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Jeff Jarrett On Pitching The Ultimate Warrior To Join TNA In 2002, Reason For Adding Don West To Commentary Team

June 10, 2021 | Posted by Blake Lovell
Ultimate Warrior

On a recent edition of My World with Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Jarrett discussed pitching The Ultimate Warrior to join TNA in 2002, adding Don West to the commentary team, and much more. You can read his comments below. 

Jeff Jarrett on having conversations with The Ultimate Warrior about joining TNA in 2002: “I had a couple of conversations with Jim [Hellwig], but very top-level. And to put it in context, I had never done business with him. Our paths really never crossed in WWE. I was not at the WWE at that time. So, me and Jim’s paths never really crossed other than I met him on Thanksgiving Day in 1985. He was in there with Sting in the territory at that time. So, he was more of a business colleague and a friend of my dad’s in this relationship. I reached out and had some conversations, but my dad was doing all the true business negotiations and he was asking me different questions. [Warrior] was a tremendous name value and going into June of 2002, we were only looking at 26 shows, even if you made every show. So, Jim was only a four, five, six, or whatever, ‘Hey man, come give us a try.’ That was one of the first pitches, but I gave that pitch to a lot of folks over the first year, whether it was Curt Hennig, Rick Steiner, Hacksaw, or The Road Warriors. We’re not asking you to sign an exclusive deal. We’re not asking you anything other than we’re starting a company, do you want to come work a few shows? He obviously had the name value, so that was about the extent of my conversation with Jim.”

On the reason for adding Don West to the TNA commentary team: “Several factors. The WCW creative of Russo and Ferrara and others in the dying days, the Don West name was tabled. I think there was a conversation or two. Fast forward to who’s gonna be the broadcasters? So, when you look at the three that were on the premiere episode, you can easily know where I’m going with Mike Tenay and the NWA lineage and the professor and he’s gonna tell you who the champion was in 1948 and 1962 and how many title defense. So, Mike was a great play-by-play guy, great leader, and I’ve always been a huge fan of his work. He knows his stuff. When you look on the TNA side of things, Ed Ferrara had a Hollywood background. Tremendous creative mind, and he got bashed on doing the JR parody, but that wasn’t his call. He’s got a comedy mind and writer mind and all that. He was gonna give the yin to the yang for Mike. And Don made a fortune off making Michael Jordan memorabilia in the 90s, among other things. How did he do it? He’s a real sports fan and can tell you every starting lineup of the Chicago Cubs – true fact – dating back to the 50s.

“That’s why he and Mike hit it off from day one. They’re both superfans of sports, stats, and knowledge. I wanted something infectious, and I wanted something different. I wanted an alternative. And again, who’s the greatest pair of broadcasters in the modern area? [Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler]. You’re gonna duplicate them. Not even close. They were so good together. I wasn’t even gonna try to compete with those guys, so let’s go different. Let’s have a fan in the booth because you would never think Lawler or Ross were a fan. They were authority figures. So, Don in a three-man booth – that was one of the selling points to Don. It was, ‘Don, you don’t have to carry the load at all. Mike Tenay can carry the show, and Ed Ferrara knows how to guide you.’ Don was just gonna be there to be the voice of the fan. That was the vision of that three-man booth.”

If using any of the above quotes, please credit My World with Jeff Jarrett with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.