Influential and legendary wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett died recently at the age of 80 as the result of esophageal cancer.
Remembrances and condolences have poured in from all over for the made Memphis one of the best and hottest territories in the world during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but none more powerful than the one his son Jeff posted on Twitter with the hashtag “Dad” this morning (Feb. 15).
As many fathers & sons do, Jerry & Jeff’s relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing. Criticism of perceived nepotism, disagreements over how to run TNA after they founded it together, and Jeff’s struggles with addiction all played a part in their not speaking for years. Thankfully, the reconciled in 2015.
Like all wrestling families, their relationship was storyline fodder at times. During a 1990s angle where the Jarretts were feuding with the Armstrongs (namely “Bullet” Bob & Road Dogg, who was then Jesse James Armstrong), Jerry brought his son back into the USWA with the Rudyard Kipling poem, “If”.
Jeff got emotional talking about it on his My World podcast last year:
That provides some context for how Jeff started publicly saying goodbye to his father, with this John Greenleaf Whittier poem:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit-
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit
Whittier’s words may have influenced Jeff to go ahead with his planned match on Dynamite tonight in Laredo, Texas. AEW announced last week Jarrett would team with Jay Lethal, Satnam Singh & Sonjay Dutt to face The Acclaimed, Billy Gunn & Orange Cassidy this Wednesday, and Tony Khan told Busted Open Jeff “wants to wrestle tonight and push forward.”
Our hearts will be with Double-J tonight as they continue to be with him and everyone dealing with the loss of Jerry Jarrett.