After a week of the wrestling world waiting for news about Jerry Lawler’s health, today (February 14) his longtime business partner Jerry Jarrett is said to have passed away at the age of 80.
Dutch Mantle tweeted the news, w PW from the inside He says they confirmed it.
Sad news: I’ve been hearing reports of my friend and longtime Tennessee booker/promoter Jerry Jarrett passing away this morning. I last saw him last year when we did the VP Lands show in Atlanta. Very creative book. Condolences to Jeff/Deborah and the Jarrett family. pic.twitter.com/CYOguhr5KY
-. (DirtyDMantell) February 14, 2023
Jerry Jarrett was born in Nashville, and after his parents divorced, his mother began working in the Mid-America affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance, which covered Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. As Christine “Tiny” Jarrett’s responsibilities grew, his son became more involved. By the time he was fourteen, Jerry Jarrett was promoting shows.
He worked as a referee and wrestler in the 1960s and 1970s, holding several NWA regional belts throughout his career. Jarrett never strayed from the office, and in 1977 broke away from the NWA to found the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis. There, he and Lawler were known to sell out the Mid-South Coliseum every week and air a popular TV show on Saturday mornings.
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 very successful in NWA Mid-America folded in 1981, essentially ceding the territory to Jarrett, The King & CWA.
With Vince McMahon’s WWF expanding nationwide, Jarrett teamed with World Championship Wrestling from Texas to form the American Wrestling Association in 1989, which he wanted to take his own. WCCW withdrew from the partnership, and the USWA was forced to enter a talent exchange with the WWF. By 1995, with Memphis’ best days “rasslin'” in the back view, Jarrett sold his interest in the promotion to Lawler and another partner.
After spending the Monday Night War era as a WCW consultant, Jarrett returned to running his own promotion. He and his son, WWE Hall of Famer and current AEW superstar and CEO Jeff Jarrett, launched TNA in 2002. They quickly sold controlling interest to Panda Energy (owned by the Dixie Carter family), and Jarrett left the company in 2005. He left wrestling behind at that point, Focusing on construction and television distribution business.
It’s hard to overstate Jerry Jarrett’s influence on the wrestling business, but fortunately, his career is well documented in the books he’s written and several documentaries.
Please join us in sending condolences to Jeff Jarrett, his entire family, and everyone who is grieving the loss of the legendary Jerry Jarrett.