20 YRS AGO – Cover Story: Jarrett returns to Raw, rips into Bischoff and McMahon, then runs down Bret, HBK, Stone Cold

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

The following is the cover from PWTorch Newsletter #463, cover dated Ot. 25, 2017, detailing the remarkable shoot-style promo from Jeff Jarrett when he made his return Raw after a less-than-cordial departure from WCW. PWTorch VIP members have access to over 1,500 back issues dating back to the late 1980s with coverage like this of every major story in pro wrestling the last three decades, plus columns, PPV reports with star ratings, backstage news, detailed live event results, Torch Talk interview, and more. It’s the deepest single library of fascinating insider news, reported in real-time over the decades week by week. GO VIP – CLICK HERE


COVER STORY: Jarrett returns to WWF, acknowledges WCW – Live on Raw, the “new” Jarrett rips into Bischoff and McMahon, then runs down Michaels, Bret, Austin

By Wade Keller, Torch editor

With his hair slicked back into a pony tail, without any sign of a gimmick persona, Jeff Jarrett walked into the ring 30 minutes into the live Oct. 20 Raw. Jarrett signaled the first major jump from WCW to the WWF since Vader and Dustin Runnels. McMahon hopes Jarrett can become more than he was given a chance to be in WCW and more than he was in his last stint in the WWF. Clearly from Jarrett’s opening speech, he is being positioned as a top tier star. McMahon hopes the Big Four (Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Undertaker) expands into the Big Five.

Last Wednesday night Jeff Jarrett and his father, longtime Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett, met with Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon, and Jim Ross at the McMahons’ house. By the time they left hours later, an agreement had been reached.

McMahon’s initial push of Jarrett may seem surprising on a few levels. For one, Jarrett was a second tier wrestler during his last WWF stint, an Intercontinental Title level wrestler. Then he walked out on Vince McMahon and the WWF immediately following his show-stealing match against Shawn Michaels at the July 1995 “In Your House.” Jarrett, joined by his on-air cohort and real life friend Roadie (Brian James, a/k/a “Road Dog”), walked out the door after the match and quit the promotion.

Jarrett was upset with the direction of his character. He didn’t like the idea that the angle he was involved in was heading toward him being revealed as a phony, a lip syncher who stole the fame from the real singer of “With My Baby Tonight,” the Roadie. He felt being portrayed in such a way would be difficult to recover from. More so than discomfort with the direction of his character, though, he was frustrated that McMahon ignored his requests to talk about his concerns. For six months he expressed concern to McMahon, but never got any answers. Because his father owned a development business, he didn’t need wrestling since he could go to work for his father’s company.


After working for his father’s business for a few months, he and McMahon reconciled early in 1996. He returned for a short-lived feud with Ahmed Johnson, then suffered an injury, and never returned to the WWF, again unhappy with his push and believing McMahon once again didn’t listen to his concerns. A year ago Jarrett signed a deal with WCW and was one of the final major names from the WWF to show up on Nitro just as Nitro established itself as the perennial ratings winner on Monday nights.

Jarrett signed a one-year contract, with the idea being that he would sign a long-term deal about six months into the contract once he established himself. WCW head Eric Bischoff apparently wasn’t impressed with Jarrett’s showing, as he failed to discuss renewal until the day before his contract expired. Jarrett was disappointed with the offer and forwarded Bischoff to his father, who was acting as his official agent. Bischoff never contracted Jeff’s father, and instead pulled the offer from the table the next night during an internet interview, saying he would not negotiate with a party that revealed details of negotiations publicly.

Despite their past disagreements, last week Jarrett and McMahon agreed to give it one more try. Jarrett wasn’t happy in WCW, or at least not with their contract offer, and McMahon is in need of more top tier talent. The question is whether Jarrett can be that top tier name and not seem out of place being thrown into the mix with Bret, Michaels, and Austin. Also, will WWF fans buy Jarrett as a top tier wrestler when he was a second tier wrestler feuding with Steve McMichael in WCW?

In order to establish that he is not coming back to the WWF as some sort of a gimmick wrestler, but instead wants to be given a fresh look, he came out with a different look. There was no country music, no flashing suspenders, no waving blond hair, no exaggerated “ha, ha” laugh. He walked out to the ring earlier than McMahon had planned according to the storyline. “Sorry, Vince, I know you wanted the big introduction and to be standing along side me, but I’ve got something to say and I’m going to say it right now,” Jarrett said. “Last week on Monday Nitro Jeff Jarrett was declared everything but dead. Since I refused to accept Eric Bischoff’s offer and re-sign with WCW he did everything within his power to bury me. Being the coward that he is, he even hid behind his computer and announced to the whole world that he had pulled the offer off the table. Well, Eric, the only thing you ever pulled from Jeff Jarrett was opportunity. Since I wasn’t one of your boys, you put a lid on my potential. I was only going to go as far as you wanted me to. There was never, ever any ladder of success for me to climb. I was one of the younger, most talented wrestlers that you had, Eric, but you let me drown in mediocrity just because my stroke wasn’t strong enough. Look who you put me with, an ex-football player who can’t even lock up and his ex-wife; she gives new meaning to the term ‘dumb blonde.’”

Jarrett looked at McMahon at ringside. “Vince don’t sit over there and snicker and smile and cherish this moment because I left the WWF two years ago for the same reason,” Jarrett said. “Eric Bischoff did it out of either ignorance or inexperience of the wrestling business. What were your excuses? Remember the gold tooth, the country music star? Vince, you had a vision of what you wanted ‘Double’ J Jeff Jarrett to be. Quite honestly, in all due respect, your vision sucked.”

McMahon smiled and said, “Yeah, it may have.”

Jarrett continued: “You booked me with a clown (Doink), a drug addict (in reference to Roadie), a black man who can’t even speak the English language (Ahmed). Vince, you tried to bury me and kill me off, but you didn’t get the job done. I guess you figured since you didn’t put my dad out of business like you put every other promoter out of business in the ’80s, since you couldn’t do that, you figured the next best thing would be to kill his son off. Well, Vince, not only did I survive, but I walked out on you and how ironic that is that we make a deal and get back together and you pay me a whole lot more money the second go around. You know why, Vince? Because you need Jeff Jarrett. You need me to put people in seats and ratings on the board. You told me to come out here and shoot. That’s exactly what I’m doing, right between your eyes. You can take ‘With My Baby Tonight’ and stick it up your butt because from here on out it’s going to be Jeff Jarrett’s way. If you try to stop me, fine, I’ll gladly pack my bags and walk right out the door again. Vince, I’ve got a question to ask you. Can you afford it? I don’t think so or you wouldn’t have paid me all that money just five days ago.”

Jarrett turned his attention to Bret, Michaels, and Austin. He said Bret has been living off of name recognition. He ripped into Michaels for only being able to wrestle once a week. “He’s proud of that,” Jarrett said. “You call yourself the icon that can still go. Well, how often can you go? It seems all you do lately is run around here, hold up silly little signs, point at your crotch, and give your little hand signals to your boys in Atlanta. Shawn, one day you were the main event, you were WWF Champion. You were the attraction. Now all you are is reduced to hiding behind your infantile attitude.” McMahon agreed with that comment. Jarrett then ripped into Austin for always saying “ass” and called his “3:16” merchandising offensive and blasphemous. “You’re ripping off the Bible to put money in your pocket.” When you and I hook up it’s going to be your judgement day.”

Jarrett concluded: “Vince, you wanted the real Jeff Jarrett tonight. Well, you got him. I just hope your investment’s going to be worth all of your headaches.” McMahon said he did, too.


Access more stories like this! PWTorch VIP members have access to over 1,500 back issues dating back to the late 1980s with coverage like this of every major story in pro wrestling the last three decades, plus columns, PPV reports with star ratings, backstage news, detailed live event results, Torch Talk interview, and more. It’s the deepest single library of fascinating insider news, reported in real-time over the decades week by week. GO VIP – CLICK HERE

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