Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
about something is usually gained after a great amount of experience
and close examination. It not only encompasses time but it also pulls
in memories, good and bad. It can make a person look honestly at what
brings them to a certain place in time. It also can serve as a compass
in dealing with what lies ahead.
to it's longtime secretive nature, professional wrestling has only a
handful of people who have the perspective on where the business of
professional wrestling has been over the past thirty-five years and
where it might be going in the next thirty-five years. One person with
a deep perspective on where the business has been and where he
believes it may be headed is Hendersonville, Tennessee's Jerry
of today's wrestling fans understand that Jerry Jarrett is the father
of Jeff Jarrett, one of the WWF's and WCW's top stars of the past
decade. Fans who have been around a bit longer recognize Jerry Jarrett
as the owner of what came to be known as the Memphis territory. Fans
with longer memories recall Jerry Jarrett as a young, blonde junior
heavyweight wrestling star who formed legendary tag teams with
Tennessee area mat legends Jackie Fargo and Tojo Yamamoto.
those unfamiliar with Jarrett's career it is detailed some in the
archives here at Kayfabe Memories. Jarrett's in-ring career ran
parallel for a number of years with his behind-the-scenes work as
booker, the creative force behind the nightly and weekly wrestling
shenanigans. It also runs parallel with the career of Jerry Lawler for
many years, as Lawler was the promotion's top star. Jarrett's own
roots in the business stretch back to include not only his own mother,
Christine Jarrett, but also Roy Welch, a member of the famous and
influential Welch family and Nick Gulas, Welch's partner who with
Welch ran wrestling for years in a large chunk of the southern United
States. In the early 1970s, while also a star wrestler in the area and
working for Gulas-Welch, Jerry and his mother, Christine opened up
weekly wrestling shows in Louisville, Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
and Evansville, Indiana.
would work his way into a business partnership with Nick Gulas. Along
the way, Jarrett rubbed elbows and banged heads with most of the major
players of wrestling over the past thirty-five years. He often
attended the yearly NWA conventions where wheeling and dealing about
the various territories as well as deciding who would represent the
organization by wearing the prestigious NWA championship were often
conducted in smoky rooms by the powerful players in the business.
Jarrett also, however, busted his rear end working cities and small
towns in the territory as a promoter to get his own career going and
quietly during the first half of the 1970s, Jarrett became a major
player in the business. Despite the partnership with Nick Gulas,
differences popped up and the two split in 1977. At this point Jerry
Jarrett opened his own company.
the 1980s, as the business faced changes, Jarrett worked to rally the
promotional troops when Vince McMahon, Jr. began in earnest his
national expansion in 1984. Realizing the old guard was so
disorganized they could not compete against McMahon, Jarrett retreated
to his home base and buckled down to keep his territory alive. As the
years moved on, the territories fell by the wayside.
Jarrett's first foray in the business into the glory years of what many people
refer to as the Memphis promotion, anchored by TV hosts Lance Russell and Dave
Brown and starring such stars as Tojo Yamamoto, Jackie Fargo and Jerry the King
Lawler, the promotion became one that provided fans with action and suspense.
Behind the scenes during that time was Jerry Jarrett.
Jarrett also worked in the 1990s at various times with the WWF and WCW in
various advisory roles. In 1995 though, Jarrett left the business. He sold the
territory that was the last remaining territory from wrestling's regional
territories days. The Memphis territory had withstood the national expansion of
Vince McMahon's WWF and Jim Crockett's Charlotte, North Carolina-based promotion
of the mid-1980s and later Ted Turner's WCW until Jarrett sold his half of the
promotion in 1995 to co-owner Jerry Lawler. Shortly after that sale, the
territory with roots stretching back through not only Jerry Jarrett but also
Buddy Fuller, Nick Gulas and the Welch family folded. Jarrett would enter the
construction business in the Nashville area. More...