Jeff Jarrett has revealed how an NFL team was pivotal in securing the necessary funding from the Carter family to save TNA Wrestling.
The name Jarrett is synonymous with the wrestling business and also with the state of Tennessee. Using his considerable connections Jarrett got the NFL’s Tennessee Titans involved in an angle in early TNA. The intrigue of a national football team getting involved with an upstart wrestling promotion provided the company a lot of publicity and gained enough intrigue to secure a financial future for TNA.
Jeff Jarrett explained the situation on his My World podcast [first available early and ad-free at AdFreeShows.com], and he began by discussing the clip played all over sports news of the Titans in TNA.
“The Tennessee Titans, obviously a national franchise, and in the NFL, we had a clip of their players getting involved with our whole roster. It’s out of season for the NFL so they don’t have highlights to play, this is a clip that will immediately be a service to every NFL beat writer and talk show host and Sportscenter host. Not because it was such a great clip, although it really is a great clip, it’s because it was out of season, and in talk there’s only so much you can show with an out route in preseason. This was some action you could talk over. It was immediately newsworthy and Dixie [Carter] was the PR agent.”
With the company subsequently losing its main source of funding and looking at a bleak future, Jarrett turned to a PR firm to try and drum up interest, the woman he dealt with was none other than Dixie Carter who would become President of TNA.
Jeff Jarrett continued:
“You talk about faith or divine intervention or luck, just all of that. I was upfront about it and said ‘We lost our funding,’ but I immediately started turning over rocks from financials and I had that conversation with Dixie and Dixie said ‘Do you have any financial materials,’ and I said ‘In fact, we’re in the process of putting that together.’ She said ‘If you can get those to me, I think I might be able to help out.’ I had no idea who Panda [Energy] was, who Bob Carter was. Dixie Carter and Andy Barton ran Trifecta Entertainment and they were the PR agent for TNA Entertainment, that was the relationship.”
“I said ‘Sure, you mind sharing who you think?’ She went into how her father was in the energy business but they’re always looking for outside investments and [Dixie would] like to have [TNA]. ‘I’m going out to the ranch with my parents this weekend. I’m going out there and I’d like to be able to share something.’”
With a foot in the door of the Carter family, Jarrett pulled out all the stops in his and his father’s pitch to Bob Carter. Part of that was bringing along an article from the press highlighting the Tennessee Titans’ involvement with TNA.
Jarrett explains how Bob Carter couldn’t keep his eyes off of that:
“We gave them the pitch and as a part of that pitch was the physical copy of the Tennessean article of the Titans kicking ass. As we go through the meeting and after I spoke and my father spoke after we generally gave our – obviously you open up to the give and take of their attorneys asking questions and Dixie was given context and given her thoughts. It became an open discussion but Bob Carter, being the chairman, sat at the end of the table and he just sat back in his chair and I noticed him reading this [Tennessee Titans] article and flipping through it. Then he would take a break from it, listen in, and then when he would say something ‘Tell me a little bit more about this Titans deal.’”
“Bob kept referencing this Titans article and he was very enamored by it. Toward the end of the meeting, he got up, took the newspaper, put it under his arm and he got up and left. Next thing you know Bob sticks his head in, calls me out in the hall and the specifics went down with ‘Hey, we really like this, we still have to got to work through some things with the lawyers and all this but you don’t mind if we send you guys back on the private flight?’ I’ll never forget getting on that plane thinking to myself, ‘I’ll be damned, I can’t wait to tell Frank Wycheck this story.’”
Ultimately the Carter family invested in TNA, putting Dixie in charge of the company. In 2017 she resigned as Chairwoman following the takeover by Anthem Sports and Entertainment although Carter remains a minority shareholder in what is now IMPACT Wrestling.