EDIT: PWInsider’s Mike Johnson as since spoken to Sportskeeda’s Jeremy Bennett and claimed he was misquoted by Ringside News. We will be leaving the article up as originally written, as the bulk of the article is to debunk past myths of the beef between Vince McMahon and Jeff Jarrett. So Jeff Jarrett fans may have to wait a little longer for the H-A-DOUBLE-L of Fame to come knocking, but as we point out, it still could happen as the beef has been overblown and misrepresented for decades.
From the “Out of Left Field” news department (or is that the X-Files?), PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson said today’s PWInsider Audio Hotline that he’s been told by sources within the WWE that WWE head honchos are seriously considering the possibility of inducting former 6x WWE Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett into the WWE Hall of Fame, and perhaps as early as this year’s Class of 2018. Per Johnson (via Ringside News): “There are guys inside of WWE that have come to me and said that they have heard that Jeff Jarrett is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. While I have no idea that this is the case or not but there certainly seems to be some smoke floating around. Whether there is fire to that smoke, I don’t know.”
While he has the numbers game to backup an inclusion, being the third most decorated Intercontinental Champion in WWE history (only Chris Jericho with nine and The Miz with eight have more titles than Jarrett’s six), not including his four WCW World Heavyweight Championships. But many point to the fact that Jarrett seems to have always been in Vince McMahon‘s bad graces, from his constantly flip-flopping between teams during the Monday Night War (WWF 1992-96, WCW 1996-97, WWF 1997-99, WCW 1999-2001), to running a competition promotion (TNA/Impact Wrestling) for years against Vince McMahon. But of course, everyone always directs the principle reason for the impossibility of Jarrett’s return to the company – even if just for a Hall of Fame induction – the Jarrett seemingly “holding up” the WWF for money in order to drop the Intercontinental Championship to Chyna at No Mercy in 1999.
But in an interview with Ric Flair on Flair’s podcast in 2016, Jarrett cleared the myths of the entire situation stating he did not “hold up” the company, he merely wanted to be caught up on past payments that WWF had not paid him that he was due (transcript credit to 411mania.com):
“All the issue of I held Vince up, who in their right mind would believe that? Honestly. At that time, pay-per-views were monthly and you get paid about every 90 days. We had done a pay-per-view over in England, so I had about four or five pay-per-view payoffs coming. Obviously, Cleveland [Ohio] that night was coming. And then, I don’t know, five, six, seven. house show runs, whatever the checks I haven’t been paid for. And I thought it was going to be real simple because I think Jim Ross didn’t have a real happy day because of how all of that went down, that Vince McMahon, and to defend Ross and sort of defend the situation, Vince was traveling legitimately around the world, nonstop, because was taking his company public, and, so, when you take a company [public], IPOs and all that, you’ve got to go meet with all these investment bankers and presentations. So Vince didn’t have his thumb on all the pulses, that was Jim’s job, obviously, Jim and creative, and all that. So it sort of created a perfect storm or perfect situation, so I was working and doing the honors and never had any intention of not doing it.
I knew once I walked out of that building that night, for all my payoffs of the last three or four months, I had zero leverage. And the guy who, Vince may sign off on it, but the guy who comes up with that number was J.R. and J.R. was in a unique situation, so I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I wanted to agree on a number and that’s what we did. And I got my money that night and Vince, I can assure you this [and] Ric can attest to this: if Vince McMahon did not want to pay me, what in the hell was I going to do? He gladly paid me and did not hesitate.”
And while the internet community still refuses to acknowledge this aspect, Jarrett has openly stated he has had a very amiable relationship with Vince McMahon and the WWE for several years now. Back in 2015, when the WWE released a DVD collection on one of Jarrett’s long time tag partners, Owen Hart, many assumed Jarrett was left off due to animosity. But Jarrett told Wrestling Inc. that wasn’t the case at all. “We just never could match things up,” Jarrett said. “No hard feelings on my part or their part, we just never could match. I think it was June when they were producing it, and I had the Grand Slam shows. The schedules never worked out. I am glad they are putting the DVD out for Owen Hart fans. There’s a whole generation that wasn’t blessed to know Owen Hart.”
The WWE and Jeff Jarrett have also shared headlines of late when it was revealed that it was the WWE, through their Talent Wellness Program, helped put Jeff Jarrett through rehab for substance abuse and footed the bill, something they openly do for any former talent. And this wasn’t the first time WWE had reached out to Jarrett since his very public “firing” by Vince McMahon on March 26, 2001. Jarrett has stated on many occasions that Vince McMahon was one of the first to reach out when his wife Jill passed away in 2007. In an interview with Newday, Jarrett said that “(t)he entire McMahon family was very, very good to me during the passing of my wife, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
So it would appear that the beef between Vince McMahon and Jeff Jarrett is something more in the mythology realm of pro wrestling than the reality that most internet fans claim to be gospel. And with Jarrett now free and clear from working with Impact Wrestling following his departure just before he entered rehab, Vince would have no problems inducting a former talent with such history with not only his company, but other companies that are featured on his WWE Network.
What do you think? Do you think there’s “fire” where there’s “smoke” to PWInsider’s story? Let us know in the comments section!