Dane Quinn- Reliving Jeff Jarrett's Illustrious Career Submitted by Dane Quinn on 04/07/2018 at 12:40 PM
Jeff Jarrett may seem like an unusual choice for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018 since he’s been away from the company for years, but he absolutely deserves the honor. Here’s why.
Believe it or not, Jeff Jarrett is being welcomed back with open arms by the WWE. No, it’s not for The Rise and Fall of TNA Wrestling for the WWE Network. He is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame tonight, the Friday night before WrestleMania. The former professional wrestler and promoter will join Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and some of the greatest sports entertainers who ever laced their boots in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Unless you tune into IMPACT! on POP TV, Jeff Jarrett has been out of everyone’s consciousness for over a decade. Double J has had a tremendous career, one unlike any other. Jeff Jarrett has smashed guitars over his opponents’ heads, sang a few tunes and won numerous championships along the way. Let’s take a look back at one of the greatest careers in the history of professional wrestling.
The Family Business
Professional wrestling has a very strong bloodline. We have seen plenty of fathers and their sons succeed in the industry. The American Dream guided The American Nightmare. “Cowboy” Bob Orton raised a Viper. Curtis Axel’s father perfectly taught him the ropes. The family ties go on and on. Jeff Jarrett is no different.
Jeff’s father, Jerry Jarrett, is wrestling royalty. He began his career as a wrestling promoter in Memphis, Tennessee. Jerry has been a part of many wrestling promotions since the 1970s. The Continental Wrestling Association, United States Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance have all reaped the benefits of Jerry Jarrett’s expertise.
Jerry Jarrett wore two hats during his excellent career. He wasn’t only a promoter, he also stepped between the ropes and competed. Jerry has crossed paths with some of the greatest the world of wrestling has to offer. He became friends with wrestling legend, Yamamoto. After being trained by him, Jerry and Yamamoto became partners and won numerous tag team championships in numerous territories.
In 2009, Jerry Jarrett was inducted into the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame. He was accompanied by Tully Blanchard, Paul Orndorff and Terry Funk into the exclusive club. Jerry had a long, accomplished, hall of fame career. His son, Jeff Jarrett, has mirrored his father’s career. You know what they always say: “Like father, like son.”
Jarrett's Early Years
It didn’t take long for Jeff Jarrett to get noticed in the ring. Jeff’s father, Jerry, and other promoters realized rather quickly that Jerry’s son was destined to be a star. Jerry Jarrett purchased World Class Championship Wrestling and merged it with his promotion to form the United States Wrestling Association. A USWA ring is where Jeff Jarrett began to make a name for himself.
As the 1980s turned into the 1990s, Jeff Jarrett was beginning to gain some momentum. Jarrett began win some gold for the first time in his career. According to OnlineWorldofWrestling.com, Jeff Jarrett wore gold around his waist on 26 different occasions. Over a four-year span, Jeff captured tag team and singles gold in the USWA. He didn’t just defeat forgettable names, he had his hand raised in matches with legends, Cactus Jack, Jerry Lawler, and Koko B. Ware.
Jeff Jarrett had accomplished everything he could in the USWA. He had reached the ceiling in a very short time. Jarrett knew if he wanted to become a major star in the wrestling industry, he would have to remove himself from the bubble of his father’s promotion. His father knew Jeff Jarrett had more to offer. A man named Vince also saw something in a young Jeff Jarrett.
In 1993, Jeff Jarrett left a legendary promoter to join another legendary promoter. He left his father to join Vince McMahon’s WWE. Jarrett was finally in the big leagues. However, like Major League Baseball, it’s extremely difficult and young kids tend to scuffle.
Jarrett caught the eye of Vince McMahon when the USWA and WWE began having cross promotional matches in 1992. Jeff was holding his own in the ring with WWE stars Rick “The Model” Martel and Kamala. Jarrett began taking on Bret “The Hitman” Hart at WWE house shows. There was no shame in losing to “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.” Jarrett knew he just needed one break. After tinkering with Jeff’s character, something finally stuck.
The Tennessee native finally found his stride in the WWE in October 1993. The company finally realized that a heel country music singer was the route to go. He made his television debut on WWE Superstars. You could tell that Vince McMahon and the company truly believed in Jeff Jarrett. He didn’t get a jobber entrance. He wasn’t in the ring as the show returned from a commercial break. Jarrett received a very colorful entrance. The extravagant outfits, along with the two gigantic, sparkling letter J’s grabbed the audience’s attention. His hat would light up as he strutted to the squared circle. He was full of himself, but he could back it up in the ring.
The 1995 Royal Rumble was the climax of Jarrett’s first WWE run. Double J defeated Razor Ramon to win the prestigious, WWE Intercontinental Championship. Sure, as The Beatles would say, Jarrett “had a little help from (his) friends.” The Roadie was Jarrett’s go-to guy during this period. The Roadie didn’t just help Double J during his matches, he would also provide the vocals for Jarrett’s No. 1 hit, “With My Baby Tonight.”
Joining World Championship Wrestling
After an alleged contract dispute, Jeff Jarrett and the WWE parted ways. In October 1996, Jarrett officially joined Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. It made all the sense in the world to be a part of WCW because of his southern ties. He only spent a year in WCW, but he made the most of it.
There have been many powerful stables throughout professional wrestling. The WCW was loaded with stables during the 1990s. They had all the different variations of the New World Order and many others. The nWo wanted to take over the world of professional wrestling. There weren’t many people running to the front of the line to take on the nWo. However, there was one stable that refused to go down without a fight. World Championship Wrestling’s heart and soul was The Four Horsemen. This group was led by “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. One of the greatest of all time immediately noticed that Jarrett was a viable asset. Within a few months, Jarrett became an official member of one of the greatest factions in professional wrestling history.
Joining The Four Horsemen wasn’t the only major accomplishment for Jarrett. Within a year’s time, Jarrett had the WCW United States Championship around his waist and his arm around the beautiful, Debra McMichael. After his one year contract expired, he used his feet and walked back into the WWE locker room.
Return to WWE
There was no strutting or flashy entrances when Jeff Jarrett returned to the WWE. Jarrett stomped back to a WWE ring with a purpose. He grabbed a microphone and delivered one of the first shoot interviews during the Monday Night Wars.
Jeff Jarrett blamed WCW President, Eric Bischoff for “putting a lid on his potential”. He caught WWE owner and announcer Vince McMahon laughing and said it was the same reason why he bolted the WWE two years prior. Jarrett proclaimed that Vince McMahon’s “vision sucks.” Jeff called out top WWE superstars like Austin, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Things were going to be a lot different with Jeff Jarrett in the WWE.
In the summer of 1999, Jarrett reacquired the WWE Intercontinental Championship. One title wasn’t enough for Jeff Jarrett. He also won the WWE European Championship from D’Lo Brown. According to the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard podcast, Jeff Jarrett became the first person to hold the WWE Intercontinental Championship on six different occasions.
Just like in World Championship Wrestling, Jarrett aligned himself with Debra. In an Andy Kaufman-like angle, Jarrett began verbally abusing Debra. This drew the ire of the women in the locker room, which in turn led to Jeff Jarrett defeating women wrestlers on episodes of Raw. For good measure, Jarrett would smash his classic guitars over the women’s heads. It sounds malicious, and it was, but it was a different time in wrestling. This angle created major fanfare for Debra and another woman.
HBO has a new documentary coming out in April. It’s on The Eighth Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant. No, Jeff Jarrett didn’t have to deal with Andre, but he did have to worry about The Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna. Chyna demanded that Jeff Jarrett pick on a woman his own size. Chyna had dominated the women’s division for years, and she had her sights set on something new. She challenged Jeff Jarrett for his WWE Intercontinental Championship.
The ending of this feud could be the major reason that Jarrett was no longer apart of the WWE. According to Bob Holly’s book, The Hardcore Truth, Chyna claimed that former WWE writer Vince Russo and Jarrett delayed the match with her until Jarrett’s contract expired. Jarrett and Russo were both heading to WCW, and Vince McMahon would have to pay Jarrett a large amount to drop the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The PPV No Mercy would be the last appearance Jeff Jarrett would make for Vince McMahon and the WWE.
Back to World Championship Wrestling
After going back and forth between WWE and WCW, Jeff Jarrett finally found a permanent home. Although World Championship Wrestling fell way behind in the ratings war with the WWE, Jarrett felt like he would be utilized better. With the emergence of The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, and many others, Jarrett could be lost in the shuffle in the WWE.
In late 1999, Jeff Jarrett made his return to WCW. He ran to the ring and “parted Buff Bagwell’s hair with a guitar,” according to the late, great, Bobby Heenan. He clearly returned to WCW with a gigantic chip on his shoulder.
There was no doubt that WCW had some financial and creative problems. Everyone remembers the infamous Judy Bagwell on a forklift match and David Arquette winning the World Championship. Don’t allow WCW’s poor decisions affect your judgement on Jarrett. Despite all their problems, WCW made one great choice.
Jarrett finally reached the mountain top at the 2000 Spring Stampede PPV. “The Chosen One” defeated fan favorite Diamond Dallas Page to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The young man from Tennessee won the same championship that Flair, Sting, Hogan and other WWE Hall of Famers had worn in the past.
Jarrett’s greatness wasn’t enough to keep World Championship Wrestling in business. In March 2001, Vince McMahon purchased WCW to officially end the Monday Night Wars. Many WCW wrestlers would head to the unemployment office. This included Jarrett, who was fired by Vince McMahon during WCW Monday Nitro‘s final telecast. This was something Jarrett would never forget.
Creating a Promotion
After World Championship Wrestling closed its doors, Jeff Jarrett sat home and watch his former coworkers “invade” WWE during RAW and Smackdown. Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T and others began appearing on WWE television. There wasn’t a platform for Jarrett to perform on.
Over a year after WCW folded, Jeff and his father Jerry decided it was time to step up to the plate. The world needed an alternative to Monday Night Raw and Smackdown. The Jarrett family created a brand new wrestling company. They called it Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
TNA Wrestling was a part of the National Wrestling Alliance. Their world championship was the same title that was previously held by Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. Jeff Jarrett was no stranger to gold in the WWE and WCW. TNA Wrestling was no different. The self proclaimed “King of the Mountain” reached the mountaintop in TNA on six different occasions. We all knew Jarrett would claim the top spot in TNA, but it’s more outside the ring that solidifies his legacy in TNA.
Jarrett was the owner of TNA Wrestling. He was very instrumental in giving superstars like WWE Champion, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Samoa Joe a platform to show the world how phenomenal they truly are. For one reason or another, Vince McMahon and the WWE weren’t sure about the stars on the independent circuit. Jarrett has an eye for great talent.
WWE is known for discarding a handful of wrestlers over the course of a year. Jarrett allowed many ex-WWE superstars walk into TNA Wrestling with a opportunity to shine. Mr. Kennedy was canned by WWE. He dropped Kennedy and won the TNA World Title as Mr. Anderson. There have been countless superstars that were able to provide for their family because Jarrett welcomed them into his company.
Jeff Jarrett’s dedication and contributions to the wrestling industry are second to none. Not many wrestlers can say they accomplished as much as Double J. Numerous championship reigns and high quality matches prove he is one of a kind. He spells his name J-E-Double F J-A-Double R-E-Double T and he is in the H-A-Double L.