When Jeff and Jerry Jarrett – longtime Tennessee wrestling fixtures – started their TNA promotion eight years ago, they were considered more than a little nutty.
A couple of years earlier, the behemoth World Wrestling Entertainment gobbled up its major competitor – World Championship Wrestling – essentially making itself the only national professional wrestling promotion, relegating smaller companies to regional promotions that were lucky if they got on cable-access television.
But the Jarretts were savvy – in the days before cable-wrestling and pay-per-views, father Jerry ran the major Tennessee promotion, which produced stars like Jerry Lawler – and Jeff was a successful wrestler in his own right.
They started small – shows at Nashville’s fairgrounds, broadcast pay-per-view only or on-demand over the Internet (now commonplace, but at that time eyebrow-raising). TNA built a small but loyal following, drawn by the novelty of a hexagonal ring and cult performers.
Eventually, TNA scored a weekly spot on the Spike network, and regularly toured the country – and overseas – with its performers.
The woman behind it all is CEO Dixie Carter. With a