Soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett recently spoke with KENS 5 Eyewitness News and below are some interview highlights:
First of all, congratulations on your hall of fame induction. Unlike other hall of fames, there’s no set day or time that an announcement is made about an inductee. Really, someone could receive that call at any time. We talked to Diamond Dallas Page and he said that he got the call much earlier than most, so he was surprised. Can you share with us what that call was like for you?
It was in early January, it was on a Sunday morning. I got a text that said, “Can you chat for a couple of minutes?” In the wrestling industry and the entertainment industry, weekends you never have off. So getting a text on a Sunday morning didn’t really shock me. Me, my wife and kids were getting ready for church and I went up to my office and had a conversation.
There were a lot of WWE fans, even fans of yours that were surprised at the announcement that you’re headed to the hall of fame. Why were YOU shocked that you got that call?
It’s no secret that the McMahons and the Jarretts have been promoting for generations and generations. In 2002, I set out and started our own organization and all the history that goes with that. So I haven’t had a working relationship, although there’s a lot that’s been made out of it over the last couple of years and sensationalized.
I went my separate way. And ironic as it may be, the last time I worked for the at that time the WWF was the night before they went public. They’re a billion-dollar organization and they do things well. But I went on my own path with my career in the industry in and out of the ring.
Who am I to be put in the hall of fame? There’s less than 200 of us. My family got into the wrestling business back in the 1940’s. We’ve seen a lot of wrestlers come and go, a lot of wrestlers lace their boots, managers, promoters, all kinds of personalities. And for me to have the humble opportunity to go in, it’s shocking. It’s truly shocking.
Technically, the last time you were in a WWE ring was that famous simulcast night when then-WWF had bought WCW on WCW’s final night. What do you remember about that moment and that strange day when Vince McMahon appears on both shows and announced that he’d bought the competition and the Monday Night Wars finally came to an end?
The last three to four months of WCW, there was all kinds of sale talk. It was going in a bunch of different directions where people were questioning the future of the company.
I can remember vividly that Nitro was gonna be held in Panama City and there was a lot of promotion. I went down on a Wednesday or Thursday to participate in promotions and appearances.
It was just a different time. I was under contract with the Turner organization and I knew that I had another eight or nine months on the contract and knew that whatever happened, that contract situation had to be resolved one way or another.
It was a guaranteed contract, right?
Yes, so I knew I was going to be getting paid for however long that was.
One thing Vince McMahon does, and he does a lot of things great, but he knows how to create great television, very compelling television. But with all the things that are going into the production, it was a sad day for the production people. They knew that the WWF had their production people in place, whether it’s lighting or sound or graphics, whatever the department may be, they knew that that was the end of their “wrestling run” certainly for the time being.
So that was an uncomfortable situation. It was their last night.
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KENS 5 Eyewitness News