By the late 90s the WWF was providing some controversial television but was at the peak of their popularity during the Attitude Era. Many wrestlers changed their characters during the era and provided realistic angles to connect better with wrestling fans.
One of the more drastic changes was Jeff Jarrett. Prior to 1999, Jarrett had been portrayed as a country music singer who believed to be the greatest thing to walk the face of the earth. By the late 1990s Jarrett had become a complete jackass with his manager Debra by his side. Jarrett would tend to be over protective of her and her assets.
At SummerSlam 1999, Jarrett won his sixth and final WWF Intercontinental Championship in a match against D’Lo Brown. The following night on RAW, an open contract was put on Jarrett’s door so anyone could sign it. Billy Gunn wanted to sign the contract but didn’t have a pen. So, Billy asked his friend Chyna to guard the door so he could sign the contract. She did a great job of guarding the door so that SHE could sign the contract.
There was a confrontation between Chyna and Billy Gunn on the August 23rd RAW which led to Jeff Jarrett coming out and smashing a guitar over Chyna’s head only for Gunn to do the same to Billy moments later. Chyna and Billy wrestled on the 9/2 Smackdown for the contract, which Chyna won.
Now with Chyna as his challenger Jarrett needed to prove his manhood by beating any and all women that got in his way. He did this as a way to show the fans he could defeat Chyna in the squared circle. Over the course of the next several weeks, Jarrett demonstrated his power over women by putting several women in his figure four. Many of the divas were put in the hold including Hall of Famers Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young and ring announcer Lilian Garcia. Jeff also put the hold on Cindy Margolis.
They squared off at Unforgiven on September 26th, 1999. They wrestled for nearly twelve minutes and saw Jarrett retain the championship when Chyna got disqualified. Debra hit Jarrett over the head with his guitar and Chyna got the victory. However, a second referee came out and overturned the decision and gave the match to Jarrett due to the interference by Debra. This would setup a rematch for the following months pay per view.
Following the match, Jarrett began to state that Chyna should be in the kitchen and not in a wrestling ring. Jeff continued to berate Chyna and women in general leading into their rematch at No Mercy on October 17th. Leading into the event, Jarrett attacked Miss Kitty who was aligned with Chyna. The match would be contested under hardcore rules with a “Good Housekeeping Match.”
Behind the scenes there was a lot more to the story leading to No Mercy. Jarrett’s contract was expiring and was looking to jump ship to World Championship Wrestling since the WWF offered Jarrett a contract that had a hefty pay cut. Thus, out of fear that Jarrett would bring the championship to WCW Nitro, Vince McMahon gave Jarrett a payment of $150,000.
Jarrett showed up to No Mercy and competed in a near nine minute match with Chyna for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Chyna won the match after hitting Jarrett with a guitar. The match featured plenty of weapons and is a memorable moment in wrestling history as Chyna became the first women to hold a singles championship other than the WWF Women’s Championship. No other woman has won the WWF Intercontinental Championship since.
The feud was memorable for its historical aspect with Chyna being the first woman to win a singles championship and for the controversial angle that involved a man beating up a woman. It was at this moment that Jarrett elevated himself and also made Chyna a credible singles wrestler. Sadly, Jarrett jumped ship to WCW and the WWF wasn’t able to capitalize more on Jarrett’s new found momentum.
Jarrett would go on and become a multiple time WCW World Champion and NWA-TNA World Champion. Chyna’s singles career was short-lived as she would become the manager for Eddie Guerrero by the middle of 2000 and focused on the WWF Women’s Championship before leaving the company in 2001.
What are your memories of the feud between Jarrett and Chyna? Did you enjoy it or did it cross a line? Leave your thoughts below.
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34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.