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By Mike Johnson on 2013-12-23 14:44:23
TNA founder (and to the best of my knowledge, still a minority owner) Jeff Jarrett announced the following on his Twitter account:

"On December 22nd, 2013 I officially resigned from TNA Entertainment. Thanks to everyone involved for all the fantastic memories! #grateful" has confirmed the departure is legitimate and not part of a planned storyline.

Jarrett and his father Jerry founded TNA in 2002 with plans of running a weekly promotion with its TV series airing specifically as PPV.  When that initial concept didn't work (and initial investor Healthsouth pulled out), the majority ownership of the company was sold to Panda Energy.  Jery Jarrett was later bought out of his ownership by Panda as well.

Jarrett, a former WCW World champion and WWF Intercontinental champion, was the early top star for the promotion, working as the heel everything was built around.  Jarrett was heavily involved in all facets of the company, which at times left him open to criticism of how much he was featured.  Jarrett would always privately state that when someone else who could handle that role came into the company, he would back off.

That turned out to be true several years later when Kurt Angle came into the company and quickly became one of the top TNA attractions.  Jarrett remained on camera as an important part of storylines but began focusing more on his behind the scenes duties. 

With the exception of a time period where Jarrett took time off from the company out of respect due to then-personal issues between Kurt Angle and his ex-wife Karen (who Jarrett had begun dating and later married), Jarrett has always been one of the main cogs in the TNA machine.

Although Jarrett had not appeared on TNA TV in some time, he had been heavily involved with forging relationships with international promotions, including AAA in Mexico and the Great Muta's Wrestle-1 in Japan as well as trying to develop new TNA programming, such as Ring Ka King for Endemol in India and the All Wheels Wrestling TV pilot that meshed pro wrestling and car racing.

Since the demise of the Eric Bischoff-Hulk Hogan era of TNA, Jarrett had been more publicly involved in the company's behind the scenes at live events and TV tapings, returning to something of an agent's role and being heavily involved in production meetings.  There was some talk of Jeff and Karen Jarrett eventually returning to TV, but obviously, that is not to be.  The current TNA 365 social media initiative was something Jarrett pitched three years ago that was dropped when the Hogan/Bischoff regime moved into power.

As of this writing, there is no word what caused Jarrett's exit from the company he founded, which would make him a free agent for the first time since he began formulating plans to launch TNA.   Jarrett signed with WWF in 1993 and since that time, had bounced back between WCW and the WWF.  When WCW shut down in 2001, Jarrett spent some time working internationally and then went to work on building TNA after a fateful fishing trip with his father and Bob Ryder where the initial concept of the company was born.  

It should be noted that there has always been an undercurrent of politics within the company with certain aspects (and staff) being on the Jarrett side of things and others being on the Dixie Carter side, but there's no word whether there was some sort of blow-up between those two sides that would have been a factor here - a similar blow-up several years ago led to a number of staffers who would have been considered Jarrett's allies, including Dutch Mantel and Brian James, being let go from the company as agents.

To say this turn of events may be the most shocking of TNA's year (and perhaps even their history) is an understatement.   Jarrett (and his family, including his late wife Jill) put a lot of time and effort into launching and building TNA, especially during the early days of the TNA Asylum events.   From an emotional perspective, TNA was Jeff's baby.  It was important enough to him that even as his first wife was gravely ill with cancer, he was flying in to work the PPVs and TV tapings before heading right back home to Nashville.  The departure could not have been an easy break for any involved.

The DNA of TNA in many ways came from Jeff's own DNA but as 2013 ends, the promotion will have to move forward without it's original heart and soul. 

As fashionable as it is to call the promotion "Dixieland" now, without Jarrett, TNA wouldn't have ever existed to provide a forum for a lot of talented performers to make a living.  He put it all on the line for TNA to exist and now, it will have to exist without him.  

A number of TNA talents have already taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Jarrett for what he's given them.  Privately, many are already talking about what ripple effects the departure means for the long-term health of the company, because to them, the idea of Jarrett walking away from something he invested so much into, is mind-blowing.

Jarrett's next move will be very interesting to follow.  WWE is at the point where veteran workers are more valuable than ever (see Goldust).  AAA in Mexico has been using Jarrett regularly and has long talked of moving into the United States as a touring entity once the series debuts on the new El Rey Network.  The independent scene will be happy to pay for someone with Jarrett's pedigree.  Japan is more than willing to hire talents with a strong American name as well.  With having as much time out of the ring, domestically, as he has, Jarrett is a pretty fresh and rested name to the average fan as well.

On his Twitter yesterday, Jarrett wrote, "Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change." ~ Brian Tracy"

It appears Jarrett has chosen, indeed, to be that master of change.  2014 kicks off a new era for Jarrett and TNA both and it will interesting to see what that change brings.


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