This is the fourth in a five-part series looking at the 2018 inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. The articles on Hillbilly Jim, Ivory, and Mark Henry are on Wrestleaholic.com so check them out. Today we will be looking at Jeff Jarrett. Jeff is a 3rd generation wrestler and his 77 championship reigns outshine both his father Jerry Jarrett and his grandfather Eddie Marlin.
Jeffrey Leonard Jarrett was born on July 14, 1967, in Hendersonville, TN. Although Jeff played basketball in high school, his father owned a wrestling territory ( sometimes known as AWA/NWA Southern territory, sometimes as Continental Wrestling and sometimes as CWA which we will use for this story) and Jeff was already refereeing there. After being trained by the legendary Tojo Yamamoto, Jeff made his debut in 1986 wrestling to a 10-minute draw with Tony Falk.
In 1989 Jerry bought WCCW (World Class Championship Wrestling) and merged it with the CWA to form the USWA. He switched back and forth between heel and face depending on what was needed and won the USWA Southern Title 10 times along the way and the tag team titles 15 times. During this time Jeff also made a name for himself in Japan and Puerto Rico. Finally, in 1993, Jeff was signed by the WWE.
Between 1992 and mid- 1993 Jarrett participated in a cross-promotional event along with Jerry Lawler. They would show up at WWE events belittling the talent. During this time Jarrett wrestled Kamala, Damien Demento, Barry Horowitz and Rick Martel.
In late 1993, Jeff has repackaged as “Double J” Jeff Jarrett a country singer trying to make a bigger name for himself by wrestling. He would wear flashy hats and end his promos by obnoxiously spelling his name (“That’s J-E-Double-F, J-A-Double-R, E-Double-T!”)
Throughout 1994 Jarrett feuded with Doink, Mabel, and Bret Hart none of it amounting to much. Finally, at the 1995 Royal Rumble Jarrett would win the Intercontinental Championship from Razor Ramon. This would be a strange time for Jarrett and the championship as by March he’d be a 3-time champ. His second reign came when the belt was declared vacant after a match with Bob Holly. Jarrett won the rematch and his second championship. Razor Ramon and Jarrett quickly traded the title making him a 3-time champ in 2 months.
Also during this time, The Roaddog (known then as The Roadie) began coming with Jarrett to ringside and cheating on his behalf. Jarrett finally lost the belt to Shawn Michaels and left the WWE for 5 months returning to the USWA. Jarrett would return, only to leave for WCW two months later over a contract dispute.
In 1996 Jarrett signed a one year contract with WCW. He was inducted into the 4 Horsemen, won the US Title from Dean Malenko, got kicked out of the Horsemen, and lost the title to then Horseman Steve McMichael. After his contract was up, he chose to return to the WWE.
1997 was another strange year for Jarrett. In a worked shoot, Jarrett insulted the WWE and WCW and joined Jim Cornette’s NWA. He won the vacant NWA North American title from Barry Windham, only to be stripped of it when the angle ended.
In 1998, Jarrett introduced Tennessee Lee (Robert Fuller) as his new manager and Southern Justice (The Godwinns) as his bodyguards.this lasted until Jarrett lost a hair vs. hair match against X-Pac. He’d keep his hair short from then forward.
In 1999, Jarrett took Debra as his new manager and chose real-life friend Owen Hart as his partner. The two won the tag team belts from Ken Shamrock and Big Bossman. They would drop them shortly after to Kane and X-Pac and, unfortunately, Owen would die just 8 days later. Owen was scheduled to face the Godfather for the Intercontinental Title. Jarrett took his place and won the title for a 4th time while yelling the name of his friend. He won and lost the belt to Edge and D-Lo Brown for his 5th and 6th title wins.
In 1999, Jarrett won both the European and Intercontinental title from D-Lo Brown after Mark Henry turned on him. He rewarded Mark Henry with the European belt and his new manager Debra with Miss Kitty as an assistant. As Jarrett feuded with Chyna he became increasingly misogynistic, dumping Debra and Miss Kitty. Jarrett planned on leaving the WWE for WCW after, his friend, Vince Russo jumped ship and he dropped the title to Chyna.
In late 1999 Jarrett returned to WCW, attacking Buff Bagwell and declaring himself “The Chosen One”. Jarrett would beat Chris Benoit for the US Title and form The NWO 2000 with Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.Jarrett was briefly stripped of the belt as he recovered from a concussion at the hands of Jimmy Snuka but had the belt was returned to him by acting commissioner Kevin Nash.When Bret Hart retired, NWO 2000 disbanded.
In April of 2000, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo “rebooted” WCW and declared all titles vacant including Jarrett’s US title. Jarrett would trade up by joining the New Blood stable and beating Diamond Dallas Page for the vacant WCW title.Page regained the title only to lose it to Jarrett again after being turned on by actor David Arquette (let’s never speak of this again). Jarrett would trade the title with Ric Flair twice bringing him to his fourth WCW championship. In a very confusing moment, Jarrett laid down allowing Hulk Hogan to end his fourth title reign. To this day no one is sure how much of that angle was a work and how much was a shoot.
In 2001 Jarrett was briefly in the Magnificent Seven stable with Ric Flair and Scott Steiner.WCW was bought by the WWE in 2001 and they refused Jarrett’s contract leaving him without a job. From 2001-2003 Jarrett wrestled throughout Europe and Australia winning the WWA title.
In 2002 Jarrett started TNA wrestling which was in a pay per view format until 2004. In 2004 Panda energy bought TNA but Jarrett still held a minority interest. In 2002 Jarrett won the NWA title from Ron Killings (R-Truth) until losing it to AJ Styles in 2003. Jarrett and Styles would trade the belt for Jarrett’s second win. And he’d win it for the third time in a King of the Mountain match.
In 2005 Jarrett started the stable Planet Jarrett to help him keep his title but he lost it to AJ Styles anyway later that year. Jarrett won the title from Raven for the fourth time losing and regaining it from Rhyno for his fifth reign. He would hold the title until March of 2006 when he lost it to Christian Cage (Christian). Jarrett regained the title in yet another King of the Mountain match only to lose it to Samoa Joe in September.
From 2007-2010 Jarrett appeared sporadically in TNA most notably feuding with Kurt Angle whose wife he would begin having a real life affair with. In 2010, Jarrett formed Immortal with Hulk Hogan to try to win control of TNA from Dixie Carter. Jarrett feuded with various Carter champions, most notably Kurt Angle again, until losing a (sigh) loser moves to Mexico match to Angle after which Jarrett was written off.
Jarrett returned to TNA briefly as the AAA Mega Champion before losing a loser leaves TNA match to Jeff Hardy, Jarrett actually went to India to supervise Ring Ka King, a subsidiary of TNA. He stayed there until he resigned from TNA in 2014.
Jarrett wrestled all over Mexico and Japan and started Global Force Wrestling in 2014. Eventually, TNA and GFW merged under the Anthem Sports banner.
Jarret is one of the few men to hold the WCW, TNA, NWA and WWE Intercontinental titles. This and his work in management assure him a place in wrestling history.