Two bits of news last week, seemingly unrelated, maybe still unrelated, but more on that in a minute. First, to the two bits of news. One, that Toby Keith was leading a group negotiating with Panda Energy to buy TNA. Two, that Jim Ross had a meeting with a “major sports concern,” and that whatever he and the major sports concern had talked about, it “could be big … and fun!”
Could be unrelated. Or could be, according to Konnan, on his most recent podcast, that Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett are going to start a new promotion. And that ol’ JR, who happened to have dinner with Keith last week in New Orleans, while Ross was in town ahead of the Oklahoma-Alabama matchup in the Sugar Bowl, is going to be the third leg of that rather interesting stool.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) January 1, 2014
It makes a lot more sense that Keith, if he really wants to get into the wrestling business, would do it starting from scratch rather than buying TNA, which doesn’t have a lot to offer a prospective buyer at this point. OK, it has a basic-cable TV deal, but that’s it. The money burn that has been ongoing at TNA the past couple of years has zapped the roster and taken the sting out of creative, which hasn’t yet come to the realization that Dixie Carter should be allowed nowhere near a live mic, much less given one every week to try to play a very, very poor man’s version of the evil Mr. McMahon.
No doubt Keith engaged his good friend Jarrett in his exploration as part of his due diligence. Jarrett, still a part-owner of TNA, could have told Keith straight up that there was nothing with TNA worth investing in. And anyway, why invest in a failed product, when we could start from scratch?
Enter JR, fresh off his long stint in WWE as on-air Hall of Fame announcer and behind-the-scenes talent-relations stalwart. Ross knows everybody in the business, and he hired just about everybody who matters in it at one time or another.
So let’s bring Jeff Jarrett, a key player in TNA’s original rise from small promotion to weekly national-TV product, and Jim Ross, with his reputation and Rolodex, along with Toby Keith, who apparently has enough money and willingness to spend it to get people’s attention, and start a new promotion.
Not that it’s a wise thing at all to invest any amount of money in wrestling, if what you do is hope to have any money left at the end of the project. (Jim Crockett, Paul Heyman … really, everybody in the business outside of Vince McMahon.)
But that said, stranger things have happened. Toby Keith, Jeff Jarrett and Jim Ross makes about as much sense as anything else that we’ve ever seen tried in pro wrestling.
Column by Chris Graham