Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling passed along this recap.
It’s time to go into the bookers office as we settle in for an epic episode of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling with the legendary man behind much of the success of Memphis Wrestling, the one and only Jerry Jarrett. Chad and John set fourth to dig deep into the business and creative side of how Jerry Jarrett impacted pro wrestling from giving Jerry Lalwer his first break to being the man that Vince McMahon trusted running WWE while he was on trial during the mid 90s. It is a fascinating look into a man that has done it all.
Full Episode Download Link:
Jerry Jarrett on Giving Jerry Lawler his first break in Memphis:
Elvis Presley attending matches at the Mid South Coliseum:
I knew he was there. Elvis was a huge, huge wrestling fan and one of his staff was a guy named “Red” who came to me and said Elvis loves to watch ya’ll wrestle and would like to come see live matches. So the Ellis Audotorium is one of those arenas that had the big arena and then the stage. On the other side of the stage was like a theatre stage so we were able to block out that side and let Elvis go over there so he can see the ring and see the matches. He came three or four times.
Jerry Lawler becoming “The King”:
Lawyer named himself the King. One day he and I were in a conversation and on the news they were talking about Elvis saying he was the King and Jerry said “hell why do they call him the king, I’ve sold out the Coliseum a hundred times more then he has. So I said that was a great idea and that he ought to tell Lance on Saturday that “I am the real king of Memphis” and he did.
Being the last place Andy Kaufman could go with his “Inter-Gender Angle”:
I was Andy’s last hope. He had called Verne Gagne, he had called the New York office with Vince and he just said that I would like to be a wrestler. I watched him on Taxi, you are not a wrestler and he said in my nightclub act I wrestle women and I am the inter-gender champion of the world. He said, I really think I could beat any woman and I said that we had women down here in Memphis that he can’t beat. He put up $5,000 of his own money to any woman that coul beat him. Well, that was too good to pass up so I said come on in. He had two or three matches, had great interviews and then one night there was a woman that was about to win his $5,000, so I sent Jerry (Lawler) down to the ring and said stop that woman from beating him. So he did and Andy was saying that he was going to sue and that we are interferring and then we did the program with him and Lawler and that got a lot of National attention.
Working with Randy Savage secretly to “invade” Memphis:
They (ICW) thought that was just a part of the act. So finally after everyone had lost all their money, Randy called me and said “you’ve been a real gentleman in this wrestling war and it was not personal it was just business and we are closing up the tents”. I said “Randy why don’t we make some money out of it”. Why don’t we not tell anybody except you and I knowing. You don’t tell the rest of your company and I don’t tell any of my men. Show up at Memphis TV and say our whole promotion is cowards and so they did and after they were there I told Lawler and whispered in his ear and said it’s all a big work go out and challenge him. So Jerry went out and then we booked it and they were sellouts for several months.
Working for Vince McMahon in the mid 90s while Vince was on trial:
Vince became my Sunday telephone buddy. He would call me every Sunday and we would talk literally for two hours and he knew that I was really close to his father. It was a bad time, bad publicity with Pat Patterson was out and on the heels of that, the government was charging him with steroid distribution. Vince does nothing by accident, he is a brilliant man but because I was so close to his Dad he finally told me one day that he was really worried that if “I had to go to jail, I have great people but nobody knows how to find all the pieces of the wrestling business and is there any way I can talk you into coming up here”. Of course at first I said no, but four or five Sundays later I said Yes.
Jerry Jarrett talks all about his journey into the wrestling industry, having more of a passion for booking over in ring competition, receiving paychecks from WWF and WCW at the same time, his heat with his son Jeff, founding TNA and so many more stories from the career of a lifetime.
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