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Legendary promoter Jerry Jarrett has died

Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Jarrett at Starrcast 2022
Classic Memphis Wrestling on Facebook

A week after the wrestling world awaited news about the health of Jerry Lawler, it’s being reported today (Feb. 14) that his longtime business partner Jerry Jarrett has died at age 80.

Dutch Mantell tweeted the news, and PW Insider says they’ve confirmed it.

Jerry Jarrett was born in Nashville, and after his parents divorced his mother began working for the National Wrestling Alliance’s Mid-America territory that covered Tennessee, Kentucky & Alabama. As Christine “Teeny” Jarrett’s responsibilities grew, he son got more involved. By the time he was 14, Jerry Jarrett was promoting shows.

He worked as a referee and a wrestler in the 1960s and 1970s, and held several regional NWA tag belts throughout his career. Jarrett never strayed far from the office, though, and in 1977 broke away from the NWA to found the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis. There, he and Lawler rose to fame selling out the Mid-South Coliseum every week and airing a popular Saturday morning television show.

Every established act passed through Memphis during the CWA’s heyday, and Jarrett & Lawler helped acts like Hulk Hogan & Steve Austin rise to prominence. They were so successful NWA Mid-America folded in 1981, essentially ceding the territory to Jarrett, The King & CWA.

With Vince McMahon’s WWF expanding nationwide, Jarrett teamed up with World Class Championship Wrestling out of Texas to form the United States Wrestling Association in 1989, which he wanted to take national himself. WCCW pulled out of the partnership, and the USWA was forced to enter into a talent exchange with the WWF. By 1995, with the best days of Memphis “rasslin” in the rearview, Jarrett sold his stake in the promotion to Lawler and another partner.

After spending the Monday Night War era as a WCW consultant, Jarrett got back to running his own promotion. He and his son, WWE Hall of Famer and current AEW star & executive Jeff Jarrett, launched TNA in 2002. They quickly sold a controlling share to Panda Energy (owned by Dixie Carter’s family), and the elder Jarrett left the company in 2005. He left wrestling behind at that point, focusing on construction and television distribution businesses.

It’s hard to overestimate Jerry Jarrett’s influence on the wrestling business, but thankfully his career has been well documented in books he’s written and numerous documentaries.

Please join us in sending condolences to Jeff Jarrett, his entire family, and everyone who’s mourning the loss of the legendary Jerry Jarrett.

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