How long had you batted around the idea of doing a podcast before finally jumping into it earlier this year?
Jarrett: I've shared this in different forms and fashions, but it's no secret that I've been a few days if you will. Telling stories in so many ways that fans don't understand in that they see us for a few minutes a week on TV and they'll show bits and pieces and then social media comes along... Being around for so many years, being in a car, you can either read a book, go to sleep or tell stories. I was born and raised on storytelling. That's a positive. The negative downside is that I thought forever nobody wants to hear those stories.
J.R. and a lot of folks' format today will be responding to Dynamite or Rampage or Raw or SmackDown and that's cool. I've been around the Conrad family a while, but when I heard the format and the thought process, when I watched "The Last Dance", it was the single-most creative game-changer to me and I was so engaged. Michael Jordan watching back old footage on a laptop and he responds, that was mesmerizing to me. Storytelling and podcasting and Conrad's format and I've got a few stories to tell. If somebody's going to hit play on our conversation, I want it to be engaging. When the red light comes on, give it your best effort. That's how I view "My World".
There always seemed to be a stigma surrounding WWE not hiring most TNA wrestlers for a long time despite how talented they were. As the founder of TNA Wrestling, why do you think it took so long for WWE to realize that wrestlers from TNA were worthy of being signed and utilized to their full potential?
Jarrett: We can clip down talent by talent, but Christian's a good buddy of mine. With a guy like him, there was no amount of money we could pay him to stay. He wanted to go back. A guy like AJ Styles, he knew he could go make more money. As TNA went along, and I'm talking about from 2002 to 2009 through 2012, he kept getting pay raises and he was building his name. It's really a plethora of factors that come in, but also, WWE has changed over time. They view things differently. As the TNA story goes, we held onto the talent when our revenues increased and our core of AJ and Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode never left.
AJ went to Japan. He didn't go from TNA to WWE. Samoa Joe went to NXT. Roode went to NXT. They didn't depart until, candidly, they had enough of TNA. That homegrown talent never got an opportunity to get on the market. I know there were feelers, but we did everything in our power to hold onto them. Guys like Truth, and he's timeless, he wanted to go back. Road Dogg was with us for a lot of years and he actually went to India and scouted talent and when he came home, he said, “Hey, man, I'm going back. I have an opportunity to make a lot more money.” It's on a case-by-case basis.
Interview continues on next page...