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Mantell and Vega released; Jarrett’s TNA Future Heavily In Doubt

It broke today on all of the major sites that TNA creative team member and wrestling legend Dutch Mantell has been released by TNA Wrestling as well as former WWF Intercontinental Champion and at the time one of TNA’s road agents, Savio Vega a.k.a. TNT a.k.a. Juan Rivera.

What does this mean for the future of TNA?

Well Jeff Jarrett recently took a sabbatical from TNA after the story came out about the bizarre real life backstage love triangle between himself, Karen Angle, and Kurt Angle. Jeff Jarrett, alongside his father Jerry Jarrett and Bob Ryder, founded TNA in 2002 and still owns a small portion of TNA to this day.

Dutch Mantell joined TNA back in 2003 and was considered by everybody who worked there Jeff Jarrett’s right hand man in the company, even more-so than Vince Russo. According to those close to management, whenever there was a creative situation or a situation that required management to butt heads, Mantell would unanimously take Jeff Jarrett’s side in each and every argument, despite how ridiculous it could be.

As it was explained to me today, there are those within the company that feel this cements what has been speculated for the past couple of weeks about Dixie Carter either heavily cutting down Jeff Jarrett’s political power or perhaps even buying his remaining portion of TNA and forcing him out of the company.

With Mantell leaving, other than Terry Taylor, the veteran presence within the creative team in terms of people with actual in-ring experience is completely gone. This leaves TNA in the hands of Vince Russo as head writer, along with Jeremy Borash, and Matt Conway. I was told by a source that I will not name that at least three wrestlers who lived through and/or saw the dying days of WCW are legitimately concerned as to what the direction of the company will go in now with Vince Russo completely unfiltered running TNA.

The other person released was Savio Vega, who was seen as Dutch’s right hand man and a guy who would also answer to Jeff. Savio and Dutch have been close for years, working together in both the WWF and Puerto Rico.

As you can see, the connection is that those released all have power related to Jeff Jarrett and were seen as HIS men to an extent. What is interesting is that at one time Vince Russo was VERY close to Jeff Jarrett, dating back to the days when Russo wanted Jeff to feud with Steve Austin as the WWF’s main program before being vetoed (thankfully). Russo also gave Jeff an immediate push when they both wound up in WCW. They were good friends.

However, allegedly Russo and Jarrett are nowhere near the kind of friends they were in those days. Russo left TNA in 2004 and apparently there was some kind of issue between Russo and Jarrett. I do not know the details and will not begin to speculate. By the time Russo returned in 2006, it was a decision made by Dixie Carter, NOT Jarrett, probably due to Russo selling himself to her as the man who saved the WWF and all of that crap.

When you start to see all of it and put it into perspective, it looks like Jeff Jarrett could possibly indeed be booted out of the company. When you start to see the associates of a person slowly weeded out, it doesn’t reflect well. This applies in all business, not just pro wrestling.

I’m not so sure that cutting Jeff Jarrett is really the answer to solving all of TNA’s problems. TNA has a lot to do in order to get the brand out there and none can really happen overnight. A lot of people feel while cutting Jeff will fix some problems, it will also open pandora’s box to new problems that could indefinitely hurt the company.

Even IF TNA does thrive and become a huge success, in a lot of ways it would be a bit sad though because without Jeff Jarrett, there would not be a TNA. Jeff sacrificed everything for the company and took a huge risk in putting it out there. He has been the nucleus and the centerpiece of TNA both on TV and off since its inception and perhaps one day his baby goes on to become a powerhouse without him being there. Sort of reminds me of how huge the Disney Corporation grew and continues to grow after Walt Disney had passed.

TNA would not exist without Jeff… now we find out if it still can.

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