Ahead of his appearance for River City Wrestling this Friday in San Antonio, Texas, Jeff Jarrett spoke to the area’s CBS affiliate — KENS-5. “Double J” discussed his upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame induction, the legacy he’s built outside of WWE, how the wrestling business has changed since his departure from WWE in 1999, and more. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
When he was contacted by WWE about being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame:
“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.
“I was shocked because I didn’t think that on a Sunday morning I’d be getting that call in early January. But that’s our industry, that’s the uniqueness of it. We’re obviously not true sports and we’re an aggressive, physical form of entertainment. We’re a hybrid and always have been and always will be. We do things bigger and louder and prouder and boisterous and everything that goes with it.
“It’s still very surreal to me that I was asked and I’m really looking forward to April 6.”
Who did Jarrett speak to about the induction?
“That is a question that has been asked of me, and I’ll just leave it as a high-ranking WWE official because I’m not real clear if I’m able to share that knowledge. So I’ll leave that between me and the WWE at this time.”
Is he shocked about being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
“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.”
What he remembers about the end of the Monday Night War on March 26, 2001, with Vince McMahon opening the last-ever episode of WCW Monday Nitro with a simulcast of WWF Raw Is War to announce that he has purchased WCW:
“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.
“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.
“Wrestlers, you name it, it was a mixed gamut. Some knew they were gonna be getting paid, some didn’t have a clue, some were excited about a new opportunity. It was a unique day in our industry, without question. It was so memorable just because of the fact that we’re sitting her talking about it.
“Who would’ve ever thought that there would be a simulcast with Shane on one network and Vince on the other? My last night with WWF at the time was in Cleveland. And how ironic that Raw was in Cleveland that night as well. So I’ve had two nights where I finished up in Cleveland with the organization.”
To read the full interview with Jarrett, click here.
Jarrett was also promoting his upcoming appearance this Friday, March 2 at Turner Club, 5555 Duffek Drive in Kirby (San Antonio) for River City Wrestling (RCW). Tickets for the event start at just $20 and can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/rcwmarch2 until 2 p.m. the day of the event; after that, they will be available at the door when the doors open at 7:30 p.m. The event begins at 8 p.m.