This week: Jeff Hardy
List of Accomplishments: NCW Light Heavyweight Champion x2, NDW Light Heavyweight Champion, NDW Tag Team Champion, NFWA Heavyweight Champion, NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion, NWA 2000 Tag Team Champion, OMEGA New Frontiers Champion, OMEGA Tag Team Champion, TNA World Heavyweight Champion x2, 2012 Bound for Glory Series Winner, World Heavyweight Champion x2, WWE Champion, WWE European Champion, WWF/E Hardcore Champion x3, WCW Tag Team Champion, WWF/E Intercontinental Champion x4, WWF/E Light Heavyweight Champion, WWF/E World Tag Team Champion x6
Early Career: Jeff Hardy began wrestling at the age of 16 around the northeast, chief among them being as a jobber for the WWF. Both he and his brother, Matt Hardy, began jobbing for the World Wrestling Federation in 1994 and as late as 1997. Outside of that, Matt Hardy started up OMEGA or Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts where Jeff Hardy and several other familiar faces in wrestling today wrestled for more than two years before the promotion closed after Matt & Jeff were signed by the WWF in late 1998. OMEGA officially closed when Matt and Jeff began appearing on WWF TV in 1999.
~Jeff Hardy vs. 1-2-3 Kid, WWF Superstars, June 25th, 1994
WWF/E: As I said, The Hardy Boyz were signed to the WWF in late 1998 and sent to Dory Funk Jr. wrestling school to polish their skills. The young duo would get their first big break in 1999 when Michael Hayes signed on as their manager. The Hardy Boyz would catch on quickly with the WWF audiences with their fast paced offense and they were quickly pushed towards the top of the tag division and would win their first WWF Tag Team Championships on July 5th, 1999 when they defeated The Acolytes after using Michael Hayes cane to help them steal the championships. The reign would only last until Fully Loaded 2000, however, when they would lose the championships back to The Acolytes.
Soon afterward, Jeff & Matt would leave Michael Hayes in favor of Gangrel to form The New Brood. This lead to the very first feud between The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian as they competed in the Terri Invitational Tournament, a best of five match series where the winner would receive $100,000 and Terri Runnels as their manager. This would lead to both teams break out match at No Mercy 1999 in the final deciding match in the series where the four men would compete in the WWF's first ever tag team ladder match. The match was absolutely jaw dropping. Other than it being my absolute favorite encounter between the two teams (and yes, that is including their later TLC matches), it rare where in a single match you can watch a crowd from dead to simmering to loud to raucous and end with both teams getting the standing applause they deserve.
The Hardy Boyz would continue to feud with Edge and Christian & The Dudley Boyz all the way until 2001. The trio of teams would face off in all manner of matches from table matches to ladder matches to their incredibly famous Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. The three teams would trade the championships more times than I care to count and would solidify both teams as future stars in the WWE. The Hardy Boyz would end up being six time tag team champions totaling 151 days in total. Jeff, however, would find immense singles success in 2001 with short reigns with the WWF Light Heavyweight Title, his first reign with the Intercontinental Title, and his first two reigns with the WWF Hardcore Title. Jeff Hardy would continue onward in his quest for singles success and would gain any impressive ladder match under his belt after competing against The Undertaker for the WWE Undisputed Heavyweight Championship on RAW. Jeff would earn The Undertaker's respect after taking beating after beating. Soon after this, Jeff Hardy would win the European Championship and compete in another stellar ladder match with Rob Van Dam to unify the European & Intercontinental titles where Jeff Hardy would come up short once again. Jeff and Matt would finally be split up in the 2002 draft when Matt Hardy was drafted to Smackdown. Jeff would continue to compete in the WWF until April 2003 when he was released due to his refusal to enter rehab after failing a drug test.
Jeff Hardy, however, would later return to the WWE in August of 2006. Upon his debut, he would enter into a feud with Johnny Nitro aka John Morrison over the WWE Intercontinental Title. The duo would trade the championship several times before Jeff would finally defeat Nitro in a ladder match. Jeff & Matt would be teaming together again after this feud and the duo would pick up their last World Tag Team Title reign on April 2nd, 2007. They would hold the championships for another two months before losing the belts to Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch. The big push for Jeff, however, wouldn't begin until late 2007 when he began pairing up with Triple H. The duo would tag and eventually start a respect feud that would wind down into Jeff finally beating HHH at Armageddon 2007 to become the number one contender to Randy Orton's WWE Championship. Hardy & Orton's feud would intensify after Orton punted Matt Hardy's head, injuring as Randy had done some many times before. Jeff, however, would fall short in winning the championship at The Royal Rumble.
Jeff, however, would soon fall into another tail spin shortly after No Way Out 2007. Jeff, who was currently enjoying his fourth reign as the WWE Intercontinental Champion, would end up getting into a short program with Chris Jericho after an episode of the Highlight Reel. Hardy would end up losing the Intercontinental Title to Jericho. Hardy would then be suspended for sixty days for getting a second Wellness Policy violation. Jeff's return would see him enter into another feud with Umaga that would see him victorious against the big man at One Night Stand 2008 in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Jeff would then move to Smackdown and would be launched directly into the main event challenging for the WWE Championship. Hardy would continue flirting with winning the WWE Championship for the remainder of 2008 until Survivor Series 2008. During the build-up to his WWE Championship match with Triple H, Hardy was attacked in his hotel room. Edge would then return and be inserted into the WWE Title match to replace Jeff. Edge would end up winning the championship that evening.
It was later revealed that Edge was the one to attack Jeff Hardy. This would lead to a triple threat match leading into Armageddon 2008 with Edge defending the WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy & HHH. It was hear that Jeff would finally win his first reign as a world champion. Jeff's time with the WWE Championship would be short though. In the build-up to the Royal Rumble 2009, Jeff would have some accidents happen to him. His pyro would go off with him in it, he would get hit by a car, and a few other things would happen. Jeff would find out who the person behind all of these “accidents” would be none other than his own brother, Matt Hardy, who would end up attacking him and costing him the WWF Championship during his match with Edge at the 2009 Royal Rumble. This would lead to an Extreme Rules match between the two at WrestleMania 25, which Matt would win. Jeff would get his revenge on Matt later on at Backlash in an “I Quit” match.
Jeff would then go back to battling Edge, who now World Heavyweight Champion, and would met him in a ladder match at Extreme Rules. Hardy would win the match in a terrific match-up but his victory would be short lived when CM Punk would run down to cash in the Money in the Bank contract he had won at WrestleMania 25 to quickly defeat Hardy and win his second World Heavyweight Title. Jeff & Punk's feud featured some of the best of both men's work as Punk attacked Hardy's history with drugs and how he was going to save everybody with his harsh straight edge ways while Hardy admitted to his mistakes and say that he had changed for the better. The two would meet at The Bash, where Punk would get himself intentionally disqualified, then again at Night of Champions, where Jeff would defeat Punk for his second World Heavyweight Title reign. Losing the championship seemed to enrage CM Punk more and the two would meet again at Summerslam in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Title. Jeff would lose the championship once again to CM Punk in a stellar match-up. The two would meet again on Smackdown though, this time, Jeff put his job on the line against CM Punk's World Heavyweight Title inside the steel cage. Jeff would lose the match and was scheduled to leave the WWE for some time to take of some nagging injuries. Jeff, however, would not return to the WWE and instead, signed with TNA.
~The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian, No Mercy 1999, October 17th, 1999, Ladder Match Finale in the Terri Invitational Tournament
~Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker ©, RAW, July 1st, 2002, WWE Undisputed Championship Ladder Match
~Jeff Hardy © vs. Rob Van Dam ©, RAW, July 22nd, 2002, WWE Intercontinental & European Title Unification Ladder Match
~Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk ©, Smackdown, August 28th, 2009, Career vs. World Heavyweight Title Steel Cage Match
TNA: Jeff's first stint in Total Nonstop Action came in June 2004 at TNA's Second Anniversary show during one of their weekly pay per views, appearing as AJ Styles mystery opponent in the X-Division Title match. Jeff Hardy would reappear on TNA less than a month later, signing a TNA contract and gaining a NWA World Heavyweight Title Match against Jeff Jarrett. Hardy would spend the rest of 2004 chasing Jeff Jarrett and the championship, but would come up short each time. Hardy would also team with Randy Savage & AJ Styles against Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall at Turning Point 2004 after Nash & Hall had attacked him to save Jarrett's championship at Victory Road during Hardy & Jarrett's ladder match. Jeff would follow that by getting involved in a rather violent feud against Abyss, featuring Full Metal Mayhem & Falls Count Anywhere matches at Against All Odds and Destination X. Hardy would then feud with Raven, but the feud would be cut short after Hardy would find himself suspended due to missing several dates, most importantly, a scheduled Clockwork Orange House of Fun match with Raven at Hard Justice 2005.
Hardy would return in August by attacking Jeff Jarrett at Sacrifice, but it wouldn't amount to much as Hardy would shift his focus to feuding with Abyss, Monty Brown, and Rhino in preparation for the Monster's Ball Match at Bound for Glory in October. Hardy would fight with Brown over the #1 Contendership for most of November but would find himself unsuccessful in obtaining the position. Jeff would no show another major pay-per-view in December's Turning Point that would find him on the outs with TNA. Jeff would end up leaving TNA in early 2006 and would resign with the WWE in August.
TNA would attempt to move Impact to Monday nights on January 4th, 2010 and with it, Jeff Hardy redebuted for TNA in what many considered to be a surprise (It would appear that Jeff had a verbal agreement to reappear for the WWE soon). Jeff would sign with TNA and return to TNA television on March 8th to save Hogan from Ric Flair, AJ Styles, and Desmond Wolfe. Hardy would continually side with Hogan leading up to Lockdown and would compete on his team for the Lethal Lockdown match, where they would be victorious. Hardy and Mr. Anderson would begin feuding and then begin tagging on and off again before finally splitting up due the TNA World Heavyweight Title being vacated after Abyss took Rob Van Dam out with his nail covered 2x4. This event lead Hardy & Anderson to decide to focus on winning the belt as they were both entered into the tournament.
The final was set for Bound For Glory and Jeff would find himself in the final after drawing Kurt Angle at No Surrender and Impact. Eric Bischoff finally decided to let them both compete against Mr. Anderson in the final match. Jeff Hardy would turn heel, siding with Hogan & Bischoff's new faction, Immortal. After attacking both Kurt Angle & Mr. Anderson with crutches supplied by the injured Hulk Hogan, Jeff would hit the Twist of Fate on Mr. Anderson and pin him to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Jeff would fight off several opponents after having his change of heart, chiefly, Mr. Anderson, who would be Jeff's main rival during his first title reign. Jeff would fight off Matt Morgan on two occasions before Mr. Anderson finally won the #1 Contendership at Genesis on January 9th, 2011. Hardy would lose the championship on the same night to Mr. Anderson. The feud wasn't over yet though as Hardy would challenge Mr. Anderson to match that he had exceled at for entire career, a ladder match. Hardy would find himself victorious at Against All Odds and would capture his second reign as TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
Hardy, however, had accrued several injuries during his time as champion and TNA would deem unfit to wrestle. Hardy would quickly drop the TNA World Heavyweight Title to Sting on the March 3rd, 2011 episode of Impact. Hardy would get his rematch at Victory Road against Sting but the match would less last than two minutes as Sting would find himself victorious in quick fashion. Immortal would sever ties with Jeff after he was taken off the road and Hardy would quietly disappear from TNA television for several months.
Hardy would return in August 2011 and ask the fans for “one last chance”. Hardy would turn his focus on attacking his former stable, Immortal, mostly facing Jeff Jarrett. Hardy would finally finish fighting Jarrett at Final Resolution 2011 in a steel cage match to become the #1 contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Title once again. Jeff would spend much of this year chasing the belt but never having much success at winning the title or the number one contendership. Jeff, having won this year's Bound for Glory Series, will once again challenge for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at the biggest show TNA has to offer, Bound For Glory, against Austin Aries this Sunday.
~Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles ©, NWA:TNA Weekly PPV #99, June 23rd, 2004, NWA:TNA X-Division Title Match
~Jeff Hardy vs. Jeff Jarrett ©, NWA:TNA Victory Road, November 7th, 2004, NWA World Heavyweight Title Ladder Match
~Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle, TNA Bound For Glory, October 10th, 2010, TNA World Heavyweight Title Match
~Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson ©, TNA Against All Odds, February 13th, 2011, TNA World Heavyweight Title Ladder Match
Opinion: I've never been much of a Jeff Hardy fan when he was singles wrestler outside of a few choice moments. I was a big fan of The Hardy Boyz as a tag team (but I think you might be hard pressed to find somebody who wasn't). While Jeff might be entertaining enough in the ring, Jeff's promos and character have never really caught on with me. Not to say that it's bad because I've seen some pretty bad characters during my time as a wrestling fan, but it's just something that has never really caught on with me. Jeff does hold a special spot in wrestling history though as he's probably the most famous spot monkey in the history of the sport. There have been a lot of risk takers in the sport but none that has ever done as much as Jeff Hardy. Jeff has found success in the two biggest wrestling companies in America and that speaks volumes about how popular the guy has been despite all of the trouble he has gotten into over the years.
I think Jeff finds himself in a very unique position though. I think the WWE was pushing him to be the answer to Zach's “John Cena Riddle”. They haven't had a face that has come close to being on Cena's level of popularity since Cena left. You might be able to make a case for Orton and a very, very small one for Punk, but nobody has touched how close Hardy had got to being the answer of being a true top face on the level of Cena. So if he ever does tire of TNA, I'm sure the WWE would love to have him back again despite all the problems he presents (age, drugs, whatever else might be wrong with him outside of the ring.) TNA, however, should do everything they can to keep him. Hardy could be probably be mind-wiped from all the TNA wrestling fans and he'll still find a way to get over with them again. As much as I hope he doesn't win the championship this Sunday at Bound For Glory, I can't see a reason why shouldn't let him. Aries seems to be turning heel (which is probably for the best for Aries in the long run. He's a much better heel in my opinion.) and Hardy probably their top face and could be a great foil for the burgeoning feud between (hopefully) the Aces and Eights leader, Bully Ray.
Whatever your opinion on Jeff, it's hard to deny the obscene amount of success he has found in his wrestling career despite having a treasure trove of personal problems.
-Paul Leazar, DirtSheets.com