went.”