Wrestler of the Day – February 7: Jeff Hardy

There isn’t a great selection today but since he debuted a new gimmick on Impact, here’s Jeff Hardy.

While he’s better known as a tag wrestler, Jeff had a few quick appearances as a jobber back in the mid 90s. From June 6, 1994 on Raw, when Hardy was just 16 years old.

Razor Ramon vs. Keith Davis

Razor hits a HARD chop to the chest and throws Davis around before catching him in the fallaway slam. Off to an abdominal stretch as Vince and Savage talk about the second class of the WWF Hall of Fame. Savage says welcome to the big leagues as Razor toys with Davis. The announcers ignore the match to preview the King of the Ring and it’s a belly to back superplex and the Razor’s Edge for the pin.

Rating: D. Total and complete squash as Jeff looked to be even younger than his sixteen years. He literally had no offense and there was nothing to the match but it’s always interesting to see something like this. Who would have thought these two would fight on PPV ten years later?

That was really just a quick appearance before Jeff would move to the independents, including his own promotion known as OMEGA. He and his brother Matt would form a tag team known as the Hardy Boys who would eventually catch the WWF’s eye and be brought in full time in 1998. Their first year didn’t do much but they would beat the Acolytes in a fluke for their first World Tag Team Titles. The reign wouldn’t last long but they would soon

Edge/Christian vs. Hardy Boys

They’re the New Brood here but you get the idea. The winner gets $100,000 and Terri. This is the night where these four broke through to the other side and changed the company for more or less ever. Keep in mind, none of the spots you’re about to see have ever been seen in the company before so this is all new stuff. What you have here is four guys being told to go out there and just do it. I’ve long since thought this WWF’s answer to the cruiserweights.

This is the Terri Invitational Tournament. Spell it out for yourselves. We start on the floor and this should be awesome. It’s a fight to get to the ladders. I’ve never gotten why you need to get to the ladder first. It’s not like that means you win or anything. I remember in War Games 2000 in WCW you had to get the belt down and leave with it. Kevin Nash just stood at the door. He didn’t have to do anything but leave with the belt, so why risk getting hurt to go up there and get it?

Let someone else do the work. First ladder is brought in and down goes Edge. The reactions to this are great. The fans are gasping at every spot which is what you want: to get the crowd excited. We’ve been in this match maybe four minutes and it’s already way ahead of the rest of the show. Oh Gangrel was thrown out. Swanton to Edge onto a ladder. Looking back this isn’t that great by comparison but it’s still very fun.

You have to keep in mind that there is nothing to compare it to at the moment. This is the first multi-man ladder match so this is just mind blowing. Also it’s the first time that there isn’t a big man like Ramon in there. These guys are designed for matches like this and it’s working really well. Edge is almost there and Matt just chucks a ladder at him. That was cool.

Matt’s crotch gets crushed. You know, it occurs to me that in storyline, Matt and Edge dated Lita, in the Christian/Jericho and Lita/Trish angle it was Christian and Lita and Jeff and Lita had a small thing once Matt was gone. Dang that girl gets around. Everyone is down now as Christian takes a Twist of Fate. Second ladder is set up. Jeff takes a Downward Spiral from the ladder.

The great thing about a ladder is that while most of the spots are from about the level of the second rope, having a ladder involved makes it seem cooler. The see-saw spot debuts and Christian and Matt get slammed in the face with it. These things never get old. The look on Edge’s face with him laying on his back with his eyes open is great. All four go up at once and all four come down with all four landing on the ropes.

Crowd is going nuts mind you. The roof camera view is pretty awesome actually. Edge climbs one ladder, Christian and Jeff climb another. Matt slams the ladder with two guys into the other ladder so Edge falls. Jeff jumps from one ladder to the other and knocks Edge off to grab the money. SWEET ENDING.

Rating: A. Just yes. This is the reason to see this PPV. This match just changed the WWF forever as they set the standard for awesome matches with ladders. The fans ate this up like no other and it still definitely holds up today. Just a great match. start the feud that would establish them as one of the best teams in the world. They would enter a series of matches with Edge and Christian known as the Terri Invitational Tournament, culminating in the first ever tag team ladder match at No Mercy 1999.

Later in 1999 a new team debuted who were obsessed with tables. The Hardy Boys would face this new team known as the Dudley Boys in a tag team tables match at Royal Rumble 2000.

Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz

I believe match #1 or #2 in a series of roughly 8000 and it’s an elimination tables match. Bubba praises John Rocker of the Braves who had recently gone on a massive anti-New York rant in Sports Illustrated. The Hardys hit the ring and the match starts fast with Bubba hitting the Bubba Bomb on Jeff. No tags here thank goodness. Bubba sets up a table in the ring but before he can get another one, Jeff takes him out with a HUGE flip dive.

Jeff gets sent into the steps as Matt escapes a powerbomb through the table. D-Von suplexes Matt as Jeff CRACKS Bubba in the head with a chair. In a SICK spot, Jeff tries to run the railing but Bubba throws the table at Jeff, knocking him out of the air. That sounded GREAT. The pairings trade off and Bubba loads up the backsplash through the table, only for Jeff to come back and try a double superplex. D-Von moves the table but doesn’t stop the suplex.

Matt brings in a ladder because this might as well be a TLC style match. We head to the floor where the ladder is set up in front of a table with Bubba on it. Matt dives through Bubba through the table just as Jeff dives in from off camera with a splash, sending Bubba through the table in another awesome looking spot. So it’s 2-1 now with Jeff leaning a table up against the barricade. The steps are set up on their end and a table is set up like a bridge between the steps and the apron.

D-Von is placed on the bridged table but moves before Matt dives through him. He moves AGAIN to avoid a diving Jeff, sending him through the leaning table. Cool sequence there by Ninja D-Von. Apparently Bubba doesn’t have to leave. Ok that makes things more interesting. The Dudleys set up two steps in the ring and put a table across them before hitting a HUGE powerbomb on Matt to eliminate (in a sense) him. The tables are LOUD tonight too. Jeff gets beaten into the aisle but Matt quickly follows, only to get WHACKED in the head with a chair.

The Dudleys stack up four tables in front of the entrance (it’s the MSG setup where the entrance is opposite the cameras). Matt gets put on the tables and Jeff is CRACKED in the head again to break up the save attempt. Bubba climbs onto the taxi over the aisle to splash Matt, but remember that wouldn’t win the match. Jeff climbs up after him (I’m not sure where D-Von went) and blasts him with a chair, knocking him through two of the tables (still doesn’t win). Matt puts D-Von on the table and Jeff dives off the taxi with the Swanton through D-Von through the table for the win.

Rating: B+. This was AWESOME with all four guys being young and hungry here. The Dudleys were out to prove themselves and the Hardys were out to show they could hang in a fight. They had already proven they could fight in a violent match like the ladder match, but this was a brawl instead of a high flying match. REALLY fun stuff here though and well worth a look if you haven’t seen it. The Dudleys would get the titles next month, setting up the first triangle ladder match at Mania.

The three teams would eventually combine into one of the most famous matches of all time at Wrestlemania X7: Tables Ladders and Chairs II.

Tag Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Edge and Christian

The Dudleys are the champions coming in. There’s no story to it, but was there ever to one of these things? Edge and Christian get double teamed to start and the Dudleyz hit a double flapjack on Christian. Both sets of Boys fight in the corner with Jeff hitting Poetry in Motion on both at once. Cue Edge and Christian again with the ladder before Edge brings in a chair. The Canadians put Matt in the Tree of Woe and stand on his crotch. No wonder Lita left him for Edge.

Edge stats to climb but Matt makes the stop and goes up himself. That goes badly for him of course as Edge uses the chair as a stepping stone to take Matt down with a clothesline. Jeff dropkicks Edge off the ladder before joining with his brother to dropkick a ladder into the Dudleys’ faces. There are two ladders in the ring now in opposite corners. Christian is slammed down and hit with a stereo splash/legdrop from the Hardys. The Dudleys are back in now and there’s What’s Up.

It’s Table Time with Edge being placed on the first one, but Jeff tries a hurricanrana to Bubba, only to be powerbombed through Edge through the table. This is nonstop action so far. The Dudleys set up four tables at ringside as Paul tells us of Big Daddy Dudley’s construction company in Dudleyville. Currently there’s a table in the corner and three ladders in the ring. Bubba picks up a ladder and CRACKS Matt in the head with it before setting it up next to the other two. All three are set up in a row in the middle of the ring so here’s a six way climb.

Matt and Christian go flying first with Matt landing on the ropes and Christian falling all the way to the floor. Jeff and D-Von fall into the opposite ropes and Edge and Bubba fall backwards, to put all six guys down. Edge is the only one halfway standing and Christian sets up a table on the floor. Bubba dumps a ladder to the floor to clear the ring out a bit as Spike Dudley, Bubba and D-Von’s cousin, runs in. He hits Edge low and puts Christian through a table with the Dudley Dog off the apron.

Edge and Christian’s friend Rhyno runs in and destroys everyone in sight before sending Edge up the ladder to get the belts. Cue Lita to jerk Edge off. The ladder. Anyway with the thong sticking WAY out, Rhyno picks her up but gets hit low by Spike. Lita goes up for a rana on Rhyno and Spike cracks him in the head with a chair, sending Rhyno into the ladder, knocking Edge into the ropes. A Doomsday Device puts Rhyno down again but Lita CRACKS Spike in the head with a chair. She then takes off her top, giving us the biggest pop of the night. Not that it matters as she walks into a 3D and is now done for the match.

The Canadians come back in with chairs to take the champions out before Christian brings out the huge ladder. It’s on the floor but it’s still taller than the ones in the ring. Jeff, ever the crazy man, goes ALL THE WAY to the top and hits a Swanton onto Spike and Rhyno (read as Rhyno barely gets hit and Spike takes every bit of it). The super ladder is set up in the ring now and it’s a race between D-Von and Christian. Matt moves the ladder away, leaving both guys hanging from the cord holding the belts.

Both guys fall down, but Jeff gets up on a regular ladder and tries to walk on the other small ladders like a tightrope. Jeff loses his balance though and has to hang from the cord as well. Bubba grabs the ladder and walks away with it while Jeff’s feet are still in it, pulling Jeff’s body back. The feet pull away and Jeff swings forward, right into a spear from Edge off the super ladder, drawing a BIG gasp from the crowd. That’s the spot that made everyone realize Edge was going to be something VERY special.

Matt and Bubba go up on the super ladder, but Rhyno shoves it over, sending them crashing through the four tables at ringside. D-Von goes up now but Edge grabs his feet, allowing Rhyno to give Christian enough of a boost to beat D-Von to the top and get the titles, finally ending this carnage.

Rating: A+. If you’re looking for pure insanity and non-stop violence, this is the pinnacle of the genre. These nine people went for over fifteen minutes and never once stopped beating on each other. The spots are insane and the big spots still have you in awe. This match holds up incredibly well and is just as impressive as it was twelve years ago. Absolute masterpiece that blows away every MITB match that I can remember.

The rest of 2001 wasn’t much for the Hardys as the Invasion sucked up the entire company. The team spent most of the year feuding with the Dudleys to less fanfare every time. Jeff would spend the first half of 2002 treading water before saying he was tired of just talking about living life. His great idea: challenging the Undertaker to a ladder match for the Undisputed Title on July 1, 2002.

Undisputed WWE Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker

So the idea here is that Jeff has been destroyed by Taker every time they’ve fought but Taker has never been in a ladder match so Jeff should have a chance. Taker goes for the ladder but gets it kicked into his face. Jeff gets a chair shot in but Taker catches the ladder shot from Jeff. They haven’t been in the ring together yet. Taker hammers on Jeff for awhile but gets sent into a ladder to slow things down.

Jeff launches himself at the ladder with Taker under it, probably hurting himself even worse. They get into the ring and Jeff is down again. Taker gets a big shot with the ladder to knock Jeff into the table. He has the match won but instead Taker climbs down and pounds on Jeff even more. This is SO slow. Jeff tries to fire in some shots and goes off on Taker but a single punch slows him down.

Taker hits a running clothesline in the corner. This is the least interesting ladder match I’ve ever seen. Taker misses a charge in the corner and slams into the ladder….but is back on offense about 4 seconds later. Whisper in the Wind takes Taker down but the champ is back up and hitting a big boot before Jeff gets in another shot. A low blow puts Taker down as does a flip dive to the floor.

Jeff gets the big ladder but Taker stops him with a Last Ride attempt. The WORST RANA EVER sends Taker to the floor as a counter and Jeff climbs. He touches the gold but Taker makes the save. Taker goes for the Last Ride again but Jeff cracks him with a chair twice and climbs very slowly. And never mind as Undertaker cracks him with the chair and “chokeslams” (more like choke-shoves) him off to retain.

Rating: D. I remember this a lot more fondly than it was here. The ending is good and is some decent drama, but the rest of it is just SO slow and uninteresting. Jeff never had a chance but Taker did nothing but punch the rest of the time and that doesn’t make for an interesting match at all. Very weak match but a good ending.

Jeff gets back up so Taker goes back in and hits a Last Ride. Taker rides off but Jeff gets the mic and says he’s still standing. Taker comes back to hit him but stops and raises Jeff’s hand, supposedly turning face in the process. I don’t remember that coming for a few more weeks but allegedly it was here.

 

Jeff would leave WWE in spring of 2003 citing burnout and spend time on the independent scene before debuting in TNA in June 2004. He would main event their first pay per view against Jeff Jarrett and would be in the co-main event of their second pay per view, Turning Point 2004, in a six man tag with AJ Styles and Randy Savage against Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett and Kevin Nash.

Jeff Hardy/AJ Styles/Randy Savage vs. Kings of Wrestling

Savage was kidnapped remember. The Kings come out to Elvis impersonator music and Elvis suits. AJ looks like he’s about 19 here. Jarrett is world champion. Hall looks almost human. AJ and Jarrett start us off. Bah I can’t say Jeff in this. AJ and the champ see who can get the bigger reactions from the crowd then do some technical stuff. A headscissors takes Jarrett down and a dropkick takes him down again.

Off to Hall. He and Nash are wrestling in those Elvis suits. Give me a break. Hall works on the arm so AJ takes the knees out to control. He wants Nash so Hall spits at him and makes the tag. AJ uses the speed again and dropkicks all three Kings down. Hardy is tagged in and dropkicks Hall and Jarrett down as things speed up. Slingshot dropkick by Hardy has Nash in trouble.

Nash gets in a big boot and Hardy is in trouble. Here’s the champ who beat Hardy last month at Victory Road. I always thought that was two or three months before this show. Jarrett hot shots him on the top rope and it’s time to strut. Back to Hall for a discus punch and chokeslam for two. Nash comes in for a sideslam which gets two also. Back to Hall who hooks the abdominal stretch. Nothing but trademark stuff from the Outsiders.

Hall hooks a modified STF but pulls on the hair instead of the neck. That has to hurt. Hardy gets his mule kick (catching Hall squarely in the hand) which is enough for the tag to AJ. Things speed up again and AJ cleans house. Moonsault into the reverse DDT gets two. Styles Clash to Jarrett is avoided and Nash breaks up the springboard forearm. Fallaway slam for two as we’re just waiting on Savage to make the big miracle appearance.

Nash hits the framed elbow (complete with Karate Elvis Action!) for two. Back to Jarrett and they work over the ribs which the Outsiders started on. Naturally this leads to the Figure Four LEG Lock but AJ rolls him up for two. Hall breaks up the tag and Nash hooks a bearhug. See, THAT makes sense. AJ makes the unseen tag and it’s back to Jarrett. They slug it out and both hit cross bodies to put them down.

AJ finally makes the tag to Hardy and house is cleaned. Stroke is countered into a Twist of Stunner and AJ adds a springboard cross body to Hall. Nash takes out the referee though as the numbers are catching up with them. Hardy goes up for the Swanton but Hall hits him with the guitar. Hardy falls forward onto Jarrett for the Swanton anyway but there’s no referee. Here’s Savage with a big old bald spot as is his custom. Naturally with everyone down he wants a tag and fires off right hands. All three of the Kings get caught in sleepers for some reason. Jarrett tries a sunset flip but Savage falls on him for the pin.

Rating: C-. The match was ok but the ending was HORRIBLE (again). Savage might have been out there 90 seconds. He would be gone the next day because he proposed a one month title reign for himself and said he’d drop it back to Jarrett the next month but it was vetoed. That’s his last match, which is a sad note to go out on.

 

Hardy wouldn’t do much in 2005 due to being suspended for the summer due to missing a scheduled appearance. He would be suspended again in December and not appear on TNA TV again. In August he would return to WWE and receive an Intercontinental Title shot on October 2, 2006 on Raw.

I

Intercontinental Title: Johnny Nitro vs. Jeff Hardy

Nitro is defending. JR gives us a factoid about Melina: she likes three way sex. Well you can’t say he beats around the…..never mind. Nitro controls to start but Jeff comes back with a quick Twist attempt. Melina tries to distract Jeff but only gets him to dive on Johnny as we take a break. Back with Nitro holding a reverse chinlock. During the break the slingshot dropkick from Hardy missed to give the champion control.

Jeff fights up but misses the Whisper in the Wind. Nitro stomps away in the corner and Jeff hits the post. Dang Melina can scream. Off to a surfboard submission and Jeff is in trouble. Jeff comes back with a mule kick and then a second one as Nitro is in some trouble very quickly. Whisper in the Wind gets two and Nitro heads to the floor. A baseball slide sets up the railing run and Melina gets taken out too. They both go up, resulting in Jeff backdropping him off the top and hitting the Swanton for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. Pretty decent match here as both guys were still young and fast. It was clear that Jeff was going to be the bigger deal than his brother and that Nitro was going to be a decent sized star himself and this was a good example of that. Nothing great here but a title change is always cool to see.

2007 wasn’t much of a year for Jeff as a singles guy as he would hang around the midcard before reforming the Hardy Boys for a reunion tour and another Tag Team Title reign. Later in the year, Hardy would be the one of the last man remaining on a Survivor Series team along with HHH, leading to a match with HHH at Armageddon. Hardy would shock the world by pinning HHH, setting up a World Title match at Royal Rumble 2008. The show did one of the highest buyrates in the history of the event and almost all of the credit was given to Hardy.

Raw World Title: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy

Jeff is Intercontinental Champion. Feeling out process to start with Jeff taking over via a headlock on the mat. An atomic drop gets two but Orton hits him in the face and brags to the crowd about it. Orton gets sent to the floor and a baseball slide sends him into the barricade. Hardy follows with a plancha to the floor as JR SCREAMS to get Orton back in the ring. Randy tries to walk out with the belt but Hardy will have none of that. Orton is rammed into the announce table and back inside we go.

As Hardy tries a springboard, Orton dropkicks him right back to the floor in a big crash. There’s the Orton Stomp and some choking as Orton shows off his wide range of offense. This is before Orton was orange so the visuals aren’t all that bad. A pair of knee drops get two on Hardy as Orton asks the fans if they believe in Jeff still. Hardy sends Orton over the top to the floor, followed by a bad clothesline off the apron (it hit Orton’s arm and completely missed his neck and chest).

Back in again and Jeff misses a charge into the post, giving Orton both a two count and control again. Randy hooks a chinlock with a bodyscissors followed by a powerslam for two. Back to the chinlock (yep it’s an Orton match) to fill in some time. Jeff fights up again and takes Randy down with a clothesline but can’t follow up. Jeff starts striking with everything he’s got and hits the Whisper in the Wind to fire up the crowd even more.

That’s one thing I haven’t talked about enough here: the fans are WAY behind Hardy here. It isn’t the usual New York reaction to a face. They want Jeff to win the title NOW. Hardy hits the slingshot dropkick in the corner but before he can hit the Swanton, Randy bails to the floor. Jeff is cool with that and hits (kind of at least) a moonsault to the floor. Back in and Jeff loads up the Twist but Orton counters into the RKO out of nowhere to retain.

Rating: C+. That’s a really bad finish for a few reasons. First of all, it’s WAY too sudden. If they were shooting at punching the audience in the stomach I guess they accomplished that, but it doesn’t do much else. Hardy winning was an option, but at the end of the day they made the right move here….I think. I was disappointed Hardy won, but thankfully WWE stretched it out for a LONG time before he got the title, which was the right move at the end of the day.

The chase would continue all year with Hardy getting closer and closer every single time, leading up to a triple threat match against new champion Edge and HHH at Armageddon 2008.

Smackdown World Title: Edge vs. HHH vs. Jeff Hardy

Solid heat on Edge and a solid gut also. Jeff goes straight for Edge as JR can’t remember if Jeff got attacked in Baltimore or Boston. Basic opening so far with Jeff driving the action. He sends Edge and HHH to the floor and dives on the Canadian. Trips takes his head off though so it’s Edge vs. HHH in the ring now. How was that never the main event of a bigger show than Great American Bash?

Jumping knee to the face puts Edge down as does a neckbreaker. Edge’s bad luck continues as he gets caught in a facebuster. Jeff back in now and he gets a facebuster for Christmas also. HHH tries the Pedigree to Edge but Jeff takes them both out with a Whisper in the Wind. The Game is down and Jeff gets crotched on the top. HHH comes in to get Edge and it’s a Doomsday Device with Jeff hitting a Whisper in the Wind instead of a clothesline. Edge’s bump is SCARY here as he lands on the back of his head.

Pedigree to Jeff is countered again and he goes into the buckle. Slingshot dropkick hits HHH but the Edge-O-Matic takes Jeff down for two. HHH’s bad luck continues in the form of a spear. Twist of Fate and Swanton hit HHH but Edge makes a last second save. Everybody goes to the floor and HHH is mostly dead.

Edge gets whipped around a lot and Jeff loads up the announce table. HHH pops up again and sends Edge onto the table but not through it. Jeff escapes a Pedigree and gets killed with a spear through the third table. Edge vs. HHH in the ring with the Canadian hitting an Edgecution for no cover. Spear is countered into the spinebuster and there’s the Pedigree.

Kozlov of all people pops up and breaks up the pin before beating on HHH. Matt Hardy comes out to get rid of Kozlov. Jeff goes up but Kozlov shoves him away before the Swanton can hit. Matt and Vlad go up the aisle and only Edge is in the ring. HHH comes back in but walks into a spear for two. A frustrated Edge goes to the floor and sets for a Conchairto.

Jeff grabs a chair and BLASTS Edge with it. He wants the Swanton but HHH crotches him. That was a sick, sick chair shot and it was only with one hand. HHH grabs the Pedigree in the corner but Jeff dives off the top with the Swanton to HHH and covers Edge for the pin and his first world title. The roof blows off the place and with good reason. The LD exploded and I did too, since I slept through the original broadcast of this and the first thing I saw was Jeff diving onto HHH.

Rating: B. Solid match all around here but the point here was for the ending. That Swanton and the reaction from the crowd was excellent. The whole thing worked perfectly and the match was good. Not sure why they had Kozlov and Matt in there but it wasn’t a big issue. The right man won here and that’s all that matters.

The last five minutes of this are spent on a huge celebration by Jeff. Totally awesome moment for one simple reason: this has been a year in the making and Jeff felt like he finally earned it. This could have been in the main event of Wrestlemania but the shock of it was a great bonus perk. I’m not a Hardy fan but this is still awesome on every possible level.

 

The title reign would end in his first defense when Matt Hardy would turn on his brother, revealing that he had been the source of several accidents that had befallen Jeff recently. Matt would win the first match at Wrestlemania but the two would meet again at Backlash 2009.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

I Quit rules remember. Jeff goes off on him in the corner and hits a seated dropkick to send Matt to the floor. Jeff hits a dive and the referee asks if they want to quit. Yeah they’ll quit a minute into the match, sure. With a running start, Jeff hits Poetry in Motion off the steps. Back in and Jeff hits the slingshot dropkick in the corner. A middle rope legdrop hits Matt and it’s off to a chinlock. The lack of covers is always a bit hard to get used to in these matches.

Matt rams him into the buckle to break the hold but can’t do much to follow up. Jeff goes up but gets shoved to the floor in a great crash. Matt wraps Jeff’s leg around the post and we get the first ask with the mic. Jeff says no both times so Matt bends the knee around the post. Matt puts on a figure four and Jeff still won’t quit. Jerry thinks Matt is going after the knee. You can’t buy this kind of analysis people!

Jeff escapes but gets put right back in it again. That doesn’t work so Matt hooks a seated half crab but Jeff still won’t quit. Matt puts him in the Tree of Woe and bends Jeff’s head back but Jeff won’t quit. Instead of holding him there longer, Matt rants and probably posts a YouTube video about it. He puts Jeff on top but his belly to back superplex is countered into a crossbody.

Jeff hooks a standing Texas Cloverleaf and Matt taps but won’t say he quits. They botch a Twist of Fate so the second attempt works a bit better. Matt still won’t quit so Jeff gets a table. Matt rolls to the floor but Jeff follows with the Twist to take him down again. Back in the ring now and Jeff puts him on the table.

Before he does anything though, Jeff grabs some tape from under the ring and ties Matt’s hands and feet together. Now he gets a rope and ties Matt to the table. Matt still won’t quit so Jeff gets a ladder. Jeff climbs said ladder but Matt begs for mercy. He says Mom and Dad wouldn’t like it and that he loves Jeff. Matt quits to prevent Jeff from jumping.

Rating: C. This was a fun match but the ending hurt it badly. With all the stuff that Matt has been through over the years, he quits to avoid a legdrop through the table? The match was just ok up to that point but at the end of the day like I said earlier, I don’t think people were really that interested in seeing these guys fight. This ended the feud, which is probably best for everyone involved.

Hardy would feud with CM Punk over the World Heavyweight Championship later in the year before leaving the company just after Summerslam. A few months later he would debut in TNA on the same night as Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Over the summer a complicated and confusing storyline developed about a group called THEY that were coming to TNA. At the same time, a tournament was being held for the vacant TNA World Title, leading up to the finals at Bound For Glory with Hardy in one of the three slots.

TNA World Title: Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy

Hardy has new music. Nothing all that special as again you can barely understand it. He’s called challenger #1. Who exactly is he challenging if no one has the title? Anderson is in gray tights which is odd. It’s 10:33 and we’re just starting. Think they’re cutting this close? No big match intros either which is weird also.

Angle is knocked to the floor and Anderson gets a neckbreaker on Hardy for two. Angle pops in and goes for Anderson’s knee. Big old belly to belly as it’s all Angle here. Then Hardy saves and it’s all Hardy. Little theme going on there. Angle Germans Hardy who Germans Anderson to take both of them over in a cool spot.

It gets two on Hardy as we keep going. 10:37 and no sign of THEY which scares the heck out of me. Hardy sends Angle up and over and might be hurt. I don’t buy it but whatever. Hardy goes over the top in a dive to take out everyone. Back in and Angle is ok, hooking a chinlock on Hardy after a cover gets two.

Running German to Hardy and he’s up seconds later. Ok then. Hey we went a full two hours and 40 minutes before we got a shot of Dixie. Angle is busted open a bit. Angle busts out some Germans on Anderson as Hardy is down. Hardy gets some of the same. Ankle Lock on the face painted one.

Anderson tries to save and winds up in the ankle lock. Angle locks the ankle lock on BOTH of them at once. That looks awesome. Naturally it doesn’t work but it looked cool while it was on. Anderson gets that rolling fireman’s carry slam from the middle rope on Angle so that Hardy can cover both for two.

10:45 now as this has somehow been going 12 minutes. Angle Slam gets two on Hardy. Top rope Angle Slam on Anderson but Hardy gets the cover for two. The fans think this is awesome and it’s not bad. Twist of Fate to Anderson and the Swanton hits. Angle saves into the ankle lock and Hardy is in trouble.

Jeff kicks off and sends Angle into a Mic Check for a VERY close two. Pinfall reversal sequence gets a lot of two counts. Angle is the only one left and hits the moonsault on Hardy for two again as Anderson is still down. Angle and Anderson go at it and block each others’ finishers.

And there goes the referee. Oh dang it. Everyone is down and here comes Eric with a chair. And here it comes. This is what TNA has spent the last 4 months building to. And what a shock: HULK IS HERE! Or at least his music is here. Yep there he is but on crutches. He needs help getting into the ring which I don’t buy.

Hulk looks pissed at Eric who throws the chair out and wipes his hands. Hardy stumbles to his feet on the floor and gets in. Both Bischoff and Hogan have crutches and Hogan gives Jeff his. Angle is up. Hardy pops Angle with the crutch and Hogan points at Jeff. Yes, it appears that Jeff Hardy, the most popular star in the world, is part of They. Twist of Fate to Anderson, and Hardy is world champion.

Rating: B. Ending aside obviously, this was a solid main event. It felt like a big match, but then again I would prefer a singles match for the title. That’s the traditionalist in me talking but if there is a match to end the biggest show of the year, only on very special occasions (this isn’t one of them) should it not be one on one for the world title.

For the first time in his singles career, Hardy was a full fledged heel, but unfortunately he would be third in command of the new Immortal faction at best. Hardy would hold the title for a few months before dropping Sting on television. Soon after that the two would have a rematch in one of the most infamous moments in wrestling history. Hardy would show up barely able to walk and would be defeated in a one move match. That would be it for Jeff for several months as he left to clean up his life before returning late in the year. After a few months he would enter a feud with Kurt Angle due to Kurt’s child being a Hardy fan. From Lockdown 2012.

Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy

Angle said that he and Hardy could match HHH vs. Undertaker here and he’s had a great track record at this show so hopefully he continues that here. Hardy’s paint is black and white here. There’s this, the world title and the Knockout Tag Titles left so the show still has a small chance. Angle’s thigh is taped due to a legit injury. Kurt pounds him in the corner to start but Jeff comes back with the legdrop between the legs.

They’re going very slowly here but it might be a slow build. Jeff whips him into the corner and hits the slingshot dropkick but he’s holding his neck. Jeff seems to be ok though and he pounds Angle down in the corner. Kurt slams him into the cage which had a great sound. Snap suplex gets two. Back into the cage as it’s pretty clear Kurt is nowhere near 100%. It looks like Jeff is busted a bit but you can’t see that well.

Kurt rams him into the cage again and walks around a lot. Oh yeah Jeff is busted. Jeff comes back with a clothesline and both guys are down. Things speed up again and Jeff comes back with some forearms. Whisper in the Wind gets two. Twisting Stunner puts Kurt down and he loads up the Swanton, but Angle runs the corner and hits a GREAT Angle Slam out of the corner for a close two. Kurt goes for the door but Jeff dives for the leg. Angle pounds on his head and goes for the climb over but Jeff pulls him back. Now Jeff goes up and knocks Kurt back, hitting a standing top rope Vader Bomb for two.

Both guys are down again and it’s Hardy up first. He goes for the door but Kurt grabs the ankle and puts on the ankle lock. Jeff counters into the ankle lock on Angle (on the good leg) but Kurt rolls out. Twist of Fate puts Angle down and Jeff goes for the corner. Swanton connects but he goes up again and hits a second one which gets two. Kurt pulls him head first into the cage and the Angle Slam gets two. Hardy counters the Slam into one of his own before going all the way to the top of the cage for a super Swanton for the pin at 14:48.

Rating: B+. While it’s not as good as Kurt’s other matches, this was a HUGE step up over what the rest of this show has been. I don’t ever remember my heart being in my throat for a spot more than that Swanton though as I thought he was going to kill himself. Angle’s injury slowed this a lot but it was still a very good match and a major help that this show needed.

Hardy would spend the summer competing in the Bound For Glory Series, eventually winning the competition and earning a title match against Austin Aries at Bound For Glory 2012.

TNA World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries

The fans are pretty much split which isn’t what they were hoping for I don’t think. We start with a long feeling out process and we have roughly half an hour for this. They head to the mat and Hardy actually keeps up with the champ (Aries is defending if I didn’t mention that) until they head to the corner for the slingshot dropkick. Aries comes back and puts Hardy on the apron for a slingshot ax handle. He takes a victory lap and then one in reverse.

Back in and Hardy gets two off a suplex. They’re still in first gear here and that’s fine. Jeff knocks Aries to the floor and mocks Aries. The fans don’t seem pleased with Jeff so he jumps off the apron with an ax handle of his own. Jeff charges at Aries but Hardy crashes into the barricade and hits Aries at the same time. Back in and Aries gets two off a top rope splash. Aries charges into a boot in the corner and the crowd is probably 80% pro Aries.

A backbreaker gets two for the champ and it’s off to an abdominal stretch on the mat. Aries takes him down again and hits a corkscrew plancha for two. Hardy blocks the Last Chancery and hits something Big Show used to call the Alley Oop. He sets for a powerbomb but throws Aries backwards instead of forwards. Show’s was a bit slower but it’s the same move. Hardy makes his comeback and hits the low dropkick for two.

Whisper in the Wind gets two and the fans have quieted down a bit. Twist of Fate is countered and Aries is knocked to the floor. Hardy misses a slingshot and there’s the suicide dive to drive Jeff into the barricade. Another dive takes Hardy out again with this one getting two in the ring. Aries is busted but nowhere near what Storm was earlier. There’s the Last Chancery but Jeff escapes quickly.

They head to the ramp and Jeff can’t hit the Twist, but rather gets clotheslined into the ropes. Aries drops him on his head, sending the back of Jeff’s head into the edge of the ramp. And people wonder why he’s a drug addict. A missile dropkick sends Jeff into the corner but he comes out with the Twist for two. Jeff loads up the Swanton but gets crotched and super ranaed down from a double standing position. That looked awesome. Corner dropkick sets up the Brainbuster for two and Aries is STUNNED. Aries puts Jeff on top but gets knocked off and the Swanton gives Jeff the title at 23:04.

Rating: B+. This was a good main event but after the Aces and 8’s stuff, this came off a bit flat. Also, TNA REALLY needs to mix up their main event styles. The kicking out of finishers and then the pin soon thereafter can only take you so far and they’ve done it for years now. Watch a few TNA PPV main events and the formulas are almost always the same. Hardy winning is the right choice but it doesn’t feel like a huge moment at all for the most part. Still though, a quite good match.

Hardy is one of the few classic stories in wrestling history as he rose from lowly tag wrestler to tag team star to midcard sensation to world champion and one of the biggest stars in the world. He’s been successful everywhere he’s been and has put on some of the most entertaining matches you’ll find. That of course leaves you with the white elephant that is his substance abuse. They’ve held down what could have been a legendary career but he’s more than a success either way.

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5 comments

  1. Marky-Marc says:

    “The show did one of the highest buyrates in the history of the event and almost all of the credit was given to Hardy.”

    Obvious question: why was he never given a real chance with the title? his three reigns in WWE were one month (on TV once or twice with the title), 5 minutes and one month.
    Was he just too unreliable or does he fall into the ‘doesn’t have the look of a top guy” category?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    The reliability hurts, but it’s also that he’s better at chasing the title than being champion.

    Marky-Marc Reply:

    Daniel Bryan is going to fall into the same category isn’t he?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Possibly, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  2. Ted says:

    There’s always the chance his groundswell supports leads to a long and successful run. Here’s hoping.