411's Broken Skull Sessions Report: Jeff Jarrett talks Owen Hart, Bash at The Beach 2000 ...

411’s Broken Skull Sessions Report: Jeff Jarrett

-I heard this one was coming but didn’t realize it dropped this weekend. My review of Slamboree 1997 will be up tomorrow and Talking Smack will be later tonight, but for now it’s time for another Broken Skull Session. This one should be interesting with all the reported issues between Austin and Jarrett over the years and I am sure they will touch on those rumors. Let’s get to it!

-Steve Austin welcomes us to the show and mentions Jarrett is a WWE and TNA Hall of Famer. He hits the JJ catchphrase as he spells his name.

-Jarrett says he has arrived because Stone Cold just did his name spelling gimmick. He then says apparently Hell has frozen over with him on the show. They get right to it as Austin mentions that there is perceived heat between the two of them according to the internet and fan boards. He just wants to clear the air and says he has known Jeff since he started his career in Dallas. Jeff says stories get told and they grow life and he isn’t sure where it all comes from, but brings up he was a guest on Austin’s podcast outside WWE, so obviously Austin doesn’t hate him.

-Austin dives a little deeper and tells the story of working for Jeff’s dad, Jerry, in the USWA and was sold on the idea of a guaranteed $100 a night. The loop was the same each week but you would get the same five towns each week and then a spot show. In Evansville Austin got his first check and you saw he was paid $70, $60, or $50. Jarrett walked by and told Austin looking at it wouldn’t make it any bigger and slapped him on the back. Austin continues that he hated talking about money, but went to Jerry when they got back to Tennessee and brought up the promised $100 a night. Jerry told him that houses were down and Austin understood and just asked if business picked up if he could get the $100 and Jerry agreed, so Austin got on the bus to get to next shows. Jarrett laughs as he says he never heard that second part of the story. Austin says Jerry always did well by him and was the first promoter he ever worked for and Jeff says his dad saw something in Austin for the start. He had Jeff come down to see some kid that had something special and Jeff was 19 and expecting an actual kid. He sat in the crow’s nest at the Sportatorium and watched Austin in a class. He told his dad that Austin wasn’t a kid.

-Austin goes back to wrap this part up and says he has no heat with Jarrett and whether it was the check thing or him protecting his gimmick, it’s all good. I was hoping Austin would bring up Jarrett calling his Austin 3:16 gimmick sacrilegious, but no dice.

-Austin asks about being third generation and if he had to be a pro-wrestler. He says no and mentions he has 3 siblings and he was the only one to get in the business. He just loved it as a kid and loved the physicality. He talks about being in junior high and seeing his dad getting the crap beat out of him and he wasn’t smart to it, so he started crying. He followed his dad that entire summer and just wanted to get into the business.

-Jarrett says he dad didn’t push him and he was into basketball and was decent enough to play in college. That didn’t go as well as he hoped and his dad offered him a job to work as a ref on TV. Jarrett says the veterans in the ring led who they wrestled and led the ref so it helped greatly.

-Austin brings up throwing a drop kick and Jarrett says that when he trained it was very controlled the first month. He then got to work a tag match with guys from Japan and doing that six nights a week helped him with the basics. It helped him learn good habits and he didn’t have to break any bad habits.

-His first match was in April of 1986 when he was 18 about to be 19. He was on the road seven nights a week and while he grew up with wrestling around this was different. He mentions life of on the road was rinse and repeat, but he didn’t want the life his friends had at college. They flash a photo of him working with Mick Foley in the early days. He was focused on making it and mentions he looked up to Lawler. He learned he needed a persona to be able to talk people into the building.

-Austin throws to footage from 1991 at Memphis Studio and it’s Austin vs. Jarrett. Nice! This is great as there are like 50 people in a crappy ring with them in awful gear working a basic match. So much hair between these two back then. Austin uses brass knux and says he was still working on his punch and Jarrett jokes he still doesn’t have a working punch. Austin laughs and says he didn’t have Lawler and Fargo to teach him. Dundee hits the ring for the no contest. Austin says he loved that studio and asks Jarrett to describe it. Jarrett says it was fun and the fans were big on heel vs face. They wanted to be part of the show and be entertained for 90 minutes. The shows were on Saturday morning and became a training ground for the future. Austin puts over that it was sink or swim and you had veterans that made you work.

-Austin brings up Buddy Wayne who handled the ring music and Austin wanted some music. Wayne told him he needed a few years to earn that, but Austin asked again and he relented. Some trivia as Austin’s first ring music was Van Halen.

-WWE came calling but they wanted Jeff as a heel. Jerry was worried, but Jeff was elated about the chance to work the big time as a heel. To the footage as Jarrett makes his debut in Memphis on Superstars. The fans were confused why he was a heel. Jarrett says he felt ready and seasoned for this as he worked Dallas, Memphis, Japan Puerto Rico and had multiple styles of matches. Jarrett cuts a promo before the match and another after he squashes the jobber.

-Jarrett says it is different working with criticism from his dad and Lawler vs. the machine that is the WWE. Each had their own vision of Jeff Jarrett as a character and wrestler.

-Roadie: Jeff mentions until he got to WWE he didn’t even know what a vignette. He was told he would work on the road a bunch and gets wins and losses, but on TV would be pushed. For years Vince wanted a signing cowboy and Jeff being from Nashville fit the bill and then they signed Brian who actually could sing and Vince had his singing cowboy angle. He credits Vince for the vision of the character. The lighted at and outfit were all Vince’s ideas as was the character motivation of JJ using the WWE to conquer Nashville music and Jeff felt that was brilliant.

-Then they had Roadie sing “With My Baby Tonight,” and Jeff had to learn to lip sing it. Then they shot him doing a music video. He calls the whole process a blast and he remembers the boys popping for it. Austin felt it was a catchy song and Jarrett puts over the hook. We get the music video and it is so easy hearing Road Dogg’s voice now that it is weird watching Jarrett lip sing it. And to their point, it is a catchy song. Jarrett brings up what I just said that now you clearly can tell that is Brian signing, but back then nobody knew what Roadie sounded like.

-IC Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett at In Your House: Great match here that was classic southern wrestling. Jarrett puts over how athletic Shawn is and mentions he sand the song live earlier in the night. “They wanted Shawn to beat my ass.” He credits Brian for adding so much to the package of JJ and how he helped put heat on his matches. I have enjoyed doing my reviews of the early IYH shows because at 1:45 they are a breeze. I may have to go back and do the one from 95 and early 96. Shawn wins with Sweet Chin Music. Austin calls it a great match and jokes “if you stink the joint out with Shawn Michaels you are in trouble.” Jarrett laughs and agrees.

-WCW: Jarrett says was in a car wreck and injured his back. He sat on the sidelines and his contract came up. The vibe of the WWE roster was changing and he knew by 1996 it was time for a change. Vince and he weren’t seeing eye to eye and there was no animosity, but it was just time for a change. Austin asks if JJ fit with 4 Horsemen and nWo. Jeff puts over the nWo and how it took off, but knew if he was put in the group he would be playing 4th or 5th fiddle at best. Kevin Sullivan told him they wanted to be a Horseman as they felt he could make money with Flair. Jeff was all in and says it really took off (which he says some would debate) and he had great chemistry with Ric. He says the culture of WCW is the reason the story started and stopped. He was there only six week and immediately saw the differences between Vince and WCW. He knew Eric was the boss, but Sullivan was the booker and JJ Dillon had some say. In WWE it’s all Vince. He signed only for a year in WCW and feels it was a blessing in disguise.

-WWE return and Jarrett cuts a shoot promo in Oct 1997: He shoots on Eric Bischoff trying to bury him on Nitro and calls Eric a coward. He blames Eric for putting a lid on his potential as there was never a ladder of success in WCW. He then tells Vince to stop smiling because he left the WWF two years ago for the same reason. He craps on Vince’s vision for JJ and how it sucked. Vince: “yeah, it may have.” Jarrett says it was the early days of Vince Russo and it was scripted, but it was reality based. Vince McMahon wanted to capitalize on Jarrett just being on Nitro.

-Jarrett and Owen: Jarrett says he hated the Aztec Singlet and next they paired him with Fuller to do JJ again. At this time Austin, DX and Rock are taking off and JJ doesn’t fit. Vince then came up with the idea to cut his hair and come up with a new look. Jarrett was all for it and that started his “Don’t Piss Me Off Era.” That led to tagging with Owen and they bonded over having young kids and having fathers as promoters. They didn’t talk much about wrestling on the road and knew they would have success as a team. They knew they had a good slot as a heel tag team since the heel singles side was so full (“You had Mick, Kane, and Taker, depending on the month”).

-Austin wants to talk Owen and his pranks. He asks Jeff about traveling with Owen. Jeff says it was like living with Seinfeld as it was nothing about nothing but he made the road trips fly by. Owen would rib himself just to get a laugh. He tells a story of Owen getting into a debate with an employee at an airline about how to spell San Bernandino. Road Dogg was in on the joke and couldn’t keep a straight face.

-Oh man, Austin brings up they lost Owen at Over The Edge PPV which you never hear mentioned. Austin says he was working Taker in the Main Event and he doesn’t remember anything about the match and was just numb. Jeff says he didn’t realize how bad if affected him until 19 years later when he hit his lowest point of his life. The night before they worked with Edge and Christian and Owen wore a red nose to pop them. The next morning was the PPV and Owen found a spot for then to dress. Owen was on 3rd and Jeff was on 4th and he knew he had 15 minutes. Jeff was rushed to do a promo as he has no clue what is happening and Owen gets wheeled by him with the doctor on top doing CPR. Jeff went one way to do the match and Owen went the opposite. He went in the ring and saw the divot and all he knew was Owen fell, but thought it was a short fall that injured his knee. It hit him when he saw the loose rope and divot. The match was a blur and he saw a cop and told the he wanted to go the hospital. The cop took him and they were hauling ass to get there. Jeff knew the cop couldn’t answer much but wanted to know what he was stepping into and the cop told him it wasn’t good. Jeff says they were all trained and within a week they were back to work as that’s what they do. He didn’t know until 19 years later when he let it all out how much it affected him. He talks about it being called Survivor’s Remorse. He doesn’t think there was a right or wrong decision and says it is a night they would all like to forget.

-On RAW Jeff pins Godfather to become The IC Champ which is what was supposed to happen with Owen. Austin feels that run as IC Champ is when Jarrett hit his zone. Jarrett says he was a utility guy that fit in segments and “Don’t Piss Me Off” fit in The Attitude Era.

-Feud vs Chyna and they make sure to mention this was a different time in 98/99 as Jarrett is anti-woman. Jarrett does a promo with Moolah and breaks a guitar over her head. He then calls Mae an old bag and puts her in the figure four. Austin can’t help but laugh and Jarrett is laughing as well. Austin brings up that Bubba said you had to bring it with those two ladies. Moolah pulled Jarrett aside and told him he would regret if he didn’t knock the hell out of her and Mae slapped him and told him to make sure he locked in that figure four. Jeff says without Chyna this doesn’t work and credits her for looking better than the men on the roster. The people were just begging for Chyna to kick his ass.

-Jarrett says he was up for anything when the Chyna deal was presented to him. He knew it would work because he wasn’t a big guy and could talk and bump. At the same time his contract was coming up and he figured he would get a bump in pay, but it wasn’t coming. He knew he wasn’t Rock or Austin, but he had a great heel character. He knew they weren’t going to pay him as it got to a month left and Austin asks if he worked himself into a shoot. Jeff says had he communicated with Vince it would have worked out better. He takes all the blame and wishes he would have gone to Vince. It was the time when Vince was going public, so Jeff was dealing with JR primarily. By the time Vince did call him it was too late as he already signed with WCW. Austin can relate as he brings up his issues with Vince and the match with Brock. He didn’t talk to Vince and took his ball and went home. Jeff says he will take the blame for every screw up in his career. Austin refers people to the podcast with Conrad to get the full story.

-No Mercy 1999: Austin credits Jeff for being a pro and making sure Chyna was always in the right spot and bumped his ass for her. They both agree that Chyna was red hot and discuss that it was a good housekeeping match which was a plunder filled match. Ref gets bumped and Jarrett uses a belt for the win, but it’s erased because a belt is not a Housekeeping item. Jarrett credits Pat Patterson for the creative ending. Chyna uses a guitar which Austin mentions isn’t a housekeeping item either, but she’s a face so it works.

-Jeff says he knew he was leaving on good turns. His contract had expired the night before so he showed up and did business with dropping the title. Other than pay he was having the time of his life. He also knew he didn’t have as much of a chance to move further up the card. He shook Vince’s hand and gave him a hug which gave him closure. Vince left him a voice mail where he took some blame, put some on Jeff and more on Jim Ross, but they were good.

-WCW return: Jeff mentions he went through JJ and not Vince Russo for his deal to return. He knew his character was red hot and wanted to capitalize on it. Austin plays footage of Jarrett blasting Beetleguise with a guitar. He says it was Russo trying to shake things up and used Howard Stern’s cast of characters. Next is Fall Brawl where he blasts Gary Coleman with a guitar. Gary was nervous about taking the guitar shot and had five hours to kill before the match. Borash took Coleman to a toy story and Jeremy had to buy him a train. He was concerned about the guitar and got the idea to put toilet paper under his hat. You see the hat fall off and the paper fall out and he scrambled to put it back in place. “I swung for the fences.”

-Spring Stampede 2000: Jeff wins his first World Title as he beats DDP in the finals of a one-night tournament. We see footage from the match and for 2000 WCW that’s still a solid crowd at The United Center. Kimberly turns on DDP and Jarrett gets the win. Austin and Jarrett laugh that Kimberly had one job. Jarrett says that was a really special night as that was the Title he grew up wanting to have as it was the belt Flair and Dusty had. He was proud and it was very important to him. He puts DDP over as a hard working SOB and showed up with notes on the match. Jeff appreciated that and loved the match even with the wonky finish.

-Bash at The Beach 2000: Jarrett vs Hogan: Jarrett lays down for Hogan. Austin puts Hogan over for looking like a million bucks. Hogan pins Jarrett to win his last WCW World Title. Jarrett says he knew there was drama going around. A full match was laid out between Hogan, Jarrett and John L at 5 PM. They worked out a DQ and apparently Russo wanted it changed. Jeff defends Hogan and says Hogan would have put him over but wanted to know what was next for him and Russo had no answers. That didn’t work for Hogan so what happened was the plan. Jeff liked the idea of a program with Booker. Jeff says he grew up on Hogan and was upset getting a match with him on PPV was taken away from him. He also didn’t like the idea of working the people in that context as the fans don’t win. He was disgusted because he knew there was no good outcome and he just wanted to get to the match with Booker. To this day he knows he was part of something that was a black eye on the business. He goes back to communication not happening and egos and money got involved. Jarrett says he was okay with the DQ as he just wanted to give the fans a match. He was low man on the pole and just did what he was told.

-March 28, 2001: Vince buys WCW and fires Jeff Jarrett live on TV. Jeff doesn’t feel it was a stiff one and laughs at it. Jeff knew he had six months of guaranteed money and felt Vince was shooting an angle with him because of his wrestling roots.

-TNA: He got paid all summer to sit at home and had his first break in years. He didn’t think the timing was right with all the guys going to WWE to go back. He mentions his dad was in on buying WCW, but never got anything close like Bischoff did and then Vince ended up getting. His idea was to be the alternative and he didn’t care about being #1. He talks about having AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode. They found a way on cable and he is proud that his dream became a $50 million company. He takes pride in that they were a viable #2 promotion.

-Austin asks about leaving his executive in TNA. Jeff said he didn’t like where the company was headed and he wasn’t majority owner anymore. He wasn’t happy and just wanted to make a move. He is grateful for The Carters, but saw the writing on the wall. Jeff said the different was expectations as The Carters wanted to be a big #2 with high dollar talent and Jeff just wanted to be an alternative. He wanted to continue with home grown talent and The Carters wanted to get to the promised land quicker. “I wanted to be TNA and they wanted to be Impact Wrestling.”

-Alcohol Problems: In 2014 Jeff launched GFW and it never got off the ground. Anthem bought TNA and brought Jeff back into the company. Jeff had too much happening and believes addiction is something you can be born with. He started drinking seven days a week and fell off a cliff in 2017 when he was trying to rebuild a company. He had teenage kids and life just jumped on him. Oct 25, 2017 he made the commitment to get help and immediately he started to turn his life around. Congrats to Jeff on nearly five years of being sober!

-Hall of Fame: Jeff says it was bizarre, but mentions he took WWE up on their offer for rehab with the Wellness Program. He got the call about HOF and Karen couldn’t believe it. Jeff admits he called Vince 3-4 times in his early years of running TNA and nothing came out of it to work together, but Vince always took the call. Oh wow! The day before HOF he saw Vince at rehearsal, and it was the first time in 19 years. Vince gave him a hug and told him welcome back. Vince is Vince and it is really cool.

-Looking back Jeff says he is at peace with everything. He loves wrestling today now more than ever. He has never looked back with regret, but he is more at peace with things like Owen and walking out in Nashville. He talks about getting put in TNA and WWE Hall of Fame. He is asked about his legacy and he mentions he knew his role was to make his opponents look great. As a business guy he looked at Vince and his dad and adopted the idea of don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do.

-Another plug for Jarrett’s podcast with Conrad. He had zero interest in telling road stories, but now loves it. He says Conrad picks the topics and he is just there to talk about it. It lets him look back on his career and gave him an avenue to do road shows with Road Dogg. He is grateful for the fans that still come up to him and now their kids come up to him.

-More plugs for the podcast and Austin wraps things up as we close this one out.

-I enjoyed this a lot more than I figured, but I forgot how many moments involved Jarrett. Whether it was the Owen tragedy or issues with his contract and Vince to the Hogan deal and founding TNA. This is a must watch I feel and the nearly two hours flew by. The Owen story was heart breaking and Jeff’s fight back from addiction should be celebrated. Thanks for reading!

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