Stuck In A Lift
Ahead of the AEW All In London, Jeff Jarrett tells us why you’ll never catch him asking for “no green M&Ms” on his rider
This August, tens of thousands of wrestling fans will pack into Wembley Stadium to watch AEW All In London, one of the UK’s biggest ever celebrations of the sport. This will be the first time Wembley Stadium has hosted professional wrestling in 30 years, and the first time that AEW will touch down on British soil. For Jeff Jarrett, it all goes beyond any personal excitement – he can’t wait to see what this does for AEW in the UK.
“You know, I’m a third-generation promoter,” says Jarrett. “My grandmother did everything but wrestle. But she promoted, and my father wrestled and promoted. I think history will be made. I think it’s an incredible opportunity. I’ve wrestled all over the world. But to get the opportunity to perform in Wembley Stadium on the 100th anniversary… It’s a historic night, there’s no doubt about it.”
The event is also expected to draw plenty of fans who have never watched the sport live before. According to Jarrett, they’re in for something magical.
“I think we’re going to have an enormous cross section of fans,” he says. “Obviously the fans of AEW, which has such a strong presence on ITV. But I also think, going back to the days of World of Sports, second and third generation fans… That’s something about professional wrestling, that it connects families. It’s literally a three generational form of entertainment. So you’re gonna see people from all walks of life at a wrestling event. It is such a diverse audience. I’m proud to be a part of an industry that is so diverse in its fan base.”
Proud of the diversity of his audiences (“you never know who you’re going to be sitting next to”), the idea that a love of wrestling can be shared across generations is something very close to Jarret’s heart.
“It’s in my blood, there’s no doubt about it,” he says, speaking about his own entry into the sport. “This is my 37th year in professional wrestling, but I have more of a passion today than when I started. I feel very blessed and grateful that, at this stage in my career, that I can be here in London promoting an event at the Wembley 100. It doesn’t get much bigger or better than that.”
We caught up with Jarrett ahead of AEW All In London to talk Stevie Nicks, secret talents, and his strange association with Val Kilmer.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
What’s his name? Mr. Tumble?
Not what I thought you’d say.
That chuckle ya? Who would I want to be stuck in a lift with? Wow. Jesus? I think that would be a good opportunity. Or my wife.
Who would you least want to be stuck in a lift with?
Oh boy that’s a long list. Actually, this is easy. A politician. Any politician.
What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve ever had with a famous person?
The wrestling business doesn’t count because I’ve had a lot of weird interactions with fellow wrestlers, but Kid Rock is a friend of mine and he was ringside one time when I cussed him out. Really good. And he took me seriously. He got offended. But then he was okay afterwards.
One time, it was real late in Vegas. I walked around the corner and bumped into Shaq. Literally, my eyeballs went into his chest. And we had a weird, awkward look for a minute. It was late. I recognised him and he began to recognise me. We shared a quick little hug and then we just went on. It was an awkward 4am interaction.
What’s the last gig you went to?
Stevie Nicks. My wife took me but it was amazing. Someone at her stage of her career tearing the house down. She’s one of my wife’s favourites. So I was a good husband and went. But no, I enjoy her music.
Sounds like your wife was more of the driving force though.
Oh, without question. Yeah, she loves it. I was fascinated. It’s all walks of life. You know, university kids. They were even dressed like her.
What’s on your rider?
Nowadays no alcohol. Lots of water and lots of protein.
What kind of protein?
Chicken, chicken and chicken. I’m easy. I actually don’t have a rider and I really have been doing this a long time. Yeah, I’m easy. Self contained.
When you first came into the business was there ever any temptation to put anything a little bit more difficult on there?
Actually, they’ve always kind of irritated me when they get too specific. I’m from Nashville. The nickname we have is Music City USA. So I’m very familiar with all forms of the music business; with any genre, with agents, management, labels, the touring side of things, the production… So yeah, I think I got a real blessing when I was a kid understanding that being an artist is important, but asking the artists to go on stage without a sound man? That doesn’t work. It takes a team. So I’ve never got into the “no green m&ms” mentality. Matter of fact, I kind of detest that.
What did your 12-year-old self think that you’d be doing at this point in your life?
By age 12, I wanted to play professional basketball. But also, in the back of my mind – being the son of a promoter and the grandson of a promoter – I was mesmerised by professional wrestling. Literally from the first time I saw it, when I was six/seven years of age. I had aspirations as a kid. So I’m one of those people that it may be safe to say I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve got to literally live out my dream.
Were your father and grandmother both in support of you going into wrestling?
Ironically, my mother never watched me wrestle live. She was not in support of it. My dad, he was very very tough. But he was supportive of it. He just passed away this past February and he always made it as hard on me as he possibly could, I think in order to prepare me. This business is tough. If you want to succeed, you’ve really got to want to do it above anything else. My grandmother too, my grandmother taught me some life lessons that have have lasted my entire career.
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
Sleep doesn’t matter. Bad advice.
I’d imagine especially in your profession.
Do you ever get told that you look like anyone?
I was once cast in a movie, Spring Breakers. And they originally cast Val Kilmer. I don’t think that we look alike though, so I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to you.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve got much more of a sense of gratitude at the stage of my career I’m at right now, but if you would have asked me 10 years ago… There was a time when I had to sit at a desk and do a lot of cubicle work. I’m not a cubicle kind of guy. Not at all.
When was that?
When I worked for another wrestling organisation. I did a lot of cubicle work about 10 or 15 years ago. Yeah. Not a cubicle guy.
Do you have a secret talent?
Watersports, really. Specifically jetski driving.
When did you get into that?
Oh, gosh, as a kid. I grew up on the lake. I’m a watersport kind of guy but people don’t really know that. When I take people out on the water they’re like, “You’ve done this before.” And I say, “Yeah, a few times…”
What’s something that everyone else seems to love that you’re not a fan of?
Oh boy. Yes. Soccer.
Dangerous thing to say in the UK…
I like action. I like a lot of scoring. When a score is nil-nil or one-nil, I’m not a fan of that.
What was the last TV show that you binge watched?
Ted Lasso. That’s the last one. That show’s a lot more than just soccer! I still haven’t finished it. I feel bad. I’m definitely through season two. It’s great.
Do you have any superstitions?
You ask my wife and kids: all day, every day. I’m very regimented. Very routine. When I’m pumping gas, I’ll never end on an odd digit… it has to be an even number. Full dollar amount. And never go to bed with a dirty sink….
I mean, that’s just good advice.
Yeah, so I don’t know if that falls in the superstition category.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Oh boy, now we’re gonna get into that. My wife and kids like to go down that rabbit hole. Spirits, ghosts… I mean, I do. But if we got into a complete, elaborate discussion, we’d probably butt heads.
What’s your most controversial food opinion?
Let me ask you. When the meal comes out, do you take maybe a bite of steak and then maybe a bite of potato and then maybe a bite of vegetables and then go back and mix, or do you eat one thing at a time?
I feel like this is weird, but I eat one thing at a time.
I eat one thing at a time!
Protein, potatoes and then vegetables?
That’s it! That’s exactly what I do. Now I feel better.