The Crow's Nest - Does TNA Need Jeff Jarrett to Return?
Mar 29, 2013 - 1:38:54 AM
1) Does TNA Need Jeff Jarrett to Return? (03/28/13)
Throughout my time writing TNA-based columns, I’ve certainly had opinions that clash heavily with some of my readers. Even the simple fact that I’ve remained so loyal to a company that has given us so much inconsistency with its booking quality seems to rub some people the wrong way, and I’ve certainly had my sanity called into question on more than one occasion. I’m not complaining though. In fact, I welcome differing opinions as it often forces me to think about my own stance and, in some cases, changes them because I was presented a line of logic I had never previously considered. Whether it was back when I was still singing the praises of Ken Anderson, claiming that Bobby Roode was a future main event superstar, or recently my multiple tirades against the Aces & Eights storyline, I’ve butted heads with many of you, and while opinions don’t always get changed, I enjoy the discussions regardless.
But there is one topic in particular that I seem to get called on more than almost any other: my seemingly unwavering fandom of Jeff Jarrett. I was never a huge fan of his in WCW or WWF, and in all honesty I never really cared enough about him to have an opinion either way. He was kind of just...there. I was still very young during the early parts of his career, so I have to assume that I just could not connect with his character enough to like or dislike it.
But that all changed when TNA was created.
I’ve followed TNA from the very beginning, this much is common knowledge at this point. The fact that Jeff Jarrett was involved in the product meant nothing to me at first, until I started to pay attention. This was an entirely different Double-J than I had ever seen before. He was fighting with a new kind of intensity, almost as if he had something to prove. In fact, I think that’s exactly what it was. I don’t think many people had ever taken him seriously as a wrestler before, regardless of his multiple pushes to the top in WCW, and he knew that TNA was his last chance at salvation. Jarrett had to prove to the world that he could hang with the best of them, and that’s exactly what he did.
There’s more than a few to choose from, but Jarrett’s lengthy series with Kurt Angle sticks out in my mind as having some of the best matches in the history of the company, as well as some of the best moments period. Perhaps a lot of that can be attributed to the real life tension between the two, Jarrett did take his wife after all, but all that matters is those two delivered in a big way.
The simple fact is, without Jeff Jarrett there would be no TNA. I know some of you will make a comment along the lines of “TNA SUCKS I WISH IT WAS NEVER MADE” and I respect your opinion, even though it’s extremely misguided and essentially wrong. But that’s a topic for another column.
Recently, a bit of news came out regarding Jarrett’s status with the company. I’ve been waiting for news like this for some time now as Jarrett has not appeared on-screen in over a year after being “fired” following a loss to Jeff Hardy. I knew he was going on to run the new TNA affiliate known as Ring Ka King in India, but I figured once that wrapped up he’d be back to seek his revenge. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and with each passing moment I was losing hope that I’d ever get to see his return. So when I saw the headline regarding his status, a small spark of hope came alive inside me.
Sadly, that spark was quickly extinguished by none other than Eric Bischoff and Bruce Pritchard.
If you missed the report, essentially it said that even with the upcoming “One Night Only” PPV events that TNA will be airing, some of them revolving around TNA nostalgia, Jeff Jarrett would not be returning anytime soon. Apparently Bischoff and Pritchard felt so strongly about it, that they didn’t book him for any of the “One Night Only” shows, and my impression after reading the story is that it wasn’t ever even really considered.
My initial reaction was one of disgust. How could TNA hold nostalgia-based PPVs and neglect to include the guy who founded the company? How could they not bring him back when, not only is he the founder of the company, TNA is in need of a veteran that can actually go in the ring?
Not long ago, I was pretty convinced Jarrett would be revealed as the leader of Aces & Eights. It just seemed too perfect. A group of thugs, seemingly hell-bent on destroying TNA, made up of wrestlers that had never really received a shot at the big time? It just seemed logical to me that Jarrett would be leading the group as a way to get revenge on the people who “fired” him from his own company. Not only that, but he would provide the group with the kind of leadership that can only come from having been around the block a few times, as well as being an instant boost of credibility given his main event history. Obviously that is not how things played out, and I’m completely okay with the route TNA took with Bully Ray being revealed as the President, but the second that possibility was taken away from me, I started to wonder again. That would have been a perfect opportunity to bring him back, and with TNA going in a different direction, how would they craft his return now?
After I got over my initial displeasure with Bischoff and Pritchard, I started to wonder about something completely different. Something I had never even considered before.
Does TNA really need to bring Jeff Jarrett back at all?
Honestly, at this point, I don’t think they do. TNA is so loaded with some amazing, young talent right now, and it seems as though they’re finally heading in the right direction, at least with some of them. It seems as though TNA has finally realized that they need to build a roster of new stars; guys like Magnus that can help bring the company to greater heights. Just look at the TNA main event right now, it’s more crowded than ever before. There are a lot of names on the TNA roster that could believably be World Champion right now, and more importantly than that, there are so many different characters on the roster that the storyline possibilities are endless. I’m not saying TNA is in perfect shape, don’t get me wrong, but they’re in a much better position than they have been in a long time.
Jarrett, as valuable as he can be to the in-ring product, might slow down some of that progress. His logical first feud is against Jeff Hardy, considering it’s Hardy’s fault he was “fired” in the first place, but Hardy is tied up in the World Title picture right now. Is he all of a sudden going to stop chasing the belt and hope we forget that he’s pissed about losing it to a guy he thought was a friend? Alright, so maybe he feuds with Sting, since Sting was the GM of Impact when Jarrett was “fired”. Nope, Sting is busy with Aces & Eights / Hulk Hogan business right now. What about Kurt Angle? Those guys have history, so obviously that would make sense right? Wrong. While I would not be upset to see those two wrestle again, it would make very little sense since again, Angle is currently involved with another storyline.
“But Crow,” I can hear someone saying. “What if TNA just waits a while and brings him back when one of those guys isn’t busy anymore?”
Fair question. Sure, TNA could simply wait and bring him back later. But the problem there comes back around to my original question: does TNA need it to happen?
No, TNA does not need Jeff Jarrett to return. The product is strong right now without him, and while Jarrett could certainly contribute as a wrestler, there’s more than enough talent to fill the void left by his absence. Guys like Magnus and Matt Morgan are ready to step up into the main event for the first time. Guys like AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Austin Aries are always ready to return to the main event when they’re needed. On top of that, Bully Ray is finally at the top of the company, and others such as Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy are permanently at main event status. If Jeff Jarrett were to return, one of those names would have to sacrifice their spot, because there’s no way he could ever be involved with anything other than a top feud. As much as I’d like to see Jarrett return, sacrificing somebody else is just not worth it. Had he been revealed as the leader of Aces & Eights it might be different, based purely on how perfectly it made sense, but other than that? No thank you.
I’m not saying he should never return. I’m just saying it shouldn’t happen yet. Jeff Jarrett is the reason TNA even exists, and he deserves one more run with the company, even if it’s just for a while to end his career on a high note. The man is 45 now with a wife and multiple kids, and as light as TNA’s schedule is compared to WWE, you’d have to imagine he’s getting ready to settle down and enjoy life with his family. His dream of creating a major wrestling promotion has been a success, almost certainly a bigger success than he ever could have dreamed possible, and he should be happy with that. If Jeff Jarrett never returns to Impact, I’ll be sad, but I’ll understand. The product will go on without him, as it has done for the last 437 days.
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