Jeff Hardys Redemption

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Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by Adam D on Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:37 am

http://v2wrestling.com/5/post/2015/04/jeff-hardys-redemption.html





by Adam Davey (with contribution from 606v2.com's Kay Fabe)

August 25th 2009 - A date forever etched in Jeff Hardy's memory, the date he wrestled his final match for World Wrestling Entertainment.

In that match he'd main event the show in a Steel Cage match for the WWE World Title in a losing effort to CM Punk.

Jeff arrived in the WWE in 1999 with his brother Matt, and they joined a young and exciting tag team division as the Hardy Boyz. Their success was instant with some fans, and the popularity grew and grew with every match.

Fast forward to 2002 - after his tag-team heyday had been and gone, Jeff was given the chance to prove himself on the main event scene. Always portrayed as a vulnerable character happy to risk his body for his shot at success, or even in the name of entertainment, he continued to connect with the WWE universe. Unfortunately, that recklessness would follow him in his personal life too. The high life was too enticing, and a party lifestyle, whilst making him a ‘one of us’ figure with the fans, it became a problem professionally.

By 2003 Vince McMahon had had enough. Whilst it was a time of far slacker discipline, the bad publicity could not be ignored when Jeff’s professional standards dropped too. Jeff’s out of hours antics seemingly caused him to no-show events, possibly the biggest no-no in McMahon-land. With an abundance of talent on offer, the company felt no need to carry Jeffrey Nero Hardy.

Jeff continued his no show habits in his first period with TNA, a three year run that could have been memorable for all the right reasons, but seemed to confirm he preferred to live with the wrong ones.

When his contract ended he returned to the WWE, and the landscape had changed dramatically, colleagues he had surpassed years before were now main eventers, and the chance was there to reach the top. Big wins over Shawn Michaels, Umaga and John Morrison brought momentum, but a year and a half after his return, a clean win over Triple H at Armageddon 2007 really fired Jeff back into the big time. His chance at WWE gold appeared to once again pass him, as a returning Cena was brought back from injury to resume a feud with then champion Randy Orton.

However, at Wrestlemania XXIV he qualified for the Money in the Bank match, and was heavy favourite to take the win before claiming his first world title. But his lifestyle and consistent recklessness cost him again. His own worst enemy as ever, as he failed a wellness test 7 days before the biggest night of his career to date.

He was back in contention for the Title at Armageddon 2008, a year after beating Triple H clean. This was the match where WWE finally pulled the trigger on him. Jeff Hardy won the WWE Title on this night beating Triple H and Edge in a triple threat match. 

This only told half the story though.

Whilst his fans thought he had smashed through the glass ceiling, for one reason or another he barely appeared on WWE TV and didn't wrestle throughout his first tenure. In fact, he lost on his first defence at Royal Rumble, cost by a heel turn from brother Matt. A feud with his brother ensued, which in turn led to a feud with long time rival Edge for the World Heavyweight Title.

He eventually claimed it at Extreme Rules, only for CM Punk to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and ruin the moment. A back and forth feud followed, with Hardy eventually claiming the belt two PPVs later, only then to decide he needed a break.

Uninterested in signing another long term contract immediately, WWE chose to wait for Jeff, wellness violations aside. This leads us back to August 25th 2009, his last match with the WWE. Jeff reached the summit and decided to take a break, and since that moment, many think that this was the pinnacle and end of Jeffs career.

But then came another shot with TNA.

January 4th 2010 was a big night for both TNA and Jeff Hardy. It marked the first ever live Impact show, as well as the debut of the returning Hardy.


Although it was revealed that Jeff had signed a new contract, his appearances were few and far between in the first few months into his return. In fact, the first few months of Hardys return to TNA were light years away from the profile he had held only a few months before in WWE.

Hardy began to move up the card quite quickly before entering a 8 man tournament in August, which was to culminate at Bound For Glory. The undoubted highlight of this tournament was the semi final match with Angle which led to a 3 way main event at the TNA showcase PPV. Now this article started with the premise of whether Jeff would ever again reach the heights of popularity of August 2009. Surely, winning the TNA world Heavyweight Championship at Bound For Glory (which lets not forget is TNAs Wrestlemania) would suggest yes.

Sadly not.

This first title run, which had Jeff as a dark, moody heel champion was interesting but possibly for the wrong reasons. The main thing that came out of this run was that Jeff wasnt a particularly convincing heel. Well certainly not one that could connect with the crowd. In fact the most memorable thing about this first run, was a connection - namely the connection of a chair to Andersons head, which led to stitches and a concussion. Was this a sign that once again, Jeff was struggling with his personal demons?

If there was any doubt over Jeffs problems, he finally revealed every single demon at Victory Road. Having lost and eventually regained the title on his way to the infamous match with Sting, Jeff hit his rock bottom. That match was Hardys trough to the peak of 2009. This was the end of Hardy as we knew him.

“One more shot”

Jeff Hardy disappeared from wrestling following the Victory Road debacle and pretty much became a forgotten champion of yesteryear. However, TNA knew exactly what they had in Hardy - a main eventer who could connect with a crowd under the right circumstances.

In August 2011, Jeff returned to the promotion and asked for "one more shot".

Over the years, wrestling promotions have consistently blurred the lines of real and scripted stories. However, "one more shot" was something that was as honest that you can get in wrestling. Hardy really was in the last chance saloon. The Jeff Hardy who made this request, was a man staring into the [wrestling] abyss.

And this is the Hardy that fans want.

In asking for redemption, Hardy has finally tapped in to the fans that idolised him back in the WWE. Finally, Jeff had returned to his wrestling roots - the guy who would put his body and soul on the line as the underdog.

Fast forward to August 2012. No relapses. No no-shows. No controversies.

Just the Hardy brand of wrestling that the wrestling audience wanted to connect with. And Jeff excelled as the fragile genius that we know he can be. Jeff was entered into the Bound For Glory series and I doubt very much that any wrestling fan thought he would win it. In fact, of the last four (Joe, Ray, Storm and Hardy) in the tournament, he would have been everyone's last choice to get that shot due to Hardys history and the high the other 3 were riding (excuse the unintentional irony of that word).

However, Jeff won it. Both the shot and the crowd on his side.

That years Bound for Glory was masterfully built by TNA. And who would have thought that at the very top of that card, was someone more popular than the super over Austin Aries (at that time).

Who would have thought, that Aries would be going into BFG as someone who is booed? That is down to how good Jeff had been and how much the fans still loved him. Jeff was a broken man who had indeed found his redemption.

The aftermatch of redemption


Hardy had banished his personal demons and for as many redemption cases that we hear about, the ecstasy of getting back to the top, has quite often meant a fast track back down. But, it appears that Hardy is no Scott Hall.

Hardy carried the belt all the way to Lockdown the following March where the Aces and 8s story led to him losing to Bully Ray. And to some extent, that was the end of Hardy as a main eventer but its most probably exactly what Jeff needed. Jeff is as over a babyface as you can be. The fans love him, the kids dress as him at live events but unfortunately, its down to his wrestling and not his personality that people get behind. 

His demotion to the “go to guy” for a crowd rousing match is exactly where he should now be, both creatively and spiritually. Carrying a promotion as the top guy? Its an albatross around his neck that he doesn’t need.

Since the Aces and 8s finished up, Hardy disappeared for his usual UK tour hiatus. And this led him to another stage in his life where people questioned his sanity – the re-emergence of Willow. Most people hated this character but for this writer, at least it gave Jeff another, sorely missing personality for a little while. Yes, I  actually liked Willow! The only disappointment about Willow was the way he was written out – basically Angle asked him to stop messing around and that was it!

And since his return to the new, old Jeff, he has finally found his place in wrestling. A great wrestler who can put on amazing matches and still thrill the crowds without having to cut long promos and carry a show. His tag series with the Wolves and Team 3D was the highlight of 2014 for many. He helped elevate the Wolves to possibly the best tag team in wrestling today.

With the injury to the Wolves, the Hardys have once again been the go to men. After (8?) years without the tag titles, Matt and Jeff are tag champs again. And I guarantee that no-one is thinking that they are not worthy or credible champions. This is where Jeff belongs in todays wrestling. He, along with Matt, are the team that can make other teams look like no other.


When this article was first published (in 2013), it talked of Jeffs redemption and questioned whether it would stick. For all of TNAs faults, the one thing that they can be proud of since Victory Road 2011, is how to handle and care for troubled talent. It’s a testament to TNA that out of all of the ex-WWE talent that they have hired over the years, Hardy is still the one name that WWE fans cite as the one they think could go back and be near the top of the card.

So what next for Hardy? Will he return to WWE?

I don’t think so. The lure of returning to the biggest promotion would be a pull for most wrestlers (I believe that Angle for example, still craves that large audience love) but for Jeff, he seems happy to be, well….happy. Life doesn’t give many second chances, especially in an industry so emotionally and physically intense. But Jeff has managed it. And for me, this makes him a legend that should be admired.

Adam D
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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by Prometheus on Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:48 am

That's a great article Adam.

I think there's a great advantage to TNA for some wrestlers. They film in blocks and there's little touring. I can see both of those as big advantages to Hardy at this stage in his life. Maybe not being on the road reduces both stresses and opportunities to lapse into former habits and not working every night should certainly give opportunity for his body to not get significantly more banged up.

I think the Hardy's impact on wrestling is one that is easily overlooked. Not only is this a great match, but the ending of it was one of the most involved I've ever been in a match.

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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by dyrewolfe on Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:20 pm

Great article Adam! thumbsup

As a relatively recent convert to wrestling (a mere 5-6 years or so) I've only ever seen the Hardys in TNA, aside from a few YouTube videos.

Jeff's career story makes even better reading when you think of all those who don't manage to conquer their personal problems and end up discarded by the industry...or plunge out-of-control to an untimely end.

He's always been one of my favourites, purely because he does things in the ring that few other wrestlers do...especially in cage and TLC matches. Must confess I quite like his image too...I see him as Sting's heir, as much as anything.

I'd also say the Hardy's tag team series with the Wolves and Team 3D were among the best I've ever seen...some genuine edge of the seat, jaw on the floor moments.
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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by nadeem2099 on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:46 pm

Just read that he's broken his leg in a dirt bike incident. First the wolves had to relinquish the tag titles and now it mightt be the hardyz. Bad luck considering he got his career back on track. Although I heard that TNA have already completed a month of tapings for May so he might still keep the titles.


Last edited by nadeem2099 on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by Kay Fabe on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:51 pm

dyrewolfe wrote:Great article Adam! thumbsup
You said the same thing when i originally wrote this ya big tart  ghost

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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by Adam D on Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:56 pm

You are like Triggers broom - so much has been replaced from your original, its no longer recognisable raspberry

(I did name check you!)

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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by Kay Fabe on Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:05 pm

Trigger got a certificate, I never even got a Chicken McNuget from your Happy Meal

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Re: Jeff Hardys Redemption

Post by dyrewolfe on Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:40 pm

Kay Fabe wrote:
dyrewolfe wrote:Great article Adam! thumbsup
You said the same thing when i originally wrote this ya big tart  ghost

What can I say? My memory isn't what...er...what was I saying again? Headscratch

Seriously though, how long ago was your article?


If anyone's got any merch / souvenirs they no longer want (signed t-shirts, action figures, or even a Hulk Hogan bandana) please donate them to Kay. Poor lad seems to be feeling hard done by. Wink
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