To the surprise of many, WWE has opted to induct Jeff Jarrett into the company's 2018 Hall of Fame class, despite longstanding bad blood. Jarrett was literally born into the wrestling business, the son of established Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett. Naturally, Jarrett cut his teeth as a wrestler in the USWA, a promotion owned by his father. Jarrett was officially signed to the then-WWF in 1993, after having worked with them briefly as part of a cross-promotion angle with the USWA.
In the WWF, Jarrett debuted a country music singer character called Double J, who hoped to ride wrestling fame to the heights of the music industry. The idea didn't really make much sense, but wrestling was in a much more cartoonish era back then, and many characters had unique second jobs, such as race car driver Bob Holly, or sadistic dentist Isaac Yankem. To his credit, Jarrett made the character work, finding lots of mid-card success as a heel, capturing the intercontinental championship three times.
Jarrett left the WWF for a short stint in WCW that saw him briefly join the Four Horsemen, but returned to the company not long after. In his second stint, Jarrett adopted a new gimmick, that being a misogynistic heel who regularly mistreated his manager Debra. Sporting a t-shirt with the slogan "Don't Piss Me Off" and a guitar he'd use to bash opponents heads in, Jarrett won three more intercontinental championships, and a tag team title with the late Owen Hart. Jarrett ended his WWE career by losing an envelope-pushing intergender feud with top female star Chyna. On his way out the door to WCW, Jarrett and WWE boss Vince McMahon had a falling out, leading to him leaving the company on bad terms. Thus, it's quite surprising to see NBC Sports reporting - and WWE subsequently confirming - Jarrett's induction into the Hall of Fame.
Another factor that makes WWE's decision to induct Jeff Jarrett surprising is that following Vince McMahon's purchase of rival WCW in 2001, Jarrett teamed up with his dad to create TNA Wrestling (now known as Impact Wrestling). Originally associated with the NWA, TNA has been the only thing even close to a competitor to WWE in the years since WCW ended. One of the reasons Jarrett likely did this was due to the fact that his bad blood with McMahon prevented him from continuing his in-ring career in WWE like many WCW stars did. Unsurprisingly, Jarrett was also a top wrestler for TNA, maintaining a death grip on their world title for quite a long time. Such things tend to happen when the boss is booking himself as a competitor.
Now no longer associated with Impact, Jarrett will take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania XXXIV weekend in April. As with the inductions of Bruno Sammartino and The Ultimate Warrior, Jeff Jarrett's induction proves that no bridge with WWE is ever truly burned for good. Appropriately, many of the stars Jarrett cultivated in the early years of TNA are now thriving in WWE, such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Bobby Roode.
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