MOONEYHAM COLUMN: Jarrett book a real winner

"The Best of Times" looks at Jerry Jarrett’s humble beginnings and covers his 50-plus-year career of wrestling and wrestling promotions.

Jerry Jarrett has enjoyed a well-deserved reputation over the years of having one of the most creative minds in the wrestling business.

He also had the advantage of working alongside some of the greatest promoters and power brokers in the industry, from Eddie Graham to Jim Barnett to Vince McMahon, and was instrumental in the phenomenal success of the Memphis territory in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Jarrett, a top-flight wrestler in his own right, developed some of the top talent in the business. He helped create The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn), one of the most successful teams in that storied promotion’s history, and helped groom young talent such as Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) and Sting (Steve Borden) long before they became mega-stars.

Jerry Jarrett did this and so much more.

Jarrett’s fascinating story is told in the nearly 400 pages of “The Best of Times,” a collaboration between Jarrett and Mark James, detailing the ups and downs of a wrestler, booker and promoter who overcame the odds.

The book is candid, refreshing and revealing, with Jarrett pulling no punches.

Jarrett’s involvement in the wrestling business spanned several decades, and his booking and creative expertise was utilized in a number of major offices during the territorial days, as well as with WCW and WWE. He co-founded TNA along with his son, Jeff Jarrett, but the partnership would eventually prove to be one of the major disappointments in his life. The decision to undertake such a risky venture — while his construction and land development business was plummeting — nearly cost him his financial future and severed his relationship with his son.

Jarrett, 68, accurately describes his life as a roller-coaster ride. From humble beginnings selling wrestling programs at the age of 7, to becoming one of the greatest promoters in the business, there isn’t much that Jarrett hasn’t seen or experienced during his 50 years in the profession.

The Tennessee native doesn’t sugarcoat any of his trials and tribulations, of which there are many, in this book. Suffice it to say, through dogged determination and an amazing resiliency, Jarrett comes out of his personal and financial abyss (at one time more than $7 million in the hole) all the wiser, stronger and happier.

If you’re a fan of wrestling — old school or the current product — this book is a must-read.

To order Jarrett’s book and other great volumes produced by Mark James, visit www.memphiswrestlinghistory.com.

-- A recent online report detailing allegations made against Ric Flair in various court records over the years, including claims made in a couple of acrimonious divorce cases, generated discussion in some wrestling circles.

A response from the Flair camp noted that, “while the information gleaned from courthouse records may be credible,” Flair contested alleged inaccuracies in the story, including a statement that he suffers from a condition known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

The response spurred additional debate when it was pointed out that Flair had stated in his 2004 autobiography, “Ric Flair: To Be The Man,” that he had developed the disorder.

According to Flair, however, when the book was being written eight years ago in 2003, he went to a doctor friend who told him he thought he might be suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy. After the book was published, Flair got a second opinion from a cardiologist who said he had been misdiagnosed and never had the condition.

It might also be noted that Flair has consistently tested clean since WWE started cardio testing in 2006 and since joining TNA in 2010.

TNA Knockout Tara (Lisa Marie Vanon) defended the 16-time world champ in a recent blog:

“I do think that there are a lot of people that if you take their life, and put it under a microscope, and then list all the mistakes that they have made, it would be unflattering. By the same token, and especially with Ric Flair, if you would have listed all the nice things he did, and all the people he helped, and all the young people he guided in this business, and the wrestlers that he sacrificed for so that they could look that much better, you would have had an article 10 times as long. The Ric Flair that I have known and worked with in both WWE and TNA/Impact has always been a gentleman and a locker-room leader. Let he who is without sin…”

-- Bill Goldberg backed off last week from a recent claim that he would be returning to wrestling soon.

The former WCW champ told a Fox affiliate in Tulsa last week that a previous announcement regarding a match in the Congo, with proceeds benefiting various charitable organizations, was premature.

“Budweiser made me do it,” Goldberg said regarding the announcement. “Budweiser made me get out there and announce it prior to ... I really should have announced it in the proper way. I’m in negotiations right now to wrestle outside the country in a big humanitarian effort. It’s an event in Africa, and we were invited by the president of the Congo.”

Goldberg previously had told TMZ.com that the only thing that would get him back in the ring was something that could “positively impact those in need.”

“If selling out another major event would allow me to bring a ship full of supplies to hand out to those in need, I’d say that would be very significant,” he added.

Goldberg also took some digs at WWE owner Vince McMahon.

“I can’t really say anything positive about the man. It’s like working for a carny. It’s like working for a carny who is driven only by his ego. Business is out of the window as evidenced by what he did with my character. So I don’t have a positive thing to say about that guy.”

-- Triple H (Paul Levesque) stars in the WWE Studios film “Inside Out.” The film, also starring Michael Rapaport, Parker Posey, Julie White, Michael Cudlitz and Bruce Dern, will be in select theaters Sept. 9.

The film, according to the press release, tells the story of a man who gets into trouble by protecting his friend, a small-time mobster.

For the last 13 years AJ (Triple H) has been behind bars, convicted of manslaughter for killing a man who intended to kill his best friend, Jack (Rapaport) a high-strung low-level mobster. Now released, AJ wants nothing more than to start a small business and live a life free of crime. Unfortunately within hours of leaving prison, Jack involves AJ in an accidental shooting leaving a man dead.

When Jack’s father, local mob boss Dr. Vic (Dern), hears the news he wants the mess cleaned up, and fast. Meanwhile, Martha (White), an agent for the Louisiana Tax Board, has been investigating Dr. Vic for smuggling counterfeit cigarettes into Louisiana and determined to bring Dr. Vic (and Jack) down. With the authorities hot on his trail, Jack is now forced to skip town.

Dr. Vic’s patience is wearing thin and he decides to take things into his own hands, looking for retribution. Well aware of Dr. Vic’s violent past, AJ will stop at nothing to protect Jack’s wife, Claire (Posey), the woman he’s always loved and her daughter Pepper (Juliette Goglia).

-- WWE performer Santino Marella suffered a separated left shoulder in an automobile accident Thursday in Toronto.

“My car flipped sideways and the trunk hit a light pole, it completely crushed in,” Marella told the WWE website. “The airbags deployed, and all I could smell was gunpowder ... There was broken glass everywhere, and I tried to open the passenger door, but it was stuck. Luckily there was still power in the car. I opened the sunroof and crawled out.”

Marella, who was driving home from a barber shop when he was hit by another vehicle, has been granted time off from Monday’s Raw taping to recover.

-- TNA Knockout Rosita, who lost her father during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, will be featured on the NBC special “Children of 9/11” that will air Monday night.

The special will air at 10 p.m. EST going head-to-head with the last hour of Raw on USA.

Rosita, whose real name is Thea Trinidad, lost her father, who was an amateur wrestler, when she was just 10 years old.

Rosita’s TNA tryout, which took place in January, reportedly was filmed for the special.

The 20-year-old Queens, N.Y., native is a former TNA Knockouts tag-team champion with Sarita (Sarah Stock).

-- ECW Press has published a beautiful collection of work by famed pro wrestling photographer George Napolitano. Hundreds of iconic, full-color images are captured in “Hot Shots and High Spots: George Napolitano’s Amazing Pictorial History of Wrestling’s Greatest Stars.”

The compilation, described as “the ultimate pictorial of the glories and humiliations of the wrestling world,” lists for $22.95.