Love your hate
As a youngster, some bad guys were cool – Undertaker, Brian Pillman – they were intriguing, took no shit, and played by their own rules…and then there was Jeff Jarrett. This entire series actually owes its soul to my twelve year-old self’s desire to ball tiny fists and punch that Tennessee bleach blonde hillbilly right in his doofy slackjaw. As I’ve gotten older however, I found myself begin to appreciate those talents that truly get my blood boiling. After all, wrestling is at it’s best when there is an emotional attachment. This pinnacle of maturity and perspective has lead to an uncomfortable and paradoxical conclusion – that I both love and hate Jeff Jarrett. I hate his cheap and predictable antics to get himself heat, his never-to-be-believed repentance – that voice, his face with its ever present shit-eating grin, that chicken sausage of a finger always pointing knowingly to his doughy temple after he so much as reverses a hammerlock. This is Hatin’ On: Jeff Jarrett, because seriously, fuck that guy.
Let’s get one thing straight, if you saw that image of Jeff Jarrett and don’t want to punch him, wrestling may not be for you. And that’s as intentional as it is a natural gift of Double J. This is the same man who married Kurt Angle’s ex-wife and then preceded to incorporate it into his storyline with Angle. This is the same man that then took Karen Angle (now Karen Jarrett) to AAA in Mexico, and thought “How can I be as offensive as possible?” and appeared in front of thousands of fans in a sombrero & poncho, winging tortillas into the crowd. Read more with this gallery of Jeff and Karen Jarrett’s Mexican Vacation.
Whenever Jeff Jarrett does turn face, a 24-hour clock starts counting down the on-air time until he inevitably shows his true colors (again, duh), and has turned heel no less than 1,769 times over the course of his career. His absolute coolest feature is the guitar – which he ripped off from Honky Tonk Man, because of course he did. Jeff Jarrett is also the lead founder of TNA along with his father, Jerry. But in creating what was then a bright and fledgling wrestling promotion, and a true potential alternative to WWE, he – in typical Jeff Jarrett fashion – hamstrung the company for a decade by deciding to call this alternative TNA. Real edgy, slap nuts.
But ol’ Double J is more calculated than you might initially believe. In AAA, he knew exactly what he was doing, and exactly what the response would be. You see, Jeff kept those tortillas in a styrofoam cooler, and when he would turn to start heckling audience members and flinging tortillas, he would hoist the cooler onto his opposite shoulder. This not only protected his blindside from his previously thrown and now returning tortillas – it also blocked most of the other trash being hurled his way too. That instant heat Jarrett garners turns otherwise forgettable 6-minute “nothing on the line but pride and future championship consideration.” matches into on-your-fucking-feet-thank-hell-the-babyface-pulled-out-the-win reactions. He’s a tremendous heel exactly because he’s such hell to look at, and even manages to be worse when he does anything at all. Before you say “But wait, hasn’t Jeff Jarrett laid out multiple old ladies with guitar shots? That’s pretty cool.” To that, I say: It was the least he could do. After all those years of suffering his presence on a weekly basis, whapping those old broads kabong-style was the least we, as fans, deserved.
All of that said, there is no question Jeff Jarrett is a legend in wrestling. He is an icon – a really, really shitty icon. The kind your out-of-touch grandmother gets you for Christmas and you keep in a shoe box in your closet because it’s just so hideous to look at, and it’s existence makes you question the religion to which you belong and were brought up to love. Well, take that gaudy, ham-fisted, shitty icon out of the shoe box. Display it proudly above your front door and say “Ain’t it great?”