Reported by Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
On Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 4:40 PM EST
Jeff Jarrett TNA/Spike TV Conference Call
Report by: Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
NOTE: If you use this recap, please provide full credit to both www.WrestleView.com and Adam Martin. Thank you.
Here is a full recap of the Conference Call earlier today:
- On his departure from WWE after the No Mercy PPV in 1999 about rumors he was holding Vince McMahon up for more money: "This call is about TNA Wrestling and moving to primetime. To answer the question, there was no hold-up and they paid me the money that was owed to me."
- On how far TNA has come since it began: "We have come an awful long way in 4 years." Jarrett mentioned that here they were in primetime this Thursday night and that TNA is the first one to do it in 4 years besides WWE.
- On TNA's drug policy: "We deal with each individual. We have had some within the company we have dealt with on a very individual case. We went and worked with them and got the problems out on the table. We have a policy that we watch everyone. If there is a problem at work, we take care of it."
- On going head to head with WWE: "We aren't going to out-do the competition. We have tried to be smart and strategic. If going head-to-head on Monday night is what we need to do, then we will certainly do that when the time is right." Jarrett talked about the history of the Monday Night Wars, Hogan/Hall/Nash jumping to WCW and the Attitude Era. He said that was a special time and that Thursday night is a great TV night. "Who knows what the future will hold, but going head-to-head may happen."
- If Goldberg or The Ultimate Warrior will come to TNA? "Never say never." Jarrett said both have drawn a lot of money in their day. "They both didn't have a long shelf life during their career." Said they found themselves hitting a peak early on.
- Why did TNA re-hire Vince Russo? Jarrett mentions he is a changed man and his experience with WWE and WCW. Said he was there with Russo in both and saw his strengths and weaknesses. Jarrett said they have learned from the past and want to make the TNA product as good as it can be.
- On Jim Cornette coming to TNA: "Me and Cornette go back to when I was 12 years old." Jarrett mentions they were good family friends. He said Jim knows this business inside and out. Jarrett said Jim has strong wisdom and that he is a huge addition since there isn't many with a legit 20+ years in the business.
- On Jim Cornette & Vince Russo co-existing in TNA: "That is the great part about the wrestling business. When Cornette and Russo are in the same room, it is a very interesting dynamic. That is part of this business. Lot of times you have to go to decide what comes first - your ego and personal situation or the business."
- Is Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe the most important match in TNA's history? "Every PPV event in our growth is important for the company. The WWE has been around for 40+ years, WCW had origins from the territory days with 30-40 years behind it. We started TNA from scratch 4 years ago and to be on primetime TV 4 years later is a big deal. We are only as good as our last PPV and last television show. You have to keep churning out hits. WWE already has hits to go on. We have to continue to prove ourselves. I dont think anyone is expecting anything but a spectacular match this Sunday."
- What other U.S. markets is TNA looking at? "We are looking at Nieslen Ratings and word of mouth. We have a proven track record." Jarrett talked about the success in Detroit with the March house show event. "We are looking at not only the U.S., but also Canada. Chicago would have to be a front-runner. The Northeast is also a strong area. Nashville would be a great place to hold Slammiversary next year celebrating 5 years."
- On if he feels TNA Impact feels too fast after 60 minutes and if they are looking to slow down in the move to primetime? "Well, truly we intend to live up to our name - Total Nonstop Action. We are literally charting ground that has never been done. We have 1 hour of television to do a 3 hour pay per view. A PPV has 7-9 matches. So to have intrigue, drama and storylines, right there you have 4-5 storylines and on a week to week basis with 42 mins of TV time, we have to be at a break-neck speed in order to tell stories. We are doing programming that has never been done. We also know that TV time is very precious and it is a tough balance."
- On TNA stars starring in films? "We have more than enough on our plate. TNA, along with Spike TV, have had discussions about outside projects. Kevin Nash got his acting career going. Christian and Kurt Angle have gotten offers. Gail Kim as well. All of us are really focusing, and rightfully so, on being the very best wrestling organization we can and that is our focus."
- On his hiatus from TNA TV: "What you saw on TV, I spoke from the heart. I have been going wide-open for 4 1/2 years. The place for me to be right now is not in the wrestling ring. I'm taking it day-by-day. To say I have a big plan, I don't, I would be lying. That is really the status of Jeff Jarrett the wrestler. I wrestled 7 years during the territory days, went to the WWF, went to WCW, back to WWF and back to WCW. My career has had very few breaks and this is a much needed one."
- On if he felt the WWE should have stopped the PPV after Owen Hart's death: "I've been asked this question many, many times. Put yourself in Vince's shoes. There is no right or wrong answer. No one was prepared for a situation like that."
- His thoughts on TNA's issues in Connecticut this past weekend: "I wasn't there. I was in Dallas for a Spike appearance. However, I haven't heard of any show that has been cancelled the day of. I have heard of shows being cancelled a few weeks out because of ticket sales, but not only one but two buildings for us were gone. I find that very odd. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, you know what it is. It sounds very fishy to me."
- If TNA will ever run shows in Europe: "We have a few projects and intend to do business overseas in a completely different manner than done before. I'm very excited." Jarrett added that TNA has come a long way not only domestically, but overseas as well.
- On the video of The James Gang outside of WWE Headquarters: "Stay tuned. You can watch it on youtube. The primetime debut on Spike TV will have more."
- On Joe E. Legend having problems with Jarrett: "If Joe has a beef with me, I'm not the only one. We have a mutual friend in Scott D'Amore."
- On the rumors of WWE wrestlers wanting to jump to TNA: "You wouldn't believe the calls [I get]. I believe it is part of business. It is the nature of the beast. It says a lot when you had Christian and Kurt Angle come over. I'm sure Kurt won't be the last. It says something about or organization and we strive to make our TNA roster as strong and deep as we possibly can. When things are getting good, interesting things start happening."
- On TNA's new primetime timeslot on Thursday: "Our average is around a 1.0 right now. We are expecting a point jump come the switch. January, February and March will be interesting to watch. Of course, we want to do much better than that. We are a brand new product, never been seen in primetime before outside of a few specials. So sometimes we put our realistic hats on. Nothing happens overnight. The last time Raw went primetime, it was a process that took years. WCW did it much faster, especially with the jump of talent." Jarrett also mentioned the "channel changers" during the wars.
- His thoughts on Dixie Carter stating TNA will always be a solid #2 wrestling company: "Do we want to be #1? Well, I don't want someone working for this organazation if they don't want to be. Can we be successful at #2? Absolutely. Vince took his dad's organization, tore down the wall and made it a global empire. They are gigantic. So, we are looking to improve on what we have built. So for us to be #2, hell yeah, we can be very successful at that. Do we want to be #1? You get into this business to be #1."
- On the possibility of meshing pro wrestling and MMA together given the recent height in popularity of MMA: "That is a very interesting proposition. I think we are two different audiences. I'm talking about in the United Sates. As a company, we are trying to be innovative and not be same old same old."
- On Monty Brown's current status with TNA: "We have severed our relationship with Monty Brown and wish him well."
- What he considers his best match ever? Jarrett mentions his work with Jerry Lawler, first WWF run with Shawn Michaels and Scott Hall, teaming with Owen Hart (who he stated was his favorite tag team partner) and in WCW with the World Title reigns.
- Another question on if he feels WWE was involved in cancelling the TNA event in Connecticut: "The investigation is going on. I was in Dallas on Saturday and we all talked about the odds of not one, but two shows getting shut down. I've been in the business 20+ years and have never heard of this being done - in the North or South. Somebody didn't want us running in Hartford."
- On if he thinks WWE personally did it: "Personally, I want to investigate this thoroughly."
- On what it takes to be a good heel in wrestling today and if it is a lost art? "You have to be smart. You have to know what you are doing in the ring. When you say a lost art, you are hitting the nail on the head."
- Who he feels will be the next "bad guy" in TNA: "The floor is open. Our roster is strong in all of our divisions." Jarrett talks about wrestlers from the X Division, Tag Team Division and Heavyweight Division. "That is really a deep roster."
- Jarrett then talked about upcoming TNA DVD releases and put over TNA's Top 50 Moments DVD coming out soon.
- On if we will ever see Chris Jericho in TNA: "Great performer. Known him 10+ years and always respected his ability. He still has a lot of great years in him. Chris has been smart with his money. When he decides to come back, it will be because he wants to. For some guys it works negatively, but I know he will come back when he truly wants to. He loves the industry and loves the business."
- If TNA needs two hours of TV every week: "It's obviously the next evolution of TNA programming. As fans will see, a one hour and two hour show are two different animals across the board. A two hour show has time to breathe. You can really sink your teeth into it and keep the programming rolling to build a strong finish. A one hour show, you have to get up and go. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Ratings and content dictate the TV world and we are stepping up on Thursday night."
- On where the "Slapnutz" phrase came from: "My grandmother. She was a woman who made it in a man's world. She used to call people slappy's and I took slappy and turned into slapnutz. The first person I called that on TV was Mike Tenay."
- Reflecting on TNA's growth: "June 19, 2002, I can remember like it was yesterday." Jarrett said although it was 4 years ago, it has been very gratifying to see where TNA has come. and noted the problems here and there. "That goes with any business that tries to grow. Here we are 4 1/2 years later, we have an opportunity that is unheard of in the wrestling industry. No wrestling promotion has started from scratch and got to primetime in 4 years. We have been smart about things by bringing in people who will work their butt off." Jarrett put over the production work of David Sahadi.
- On what has made wrestling work: Jarrett mentions he is a third generation star and says this business is about conflict and you have to have a good vs. evil. He mentions how that changed somewhat in the last few years or so. "Wrestling has changed and evolved. But at the end, there was always a conflict."
- If he was comfortable working as a heel: "I was a good guy for the first seven years of my career. In '93 in the WWF, I busted on the scene as a heel and never looked back. That is who I am, for good or for bad. I'm proud of my work and I've got quite a track record. You get into this business to be put into those situations."
WrestleView.com's own Adam Martin asked Jeff Jarrett how TNA looks at its weekly ratings and what it tells them at the end of the day: "We look at them on a weekly basis. The thing you have to factor in, we do have a replay every week, there is an encore this Wednesday with fresh interviews about LAX and Kurt Angle. In our old timeslot (Saturday night) we watched it weekly, but you have to factor in that the hud levels are plummeting at 11pm at night. Primetime is 7-10 or 8-11 ET and you absolutely have to look at that. The overall usage of TV is plummeting when we come on and that is an uphill battle. Primetime is more competitive with football games and high profile TV shows. What we have looked at was how we did and what use to be on in the same timeslot and how much we gained. Our hopes and wishes this Thursday is that we continue to improve. Is competition there? Yeah, we want that. So we are vying for that eyeball every week.
WrestleView.com's own Adam Martin also asked if TNA has any plans of taking TV tapings out of Orlando as they plan to do with future PPV events: "The smart situation is to take the PPV on the road. Having people come out and watch TV tapings is a matter of numbers. When they do Raw or Smackdown they are literally shooting a program to 4 million people with 2,000-12,000 in attendance. In our situation, we need to take the PPV on the road and have a fantastic three plus hour experience where that fan walks away with raving reports. From the minute you walked in the door at Bound For Glory you met TNA personalities, you got t-shirt giveways, and a pre-show. When they walked out, they had a new champion and the viewer went away happy. So, we need to do that before we consider taking TV on the road. Things happen fast. I was part of WCW when Nitro went from 1 to 2 to 3 hours. Then Thunder came on and that was an animal that got out of control."
- What is next for TNA Wrestling? Jarrett talked about a licensing deal with Marvel, video game with Midway, CD coming out with theme music, taking PPV on the road, taking TV on the road and others is an evolution he wants to see. "Internationally there are many plans as well. We are taking a gigantic step this Thursday night. Going from our current timeslot to a primetime shot, 52 weeks a year, no re-runs." Jarrett talked about how consistent WWE is in ratings year-round and how that is unheard of in the TV business. Mentions how NFL does well, but it goes in seasons. "It's a magical business that appeals to the masses. We have fan bases around the world. That is what is unique and makes the industry so good and special. Everyone can relate to wrestling."
- His opinion of the "internet wrestling community" constantly saying Jeff Jarrett kills TNA: "Hey, that is what this business is all about. They are entitled to their opinion. My answer to that is we are in primetime this Thursday night and couldn't be more happy about it. I take it. I'm judged differently than any other wrestler on our roster. I'm not denying that. What I will say is 4 1/2 years ago in Huntsville, AL a company called TNA was born and 4 1/2 years later, we are still here. The proof is in the pudding." Jarrett said he doesn't want people to stop being critical and finds it unique that people have the power to criticize. "As long as they are watching and talking about it, you can't buy advertising like that."
- If Impact would benefit going live: "That goes without saying. Nitro always had a magical feel about it. Controlled chaos. Raw on occassion will also do that. Put a football or basketball game on tape delay, the results will be in the numbers. When you do live TV, it is very spontanous and everyone has to come prepared with their A game, from the announcers on down, because when you step in the red light zone you can't rewind." Jarrett mentions they are being smart before going live with Impact and that they are still working with Spike TV. He said the help of post-production is to their benefit as well.
- If he could, pick one thing that was a mistake in TNA in the last 4 years: "You never learn from victory, you learn from defeat. That is really true in life. The Dupp Cup - we tried it and you never know until you try it. The Ultimate X's could have been a failure, but it is now the most unique match in wrestling. I just hope for every Dupp Cup you have 10 Ultimate X's."
- On if he is worried about security issues in Mexico when he goes there? "There is lots of build-up to those matches and being a blonde-hair, blue-eyed American, there isn't much to like about me. I voice my opinion and touch human emotion in a negative way. The truth hurts."
- On Antonio Pena's passing and if wrestlers in Mexico will come to TNA? Jarrett mentions that Mike Tenay has a strong pulse on wrestlers in Mexico and workers overseas. He said Pena was a dear friend and was a great promoter. Said Pena was always criticized, but that he always had the house full in Mexico.
- On TNA's audience - if he feels many are unhappy with WWE and switching over to TNA? Jarrett said there was a 10-15% cross-over between fans who watched WWE and WCW during the Monday Night Wars. "Do I think we can capture part of WWE's audience? Absolutely." He mentions the differences between WWE and TNA, but feels fans went away from wrestling when WCW went out of business.
- Jarrett gave a "no comment" when asked about the personal issues he has had to deal with in the last few years.
- On what TNA will do with Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe this Sunday with so much on the line: "That question right there is why people buy pay per view's. What will they do? The more you know about our business, the more interesting it gets. You got the ego's involved and issues. When it comes to crunch time this Sunday night, you just never know what will happen but something has to. From a creative standpoint, it will be very interesting to watch. The pressure is there for Joe. Is there pressure for Angle? He puts more pressure on himself than anyone else I know."
- On Angle's headbutt to Joe: "Stuff like that doesn't come around very often." Jarrett mentions the "headbutt heard around the world" line. "I would have love to have filmed the backstage reaction. We call those curtain sellouts backstage."
- On Lita's contract ending with WWE & if TNA would be interested: "I know Lita well. I don't know how her health is for performing. Women and wrestling has always been a Catch 22. For drama, women can do things men can never do. The actual in-ring performing is tough. I don't want to sound shovonistic, but if you match up the best male baseketball player and best female baseketball player, the female cannnot compete with the male. [To answer the question] I don't really know where Lita's head is right now."
- If TNA will come to St. Louis, MO: "Stay tuned because you will be very happy."
- If TNA was still talking with Daniel Puder? "Daniel was interested several months back. Kurt and Puder have a war of words going on. Bubba is a smart, smart man. He is getting the mileage out of this. He has been taught by the master. To answer your question, zero talks."
- On his father, Jerry Jarrett's, status with TNA: "I can't comment on his thoughts and I can't comment on that situation."
- On Scott Steiner's TNA status: "Big Poppa picks and chooses his spot. Scott is an incredible performer with a long history, successful history. I'm sure Big Poppa will set his sights on his return at the right time."
- On working with Dixie Carter: "Her transitition, and she will tell you this, to the wrestling business hasn't been easy. However, she has been very successful thus far."
- Sting's TNA status: "I dont want to comment on details, but negotiations are going on. When he walked into Bound For Glory, it was the first time many saw how he looked and I was very impressed. He is the type of person who has always had that it factor. When it is time to step it up, he does."
- On feedback from fans that the Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe match was too soon: "The creative process is subjective. There is a right and wrong with decisions made. Why not come with your best foot forward when moving to primetime? The timing to me couldn't be better and couldn't feel more right. I'm not discounting the critics who say its too soon. There are probably five to six legit storylines we could have come up with for now. To say its too soon, they aren't all 100% right nor are they 100% wrong. It doesn't get any bigger than primetime."
- If TNA needs a developmental territory? "We're an organazation where our competitor has more people working on its internet staff than our entire company. To answer the question, that is an absolute evolution."
- One if he had one thing to say to fans who walked away from wrestling to tune in on Thursday: "I would say remember the three to five situations that stood out the most to them when they watched before and give TNA a chance for a month. We are innovative, we are front of the curve, we respect their intelligence and passion and give us an opportunity to win you over as a fan."
- On Hulk Hogan's brief TNA appearance: "Hogan had personal issues that prevented him from participating with TNA."
- If he sees Hogan ever joining TNA: "I understand Hogan signed a new 20 year deal with Vince McMahon and I don't think The Hulkster will be interested in performing after that time."
- If TNA will ever be coming to New York: Jarrett mentioned a story of how he gets fans coming up to him all the time in the city asking the same question. "The thing I love about New York wrestling fans is that they let you know what they like and dislike."
NOTE: If you use this recap, please provide full credit to both www.WrestleView.com and Adam Martin. Thank you.