April 19, 2003
By TJ MADIGAN
Straight-talking siblings prove Boyz will be boys
Uh-oh. I\'m only a couple of minutes into my interview with the Hardy Boyz and there\'s already an awkward silence.
I had asked Matt Hardy if he\'d like to be involved in his brother\'s storylines, and -- with Jeff sitting just a few feet away -- the founder of Mattitude seemed torn between telling the truth and protecting his younger brother\'s ego.
\"Honestly, no, not really,\" he eventually says. \"I haven\'t seen anything I\'d want to do. I\'m just really happy with my own character right now.\"
Talking to the Hardys is an experience. You see, there are certain rules of thumb when it comes to interviewing wrestlers. You throw out a few softball questions and maybe include a couple of tougher queries, just to see how they avoid them. The wrestlers, for their part, tend to give generic responses designed to keep them in good favour at WWE HQ.
The Hardys seem to be the exception to these rules. The duo\'s new book, Exist 2 Inspire, has been heralded as one of the most truthful wrestling books ever written, and the Boyz\' honesty carries over into real life.
For example, when I asked Jeff if he sees himself as a future main eventer, he did little to conceal his fading interest in the business.
\"Honestly, it\'s not that big a deal to me anymore,\" the North Carolina native admitted. \"I\'m having fun doing what I\'m doing but I was ready to give it all up for a long time.\"
His dedication was recently brought into question when he stopped working a full touring schedule with the WWE, a decision the younger Hardy is quick to defend.
\"If I don\'t work, I\'m losing out on money. It\'s not like I take time off and get paid for it. If I only want to go on the road every other weekend, I don\'t think it\'s too much to ask after all I gave to this business.\"
Having taken some of the sickest bumps ever seen in some of the greatest matches ever witnessed, Jeff Hardy pays the price on a day-to-day basis.
\"Oh hell I feel it,\" he says. \"I feel it now, I feel it every morning when I get out of bed. My lower back is really bad but it could be a lot worse. I\'ve slowed down a lot over the last little while. Matt has eased up too, he spends a lot more time on the mic now.\"
Matt is quick to cut in and explain his new lower-impact strategy. \"I\'ve still got it athletically and I can still turn it up at pay-per-views,\" the cruiserweight champ says. \"But now I don\'t have to go out at house shows and kill myself.\"
Matt makes reference to his awesome Wrestlemania match with Rey Mysterio.
\"I would\'ve loved to have had 15 to 18 minutes. like we were tentatively planning. Rey is an awesome talent and if we had the time we wanted, it would have been show-stealing.\"
In direct contrast to Jeff\'s jaded attitude towards the business, Matt\'s passion for the grappling game is almost infectious.
\"I just love doing this,\" he beams. \"I\'m having the funnest time of my life, especially working with Shannon (Moore). Actually, I\'m hoping to expand the whole Mattitude gimmick and take it to the next level. I definitely have an idea, something that has never been done before.\"
Any clue as to what that something will be? \"I think I\'ll keep it quiet for now,\" he says. \"If I talk about it, it\'ll probably be on NWA TNA next week.\"
With both Hardys going different routes, perhaps now was the best time -- or the last -- for them to publish their memoirs collectively.
\"In a way, yeah, the timing is a little weird now that we\'re on separate shows,\" Jeff says. \"But I\'m very proud of the book. It\'s right up there -- A 9 out of 10, no question.\"
\"The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,\" Matt adds. \"People have compared the book to Foley\'s, which is the highest honour. Oh, and for any aspiring wrestlers, it\'s a great handbook.\"
Exist 2 Inspire, published by Simon and Schuster, is available at bookstores now.
And while that should be the final line of this article, sadly, it\'s not.
Just days after the Boyz talked to the Sun, Jeff Hardy was pulled from the WWE tour and next Monday\'s Raw. The younger brother is reportedly being given time to deal with \"personal problems\" and will be kept out of the spotlight until his issues are resolved.