Competition for the title of 'Jeopardy!' GOAT heats up as contestants talk strategy, rivalry

ANGELINE JANE BERNABE

Competition for the title of 'Jeopardy!' GOAT heats up as contestants talk strategy, rivalry originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

There have been many winners in “Jeopardy!” show history, but who is the greatest of all time?

Well, if you’ve ever wondered, you’re in luck because three of the top winners ever in the show’s history will return to the game show’s stage and battle it out for the title of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.”

The show began taping on Tuesday and is set to air in January.

PHOTO: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer pose on the set of 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.' (ABC News)

In November, ABC announced that the 3 highest money winners: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, will go head to head to compete in a series of matches for the primetime tournament.

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The first to win 3 matches will receive $1 million and bragging rights to the title of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.” The 2 non-winners will receive $250,000.

“I think the fans are gonna be very happy to see it settled on this stage, instead of arguments on chat boards, but there’s a lotta luck in a game of ‘Jeopardy,’” Rutter told ‘Good Morning America.’ “Who gets the Daily Double? Who -- who knows the final jeopardies? We run this back, maybe you get a different winner, but -- it’s all gonna happen out here.”

Between the 3, Jennings, Rutter and Holzhauer have won a combined total of $10.5 million.

Jennings is a fan favorite and holds the record for the longest winning streak in the history of “Jeopardy!” with 74 consecutive games, for a total take of $3,370,700.

(MORE: 'Jeopardy!' legend Ken Jennings talks nearly losing his record to James Holzhauer)

Rutter, on the other hand, holds the record as the highest money winner on the game show -- as well as in game show history ever -- with a winning of $4,688,436.

Holzhauer, the phenom whose aggressive wagering was part of his winning formula, holds 15 of the top single-day winnings records on “Jeopardy!,” and won the 2019 Tournament of Champions. His earnings total $2,712,216.

PHOTO: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer pose with Alex Trebek on the set of 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.' (ABC News)

On Twitter, the 3 have already taken jabs at each other, displaying some competitive rivalry ahead of the epic tournament.

Shortly after the tournament was announced, Holzhauer began trash talking his opponents and compared the competition to pro-wrestling.

“Brad Rutter has never lost to a human, but what’s his record against steel chairs?” he tweeted.

Holzhauer also tweeted at Ken Jennings with some statistics Holzhauer conjured up of the chances of Jennings winning the title.

“See Ken, the numbers don’t lie, and they spell disaster for you in January,” he tweeted.

Jennings replied back saying, “All proceeds go to buying James Holzhauer a nice sport coat or blazer, and maybe even a necktie.”

“It’s kayfabe,” said Rutter about the social media trash talk. “It’s like pro wrestling. You gotta get your -- get your finger on the guy’s face.”

All beef aside, the three contestants each have the tournament on their brains and have been strategizing how to become the GOAT.

“The format of the tournament means we’re all gonna be lookin’ for opportunities when we have them, and that’s gonna mean big wagers,” said Jennings. “I’m not an aggressive ‘Jeopardy!’ player by nature, but I like to play comfortably and have fun out there, but I think there’s gonna be some big bets.”

(MORE: ‘Jeopardy’ legend Ken Jennings calls James Holzhauer’s run ‘astounding’)

All 3 have also admitted that they’ve studied each other and might have to adjust their playing styles.

“You always gotta scout, you know, just like anything else,” said Rutter.

“We had been scouting James,” said Jennings.

As for Alex Trebek, the “Jeopardy!” host isn’t saying who he thinks will win the title ahead of the tournament and is letting the game unfold naturally.

PHOTO: ABC News' T.J. Holmes interviews Alex Trebek on the set of 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.' (ABC News)

“There are elements that favor each of the three guys. And James Holzhauer of course is more impressive right now because of his great appearance last year on the program,” said the “Jeopardy!” host. “But the other guys, don’t discount them. They didn’t win all that money by accident.”

“It is really up in the air. It depends on so many things. Luck is going to play a factor,” he added. “We have three equally matched contestants who have demonstrated by their performances on our program that they are the best of the best … It doesn’t get any better than this.”

“Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” will kick off on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 8 pm ET.