Jeff Jarrett's controversial 1999 WWE exit was the sort of departure that once upon a time would have had him ousted forever. Forever's never never in wrestling, but Vince McMahon's public denigration of 'Double J' during the infamous March 26, 2001 edition of Monday Night Raw was considered a Sports Entertainment fatality.
Paraphrasing the catchphrase he insisted Jeff beat into the ground, McMahon suggested Jarrett spell his name "Capital G, Double O, Double N, Double E", not in an effort to rebadge him as the dyslexic twin brother of his New Generation ice hockey flop, but to let the entire fanbase know that he was to be gone and forgotten with immediate effect.
The segment was particularly cynical in how methodically it was produced. McMahon stood in front of monitors mirroring the supposed simulcast, but the "WCW" that was supposedly airing at the time couldn't have featured Jarrett noodling around backstage because he wasn't even on that broadcast. Presumably by orders of The Chairman, WWE staffers were sent looking for some b-roll to allow for this public firing to even occur. On a night where several panic buttons were pressed, this was calculated and knowingly cruel.
But, McMahon knew who he was dealing with when he cast him as a charlatan country music star years earlier. As he did when he allowed Jarrett to retool himself as something of a Stone Cold-lite in 1998 when it became clear he wasn't getting within spitting distance of 'The Rattlesnake' himself. As he does now, as he books Jarrett in an actual match against Elias on Raw.
A lot has changed between Jarrett's final 1999 appearance and this jaw-dropping return 20 years later. WWE most of all. Monday Night's are still alright for fighting, but there was a time where even an acoustic guitar felt electrically charged.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.