Thursday, November 15, 2012

From the Beginning.....

It began on a fishing trip, if you'll believe it. Just a couple of guys, fishing poles, and some conversation about what comes next. WCW had closed their doors and merged with the enemy, as it were, and that summer defined all that would come next....

Jeff and Jerry Jarrett and Bob Ryder, who went out that day began to talk about a vision. Ryder had pitched the idea of a wrestling promotion that would need no television backing as a start-up, but would rather be broadcast live on PPV with a modest budget and demanding meager funding from fans. At a mere 10 dollars per week as the guideline, NWA-TNA had been conceptualized on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2001.

Over the course of the six months to follow, Jeff Jarrett would pitch the idea without a tape of a working format of any kind to PPV providers. Those now involved in the concept by this time would put together the funding and send out feelers to outside investors in the startup venture. His negotiations would pay off and on June 19 of 2002, TNA would showcase their very first PPV, but nothing would begin as planned.....

In a dark match, a wrestler named Cheex broke the top ring rope during the match. The two competitors finished the match, but with little time before the countdown of the show, an emergency ring crew worked to repair the ring in time. Audibles were sent to Mike Tenay and Don West, who were announcing that night and the format of the show HAD to be changed to give the ring repair team a chance to make the finishing touches before a 6 man tag team matchup was to take place. With NO time to spare, the ring crew ran off camera just as the opening pyro went off. Nevertheless, the decision had been made to switch the introduction of wrestling legends in attendance that night from after the tag to BEFORE the tag match as an opener to the show. Many in attendance would not be able to tell what had gone awry just minutes before.

In what would go down to be one of the best inaugural showings of an independent wrestling promotion, TNA would go on for 6 months before hitting a financial hiccup. In a mad flurry of emergency negotiations, a former neighbor of Jeff Jarrett would find their way back into the company of the TNA Founder. Dixie Carter, who only a couple of years before, lived next to Jeff Jarrett in a small suburb of Dallas, Texas had struck up a conversation briefly with Jarrett, not knowing what lay ahead in the years that would follow. When Carter and Jarrett were reacquainted, on going conversations revealed that her family might want to get involved in the business and, in the process, Dixie became the TNA President. In the next few months, Dixie, in true class, served as the primary make-up artist for the commentary team as well as the ring announcer at the time, Jeremy Borash.

Critics gave TNA 6 months to live at the time, then a year, then two years, then five, and now, with 10 years under their belt, the critics have stopped counting and with good reason. Slammiversary of this year served as a great big "Stone Cold" salute to those doubters who sought their ends in the early days of the Nashville based promotion. Now, with Impact broadcasting around the world and a lucrative cable contract lasting well into 2014, there is no doubt in the mind of this man that TNA in bound for bigger things.


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