INTERVIEW: Jeff Jarrett recalls Santos Escobar in AAA, talks possible in-ring return, ‘My World’ podcast

Andrew Thompson chatted with Jeff Jarrett about the 'My World' podcast, Santos Escobar, Jeremy Borash, Jarrett's time in AAA and more

Co-founder of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and WWE Hall Of Famer Jeff Jarrett is in the midst of his next venture which is the ‘My World with Jeff Jarrett’ podcast that is co-hosted by Conrad Thompson. Jarrett is several episodes into the podcast and one of his recent conversational topics was about Owen Hart, who Jarrett formed a friendship with in the 90s in WWF/E.

After departing WWE in 1999, it would not be until 2018 that Jarrett made his return to the company and was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. I had the opportunity to chat with Jarrett and he explained what it has been like for him to be back under the WWE umbrella for the past several years. Jarrett recently celebrated his 35th year in pro wrestling and talked about the talent level in wrestling improving throughout his tenure.

You know last month in April, I celebrated my 35th year in the industry and looking at it through the lens of that perspective and everything, one thing’s for sure in sports-entertainment, never say never. It’s just that simple. So in the evolution of things from my early days of the TNA days — I mean territory days and then obviously WWF and then WCW and then back to WWF and back to WCW and the TNA days and then IMPACT days and all points in-between Japan and everything and to see where the business has grown and to now look at how massive, not just the WWE but all of professional wrestling and Conrad [Thompson’s] Ad Free [Shows] team, I call it a faction. There’s five Hall Of Famers, the Executive Director of WWE being Bruce [Prichard] of talent — I mean creative. So Bruce Prichard and then you have Tony Schiavone, the lead voice on AEW so when you — and we’re all a part of this industry that I grew up a part of and to see the diversity of talent and Monday Night Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK, specials done around the world and you know, AEW just added a third hour. So just the growth of the industry worldwide, it still amazes me from where it was 35 years ago and then back into my father and grandmother’s days. The growth is just incredible, it really is so, things — and I’ll say this, I’ll finally answer your question. The talent just gets better and better and better.

Along with the likes of Fit Finlay and TJ Wilson, Jarrett works as a producer for WWE. He was asked what talents in WWE does he think could reach the next level once the company gets back on the road in July. Jarrett isn’t sure how things will pan out as far as reactions go but he’s excited to see for himself.

You know, that’s a loaded question. I’ll say that because you never know [what the reaction could be once WWE starts touring again]. This industry, the professional wrestling industry going back on the road, there’s never been a time like this for it to go dark in last year of March so it’s 15, 16 months. For no crowds essentially [for] talent to [perform in front of] so it’s gonna be interesting to hear fans respond and that’s something that you know, you would have never dreamed certain times during my entire career that this guy would get a reaction, this guy didn’t quite get the reaction that you expected so that’s a loaded question. You say which talent and this and that. I think it’s gonna be very exciting to see.

It has been two years since Jeff last wrestled. He took on Dr. Wagner Jr. at So Cal Pro’s Anniversary show. He also wrestled for AAA and ICW in Scotland in 2019 but his last match for WWE was in early February ’19 against Elias.

Jarrett competed in the 2019 men’s Royal Rumble and he had a spot in the match with Elias. Now in his 50s, Jarrett is not wrestling consistently but still keeps himself in shape. While speaking about the possibility of returning to the ring, Jarrett said he always keeps his guitar on him.

I’ve always got a guitar ready, always. So yeah, especially during the pandemic with no travel involved essentially. I double downed on my workouts and it’s something I love. It’s almost — it’s a hobby as well, staying in shape but I love it but yeah, I will — I’ll say this: I’ve always got a guitar close by.

Dating back to 2004, Jeff Jarrett has worked with AAA in Mexico. He held the company’s Mega Championship and won their signature Rey de Reyes tournament. Jarrett has also had the opportunity to compete at AAA’s Triplemania and Heroes Inmortales events.

Back in 2018, he shared the ring with current NXT talent Santos Escobar. Escobar and Jarrett’s relationship dates back past 2018 and Jarrett spoke highly of the former NXT Crusierweight Champion. He feels that it’s only a matter of time before Escobar is a part either the Raw or SmackDown roster[s].

So I’ll take you back even a prior year. I’ve known him [Santos Escobar] a long time but in 2017, I brought him to IMPACT, Global Force [Wrestling]. I brought him as a part of that. He’s bilingual which is huge. He understands both psychologies. He’s got a family lineage, his father, so he obviously grew up in lucha libre but he also understands the American style, and we’re buddies, we’re amigos but I cannot say enough good things about him as a performer. The sky’s the limit for him. He’s very articulate in both languages and so, I really think in 2022 and I’ll just say this: A year from now when you bring up his name, I think me and you would have a different conversation because I think the sky’s the limit for that guy and I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity that he’s getting today but I can see him being on the Raw and/or SmackDown roster sooner rather than later.

At the Heroes Inmortales event in 2018, Jarrett headlined that show with Dr. Wagner Jr. in a hair versus hair match. Jarrett had his head shaved for the second time in his career and he looks back fondly on that moment. He joked about never being one to complain about a good pay day as well.

You know, that’s one of those deals that I’ve wrestled in Mexico dating back to 2002, 2003, 2004 and so a long history with that promotion [AAA] and the family, the Roldan family and it goes without saying, it’s like a — in a weird, wacky way, it was almost like a bucket list item. Hair versus hair matches and you can do one in America and there’s obviously been those through the years and I lost a hair versus hair match at Madison Square Garden, so that was a highlight memory but to do one with a legend like Rey Wagner, in Mexico, at one of their big five events, it was in a lot of ways an honor, a bucket list, a nice payday. I’m always about a payday, as we all know so, I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw that in there as well but no, it’s something that I’ve — I take great pride in my career in Mexico because it’s been such a big part of my career.

For decades, Jeff Jarrett has been close with Ron Killings, known in WWE as R-Truth. Truth is a former two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion along with being the first recognized black NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Truth has tallied up 24 years in wrestling and is still actively featured on WWE programming in the 24/7 Title segments.

Jarrett heaped praise onto Truth for his longevity and keeping himself in the best shape possible. He commented on the argument/debate that WWE could be doing more with Truth outside of the 24/7 Title. Jeff feels that Truth is very valuable to WWE and he is a credit to the company because of how many individuals were/are able to get TV time because of Truth’s 24/7 Title segments.

It’s no secret me and Ronnie [R-Truth] are buddies and always have been, always will be. We’re tight. I mean he was NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion in the early days of TNA and he wanted to be a rapper first, so music is in his blood. But at his very core, he’s a performer, he’s an entertainer and Ron’s a smart dude and as genetically gifted as he is and I’m not just talking about he doesn’t age, but his physical skillset is still, if not at the top of his game, it’s right up there but Ronnie also knows that it’s a young man’s game as well. So, to the flip side of that, we’ll call it a debate or argument or point is at Ronnie’s 20-year career, he’s still actively involved in a weekly episodic television show and this is a young man’s game and it is so should he be in the quote-unquote world title picture, I.C. Title picture? No, probably not, but he is such a diverse character, he really gives back because if you’re in a pre-tape or a scene or a match with Ronnie and look how many people — the 24/7 [Title] and Ronnie’s character involvement, look at how many people over the last year-and-a-half, two years that Ronnie quote-unquote has given airtime to so he gives back to the business by A, wanting to do it. Ronnie [has] a saying, he’s made some fat checks over the years but he’s still giving back and entertaining and his ability to connect with the audience and really anybody on camera with him in any scene, their presence on camera and Ronnie takes them to another level so, you know, as a performer you don’t — unless you’ve really been in the industry, you don’t really realize how valuable Ronnie is but man, Truth has got a skillset that only he ever has really presented. I’ve never seen a talent like him and I’d love for somebody — you don’t really see that kind of talent because of his longevity, his physical skill set, his connectivity and really, his ability to work with anybody is quite frankly an anomaly in so many ways.

Back in the Fall of 2017, Jarrett took what was described as a “leave of absence” from his role in Global Force Wrestling. A series of personal events led to IMPACT Wrestling distancing themselves from the GFW brand and solely being known as IMPACT. Jarrett talked about that trying period of his life and how he’s grown since then.

We don’t have enough time to talk about that [his growth from 2017 to now]. I’m incredibly blessed but I, you know, when I look back at my entire career, there’s always ups and downs but 2017, October, November, December was an incredibly reformative, transformative process in my life but it was a real dark time but the person that I was then to what I am now, I’ve got a sense of peace and happiness and excitement of where things are going. I would have never dreamed when Conrad [Thompson], when he presented the podcast, I really looked at it as, ‘Okay, I’m going to sit down, do a podcast.’ The doors that it’s already opened in four weeks, five weeks have blown me away. Multiple projects that I have going on, not just domestically but internationally and so, to specifically, the growth that I’ve had as a human being and I continue to grow everyday. I work on [me] every morning from about 5 to 7:30 or 8 in the morning, sometimes 8:30, I work on Jeff every morning and it’s real personal growth and personal awareness and the fruits of that continue to be seen in my life on a daily level.

Jeff Jarrett is/was in WWE with AJ Styles, Eric Young, Samoa Joe, Robert Roode and a number of former TNA/IMPACT Wrestling alum. Another one of those alumni names is Jeremy Borash who helps WWE on the production side.

Jeff stated that Borash is doing great in WWE and he feels lucky to have worked alongside Borash and the listed talents for so many years.

He’s [Jeremy Borash] doing great and when I’m asked, whether it’s about Jeremy Borash or AJ Styles or Samoa Joe or those formative TNA years, Eric Young, Bobby Roode, I could go down that whole list and they say, ‘How do you feel about their success? Does it make you proud?’ I think in so many different ways, yes, I’m the proud, crazy uncle or whatever it may be but I’m also very reflective on just how lucky and blessed I was during that time. To be able to work with these guys and be around them day in and day out, what a nucleus of guys that we had, both in front of the camera and behind so I feel lucky as I sit here today that, you know, that AJ Styles was such a enormous part of the roster, that Jeremy Borash was such an enormous part of the TNA team and wore so many different hats from producer to editor to cameraman to social media, everything, ring announcer, live event ring announcer. I feel very lucky.

‘My World with Jeff Jarrett’ can be heard at this link and all updates concerning the podcast can be found via the official Twitter page for the show.

Jeff can be found on Twitter and Instagram @RealJeffJarrett. The full interview with Jeff and myself can be watched via the player at the top of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.

About Andrew Thompson 4228 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.