Jeff Jarrett, Dave Brown remember Jerry Jarrett

Family and friends gathered on Tuesday to celebrate the life of the late Jerry Jarrett in Tennessee.

The service included wrestling luminaries in attendance and speeches from son Jeff Jarrett, and a long-time Memphis weatherman and wrestling broadcaster Dave Brown.

Jeff fought tears throughout his eulogy for his father reflecting on his own struggles in 2017 when he hit rock bottom and sought treatment. He noted that there was a saying in sobriety that, “the good news is you get your feelings back. The bad news is you get your feelings back.”

Jarrett spoke about how his father was largely self-taught in so many areas and always had a book in his hand with Jarrett sharing quotes from Teddy Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling.

Dave Brown gave an overview of Jarrett’s contribution as a professional wrestling promoter and splitting from Nick Gulas to launch Continental in 1977 with the aid of area star Jerry Lawler while leaving Channel 13 (the ABC affiliate). Brown explained that the initial hope was to stay on the channel and replace Gulas’ territory, but the fear of a lawsuit forced Jarrett to seek an alternative television station.

Brown noted that the CBS affiliate was approached first, and had no interest in professional wrestling. They landed on the NBC affiliate WMC Channel 5. Lance Russell, who was program director at Channel 13, gave his notice to join Jarrett’s group and they informed Channel 5 that they could also deliver Dave Brown, which Brown stated was the first he heard of that aspect that his services were offered. Russell and Brown had several weeks to wrap up at Channel 5 and therefore, were on the first several episodes on WMC.

Gulas also had the right to run the Mid-South Coliseum leaving Jarrett to run the Cook Convention Center (which was the former Ellis Auditorium).

Brown said at one point in the ‘80s, they hit an 80 share in the market, meaning that of all television sets on at the time, 80 percent were watching wrestling on Channel 5.

Brown also shared a phone conversation he had with Jerry prior to the pandemic where Jerry was interested in getting back into wrestling and wanted to know what Brown thought because Jerry’s wife thought he was crazy. Brown thought his wife was right and was glad Jerry didn’t attempt a return to promote.

Due to his recent stroke, Jerry Lawler could not attend the celebration of life but sent a message, which was read by Brown:

Jerry Jarrett, where do I even begin?

A lifetime of memories with not only my long-time business partner but my friend. Our friendship goes all the way back to 1970 when I first got started in the business. We shared out love for wrestling and carried Memphis wrestling from 1977 through 1997 together. Jerry Jarrett put Memphis on the map and brought so many superstars through our territory. The Rock, the Ultimate Warrior, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Sting, and so many more.

Jerry brought entertainment to the wrestling world, and without him, there would never have been two of my most memorable moments in my personal wrestling career. One, my title as the AWA world champion, and secondly, my rivalry with Andy Kaufman, which is still talked about to this day and will be forever talked about all thanks to Jerry.

He was not only influential to me but to the entire wrestling world as one of the best wrestling promoters around and I am truly thankful for the many memories that we shared.

My condolences and love to Deborah and the entire Jarrett family. I wish I could be there with you all today.

Rest easy, my friend.  

POST Wrestling has an obituary on Jerry Jarrett, who passed away last week at the age of 80.

About John Pollock 5524 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.