There was a time when Jeff Jarrett was used to crashing guitars on the skull of his opponents to win his matches. But on April 6, it’s another kind of music he will play in New Orleans, as he will become a member of the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, joining Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz and Ivory.
Even if Double J grew up around this industry, as he’s the son of Tennessee wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett, he at first was interested in basketball. But in March 1986, at 18, he started to work for his father’s promotion, Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) as a referee, before making his in-ring debut a month later.
Before signing with WWE in 1993, he worked 7 years in the independent circuit in USA, Japan and Puerto Rico. He competed against and alongside Jerry “The King” Lawler, Nick Bockwinkel and countless others during that time. He eventually appeared in WWF when his father’s company, the USWA, and WWF worked their first cross-promotional angle in 1992. He then challenged Kamala, Bret Hart and Rick Martel.
He made his “real” debut with the company on television in November 1993 as “Double J” Jeff Jarrett, a country singer intended to elevate his singing career through his exposure as a wrestler. Jarrett became a 3-time Intercontinental Championship in less than 6 months and picked up countless victories with the help of The Roadie, the true singer of his single “With My Baby Tonight”.
Jarrett left WWF for WCW in 1996. He was involved in the war between the Four Horsemen and the nWo and was reluctantly inducted into the Four Horsemen. He defeated Dean Malenko in June 1997 to become the WCW United States Champion. After a year in WCW, Jarrett chose to come back with WWF.
In October 1997, he returned to deliver a speech in which he criticized both WCW President Eric Bischoff and WWF Chairman Vince McMahon. He developed a nasty attitude that matched the era in the company. He teamed up with one of his real-life best friends, Owen Hart and Debra to capture the World Tag Team Titles, and later the European Championship once and the Intercontinental Championship twice.
Jarrett left WWF for WCW in October 1999, at the same time WWF writer Vince Russo was joining WCW. He reformed the nWo with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart and the reigning WCW World Tag Team Champions, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall the week after he came back. Until WWF purchased WCW in 2001, he would become a 4-time WCW World Champion and a 3-time United States Champion.
After wrestling throughout Australia and Europe, he created his own company with his father in June 2002, Total NonStop Action Wrestling. As a promoter, he gave wrestlers like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Bobby Roode and Eric Young their first major exposure. As a wrestler, he would become a 6-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and the TNA King of the Mountain Champion. At the same time, he was running TNA, Jarrett wrestled for Mexico-based Lucha Libre AAA, a long-time partner of TNA, Puerto Rico’s IWA, Wrestle-1 in Japan.
He left his own company in 2014 to create Global Force Wrestling (GFW). He at first represented the organization at TNA or NJPW, but soon created his own events in USA and UK. After a missed attempt of a merger with TNA, Jarrett is still running GFW and creating events with the company he owns with his wife Karen.
Since 1986, Jarrett has held 77 Championships all around the world. On Friday, April 6, in New Orleans during WrestleMania 34 Week, Jeff Jarrett will receive one more accolade, becoming a WWE Hall of Famer during the 2018 Induction Ceremony. “Ain’t it great?”, like he used to say.