Oct 15, 2021

Axios Nashville

It's Friday and we couldn't be more excited.

☔️ Today's weather: Heavy rain is expected throughout the day, with a high of 81. The National Weather Service is predicting a chance of severe storms later in the day.

Situational awareness: The top leader of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee is resigning amid a fraught debate over how to handle a review of the committee's response to sexual abuse allegations.

Today's newsletter is 944 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Wrestling podcast a hit

Former wrestler Jeff Jarrett. Photo courtesy of "My World with Jeff Jarrett"

Nashville became home to one of the country's most popular sports podcasts this year when professional wrestler, executive and native son Jeff Jarrett launched his "My World" podcast in partnership with Ad Free Shows.

Why it matters: Nashville has a deep history in pro wrestling. Stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and Sting and the Ultimate Warrior got their start here. Jarrett's family has played a starring role and has deep ties to the industry.

  • Grandmother Teeny Jarrett and father Jerry Jarrett preceded him into the wrestling business, but Jeff became a star in his own right.
  • He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 as a performer and has a unique background on the business side of pro wrestling, having co-founded the promotion now called Impact Wrestling.
  • "My World" offers listeners behind-the-scenes stories from Jarrett's life in the industry — like the time he "held up" WWE chairman Vince McMahon for more money before wrestling his final match with the promotion.

Driving the news: The podcast, co-hosted by Conrad Thompson, has been a wild success. It debuted at No. 1 for pro wrestling podcasts and No. 4 for all sports podcasts, according to the Apple Podcasts charts.

  • Jarrett told Axios he has been "absolutely floored" by the success.
  • Thompson is a well-known wrestling podcaster who also hosts shows with Bruce Prichard, Jim Ross and a host of other wrestling legends.

The local angle: Jarrett already dedicated an episode to the uniquely Nashville story of partnering with several Tennessee Titans players for a television angle, which played a role in saving Impact Wrestling when it was facing financial turmoil.

  • "We absolutely will have episodes dedicated to Nashville, and the fairgrounds, and just all the stories that come out of there, from the legends who came through to really the way that [fairgrounds] building was built and designed with pro wrestling in mind," Jarrett said.
2. Poll shows eroding school satisfaction
Note: Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number; Data: Nashville Public Education Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Nashville Public Education Foundation released on Thursday a new poll showing deepening dissatisfaction with public schools during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Nearly half of the 500 voters polled in September said they thought Metro Nashville Public Schools had gotten worse over the last five years.

  • "We believe satisfaction with school systems nationally is much lower than it's been in the last several years," foundation president and CEO Katie Cour tells Axios. "Ours is no different."

By the numbers: The poll found only one in five Nashvillians believe the city made decisions that put children first.

  • 49% said schools were not doing a good job serving students from "disadvantaged communities."
  • 66% said schools were underfunded, while 72% said teachers were underpaid.

Zoom out: School funding will remain a potent talking point for months to come. Gov. Bill Lee is planning a broad review of the state's oft-criticized funding model.

What they're saying: "Last year was the most challenging school year for public education throughout the country in modern history, and many of those challenges have continued due to the ongoing pandemic," Metro Schools spokesperson Sean Braisted said in a statement.

  • "We have been planning throughout this crisis for how to accelerate student progress, and this year we have been implementing or expanding the programs to do just that which will boost public confidence and support for our schools."
3. Lee's visit with Pence

Screenshot: @BillLeeTN/Twitter

Former Vice President Mike Pence was in Nashville Wednesday for a visit with Gov. Lee and other conservative power brokers.

  • Both men tweeted about it in glowing terms.
  • The visit was not listed on Lee's public schedule.

Around the table: The Tennessee Journal identified several high-profile attendees photographed at a luncheon with Pence at the governor's mansion.

  • They spotted Tennessee Titans President Burke Nihill, former Gov. Bill Haslam and House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

Lee spokesperson Laine Arnold told Axios Pence was here to support Lee's reelection effort.

4. The Setlist: Simply the best

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  • The annual Best of Nashville rankings have landed. (Nashville Scene)
  • Gov. Lee's school funding review plans are starting to take shape, with several subcommittee chairs announced this week. (The Tennessean)
  • Republicans are still working to secure support for a special legislative session to take on COVID-19 regulations. (Tennessee Lookout)
  • A renewable energy company co-founded by former Gov. Phil Bredesen acquired a solar energy company he also co-founded. (Nashville Post)
5. Music City visitor

The Supper Club is located inside Twelve Thirty Club on Broadway. Photo courtesy of The Supper Club

👋 Axios Local's Emma Way here! I'm visiting the Axios Nashville crew next week from Charlotte, and there are a lot of new restaurants I want to try since my last trip here pre-pandemic.

1. The Supper Club

Vibe: Inside the Justin Timberlake-backed, multi-concept Twelve Thirty Club is the newly opened Supper Club, a sexy, high-end date night spot.

Price: $$$$. Expect to spend $70+ per person.

Location: 550 Broadway.

2. Assembly Food Hall

Vibe: The massive food hall has over 30 concepts, including Smokin Chikin and Donut Distillery (hello, boozy donut shakes!).

Price: $-$$ — a relief post-Supper Club.

Location: 5055 Broadway Pl.

3. Church and Union

Vibe: I have to give these Charlotte-based restaurateurs some love while I'm in town. Co-owner and Top Chef all-star Jamie Lynch made his debut in the Nashville market last month.

Price: $$$.

Location: 201 4th Ave. N.

4. Casa Rosa

Vibe: Country star Miranda Lambert's Tex-Mex cantina and honky-tonk bar is decked out in pink.

Price: $$-$$$.

Location: 308 Broadway.

5. White Limozeen

Vibe: Pink, pink and more pink. This over-the-top bar on the rooftop of Graduate Nashville has been open since 2020, but its Dolly Parton-glam look is a must-see, at least that's what I've gleaned from Adam.

Price: $$.

Location: 101 20th Ave. N.

Poll: What restaurants would you recommend? Share your favorite spots (and dishes) via email at emma.way@axios.com.

Read Emma's full guide, including dishes to try and visiting tips.

🌊 Nate is continuing to post pictures of a beautiful beach vacation. We are jealous.

💡 Adam is going to celebrate surviving a week without Nate by walking over to the Light the Nations festival.