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Jeff Hardy

Jeff Hardy
-courtesy TNAWrestling.com

REAL NAME: Jeffrey Nero Hardy
6' 2", 215 pounds
BORN: Cameron, North Carolina
NICKNAMES: Willow the Wisp, the Charismatic Enigma

His brother may be getting all the press at the moment, and there may always be the argument over who was the more talented or more successful Hardy brother, but Jeff Hardy has certainly made a case for himself.

A long-time wrestling fan growing up in North Carolina, Jeff made his debut in 1994, in North Carolina independents. Wrestling as the Willow the Wisp, Hardy wrestled his brother Matt (as Voltage) in Robbins, NC, on March 25, 1995 and won the NFWA Championship, only to lose it back to Matt a month later.

Jeff and Matt started their own wrestling organization called OMEGA, a North Carolina promotion that could also boast future WWE stars such as Shane Helms (aka the Hurricane), Shannon Moore and Joey Matthews (now known as Mercury). As the Willow, Jeff defeated Jason Ahmdt (later Joey Abs) on August 2, 1997 to become the first OMEGA New Frontier Champion.

But Jeff wasn't content to stay within the safety of OMEGA, the Willow would win the NEW Junior title, the NDW Light Heavyweight title and even traveled to Iwate, Japan in June 1998, defeating Ikuto Hidaka for the UWA Middleweight Championship.

However, Jeff and Matt didn't remain apart for too long. The Hardy Boyz defeated C.W. and Pat Anderson for the NWA 2000 Tag Team titles on March 7, 1998 in Hope Mills, N.C. and then, on July 24, 1998 returned to OMEGA to defeat Mike Maverick and Kid Vicious and capture the OMEGA Tag titles.

That summer, Matt and Jeff were invited to participate in the WWE's "Funkin' Dojo" and trained under the tutelage of Dory Funk, Jr.

On September 27, 1998, they debuted on Sunday Night Heat, defeating Mens Teioh and Sho Funaki. They would spend the next several months wrestling in dark matches before taking on Freebird legend Michael P.S. Hayes as their manager.

Jeff would take some time off from the WWE to compete in ECWAS's 3rd Annual Super Eight tournament in February 1999, losing in the first round to Devon Storm and, in May, lost to Super Crazy in the first round of the IWA Junior Heavyweight title tournament.

Jeff returned to WWE and teamed with his brother, Matt. After working their way through the tag team rankings, Hayes led the Hardys to a victory over the Acolytes (Bradshaw and Farooq) on June 29, 1999 to win the WWE Tag Team titles. The Acolytes regained the titles at Fully Loaded and soon after, the Hardys left Hayes behind, aligning themselves with with Gangrel to form the New Brood.

The Hardys feuded with Gangrel's former charges, Edge and Christian. Gangrel was soon a thing of the past but the series of excellent matches between the Hardys and Edge/Christian continued. One of their best matches came at October's No Mercy when the Hardys defeated Edge and Christian in a ladder match to win the Terri (Runnels) Invitational Tournament.

While continuing to battle in WWE, Matt and Jeff headed to Puerto Rico's IWA where on December 15th, they defeated Ricky Banderas and Ricky Santana.

Back in the WWE,a three-way feud between the Hardys, the Dudley Boys and Edge/Christian erupted in an attempt to determine the dominant team in WWE. The Hardys came out on top in a tables match at the 2000 Royal Rumble but weren't as successful at No Way Out, losing to Edge and Christian when Terri turned on them. The three teams met in a ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000 for the WWE Tag Team Championship, won by Edge and Christian.

After coming to the aid of the newest member of Team Extreme, Lita, the Hardys clashed with the team of Test and Albert, managed by Trish Stratus.

Meanwhile, the battles against the Dudleys and Edge and Christian continued. Edge and Christian won their TLC match at SummerSlam (the Dudleys were the third team) but the Hardys regained the WWE Tag titles in a cage match at Unforgiven 2000. Edge and Christian would resort to dressing as Los Conquistadors to regain the titles at No Mercy but the next night on Raw, Matt and Jeff would don the masks of Los Conquistadors and bring home the gold once again, only to lose the belts two weeks later to Bull Buchanan and the Goodfather.

The Hardys regained the title from the Dudleys on March 5, 2001 but lost a TLC match to Edge/Christian (a match also involving the Dudleys) at Wrestlemania X-7.

In addition to continuing to team with his brother, Matt, Jeff would begin competing in singles competition and wasted little time in adding many titles to his resume. On April 10th, Hardy defeated Triple H to win the Intercontinental Championship. He defeated Jerry Lynn to win the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship on June 5th, 2001. On July 10, 2001, he defeated Mike Awesome to win the Hardcore Championship. Rob Van Dam would defeat Hardy for the Hardcore title during the July Invasion pay-per-view, but Jeff interfered in a RVD/Kurt Angle match on August 13, 2001 to regain the title, only to lose it back to Van Dam at SummerSlam.

But Jeff would return to the tag team ranks with brother Matt and in the course of just over a month would defeat Booker T and Test to win two different tag titles. On October 8th, the Hardys won the WCW Tag Team titles, and then on November 12, they won the WWE Tag titles.

Near the end of 2001, dissension arose in the ranks of the Hardys and, at the Vengeance pay-per-view, Jeff defeated Matt in a bout in which Lita served as the special referee. However, the bitterness between brothers was soon forgotten.

After teaming again with his brother Matt, Jeff began to strike out on his own (again), but made the mistake of angering the Undertaker who vowed revenge and, for the most part, had his way with Jeff. But Jeff earned a great deal of respect by nearly defeating 'Taker in a ladder match for the WWE Championship on the July 1st edition of Raw.

Undaunted, a week later Jeff defeated William Regal and captured the European Championship. On July 22nd, Hardy lost a title unification match to Intercontinental Championship Rob Van Dam. A week later, a brief reign as Hardcore Champion began with a victory over Bradshaw and ended at the hands of Johnny the Bull.

Jeff Hardy continued to compete in WWE for the remainder of 2002 and the beginning of 2003. He began to tease a heel turn after losing to Rob Van Dam and Booker T but that never went anywhere and in early 2003, he was linked with Trish Stratus in WWE storylines. However, on April 22, 2003, the WWE released him. At the time, Hardy said he was more interested in a career in music. However, Jeff would work several dates on the independent scene, including a return to OMEGA and an appearance for Ring of Honor, over the next year, until signing with TNA during the summer of 2004.

With a contract that included a promised World Title shot, Jeff Hardy didn't waste time earning the attention of Jeff Jarrett, who, along with Monty Brown, attacked Hardy on his first official night in TNA. Besides brawling with Jarrett and Brown, Hardy began teaming with A.J. Styles and Ron Killings before finally getting his title shot against Jarrett in September 2004.

Jarrett retained the title but Hardy rebounded to win a #1 contender tournament and faced off with Jarrett, once again, at Victory Road, only to have his chances at victory spoiled by the interference of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Hardy would team with Styles and Randy Savage against Jarrett, Hall and Nash at Turning Point.

After defeating Hall at Final Resolution, Hardy found himself under attack from Abyss. After further attacks from Abyss, Hardy took on (but lost to) Abyss in a #1 contender's match at Against All Odds but got the win at Destination X. The feud with Abyss widened to include Raven and the two men met in a Tables Cage Match at TNA Lockdown.

Hardy was to have met Raven at Hard Justice but could not make the show due to transportation problems. Hardy was suspended from TNA over the incident but returned to attack Jeff Jarrett during the main event at Sacrifice and lost to Bobby Roode at Unbreakable.

Hardy found himself battling Rhino, Sabu and Abyss in a Monster's Ball match at Bound for Glory. Hardy lost that match but still impressed TNA officials enough to be pitted against Monty Brown in a contender's match at Genesis.

Hardy lost to Brown, and his problems were just beginning. He no-showed the Turning Point pay-per-view, claiming to have overslept.

Hardy would make appearances at TNA's UWF house shows in April and May before disappearing again. This time he would reappear in WWE. Although he is expected to reform the Hardy Boyz tag team with brother Matt, so far Jeff has remained on Raw, taking on Edge and Johnny Nitro.

Hardy would defeat Nitro for the Intercontinental Championship, successfully defend it for five weeks before losing it to Nitro, and then win it back from the same a week later.

The Hardy Boyz would reunite soon afterward on ECW and begin a feud with MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury with Melina). Jeff would focus again on singles action after a mishap at Armageddon at which a missed ladder spot shattered Mercury’s face. About two months after that accident, Umaga would beat Hardy for the Intercontinental title. He’d continue occasionally wrestling alongside his brother Matt, but participate as a singles competitor at WrestleMania 23 in an eight-man Money in the Bank ladder match won by Mr. Kennedy.

The following night on RAW, however, the Hardy Boyz would win the World Tag Team belts in a 10-team battle royal. They’d feud with The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas), and Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. The latter eventually beat the Boyz for the belts.

The Hardy Boyz would once more lose to Cade and Murdoch at Vengeance and Jeff would return to singles again. He’d lose to Umaga at Great American Bash and shortly thereafter found himself suspended for violating the WWE’s wellness policy. That month-long suspension, however, didn’t seem to hurt his standing as soon after his return, he would defeat Umaga to recapture the Intercontinental belt.

For whatever reason, Jeff would get thrown into six-man tag matches. At No Mercy, Jeff, Brian Kendrick and Paul London lost to Mr. Kennedy, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.

As a singles competitor, Hardy's rise continued in October, with his initial encounters against the reigning WWE champion Randy Orton. His inclusion on Triple H's victorious team at the Survivor Series gave him some excellent rub, as did a short-lived feud with Triple H that culminated with a win at Armageddon, earning Hardy another shot at Orton at the Royal Rumble.

Going in to the Royal Rumble, Hardy was hugely over with the fans, and many pundits seriously believed that the Intercontinental champion could dethrone Orton for a short world title run. However, it was not to be, as Orton retained his belt with an RKO.

The run had elevated Hardy to the top rung of WWE superstars on Raw, particularly on the babyface side. He was unsuccessful in the Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out (won by Triple H) to earn a title shot at WrestleMania 24 but seemed poised to get back into the main event picture with a likely Money in the Bank win at 'Mania.

But on March 11, 2008, WWE announced that Hardy had been suspended for a second time for violations of the company's drug policy, and was sent home for 60 days. As if that weren't enough, a few days later his reportedly uninsured home in Cameron, North Carolina burned to the ground, taking his beloved pet dog with it.

"I lost my championship, my house, my dog and a chance to be in WrestleMania. And it all kind of happened in the same week.," he told the Ottawa Sun's Tim Baines.

Hardy returned around mid-May to start a feud with Umaga. He beat him on Raw and again at One Night Stand, the latter with a death-defying Swanton-bomb.

He was drafted to SmackDown in late June and engaged in a brief feud with Montel Vontavious Porter, before going after the WWE title. Triple H retained his belt, winning the Championship Scramble (in which Hardy was a participant) at Unforgiven, and beating Hardy one-on-one at No Mercy and Cyber Sunday.

Becoming "more extreme," Hardy would score wins over Undertaker and Triple H but be taken out of the championship picture by a mystery assailant just before Survivor Series. He'd get another shot, this time at Armageddon, and he'd make good on his chance, beating Edge, (who won the belt at Survivor Series), and Triple H in a three-way contest to earn his first WWE Championship.

A series of "accidents" would haunt Hardy, first when he and his fiancee Beth were apparently involved in a hit-and-run car crash, and later when his pyro exploded in his face. Hardy blamed Edge for these occurrences, and they'd meet at Royal Rumble. The fans were totally swerved when Jeff's brother Matt came down, seemingly to help Jeff, only to turn on him and crunch him with a chair shot, giving Edge the win and his title back.

Matt would go on to complain about living in Jeff's shadow, and disowned him while hinting that he had been behind all of Jeff's misfortunes. Jeff, who had refused to fight his brother, now agreed to face him in the ring. But Matt would get the upper hand on his brother, defeating him in an Extreme Rules match at WrestleMania 25. Matt beat Jeff again, this time in a Stretcher match on SmackDown. The feud continued, as Jeff interfered in a match between Matt and CM Punk on Raw. But Matt, who was now drafted to Raw, was able to scurry off before Jeff was able to hit his Swanton.

Matt got a third consecutive win over Jeff when he pinned him in a tag match, also on TV. Jeff finally took his brother down at Backlash, defeating him in an "I Quit" match. But Matt wouldn't let it end like that, and interfered in Jeff's World Heavyweight title match against Edge at Judgment Day, which helped allow Edge to retain the belt. Jeff got a title rematch, and earned the right to name the stipulations of the match after beating Edge on SmackDown. At Extreme Rules, Jeff captured the World Heavyweight title in a ladder match. He wouldn't hold onto it for long, though, as Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, and pinned Jeff after hitting two Go To Sleep finishers.

RELATED LINK

  • Matt Hardy bio and story archive

    JEFF HARDY STORIES
  • Nov. 26, 2008: Mat Matters: Hardy "unconscious" angle went too far
  • June 21, 2008: Hardy was down, but he's not out
  • May 29, 2008: Twist of Fate DVD takes split look at Hardyz
  • May 28, 2008: Retro review: Hardy Boyz memoir surprisingly inspirational
  • Mar. 11, 2008: Jeff Hardy suspended 60 days
  • Jan. 26, 2008: A giant leap for Jeff Hardy
  • May 12, 2007: Comeback earns laurels for Jeff Hardy
  • Aug. 14, 2006: Column - Second chance to be the second coming
  • Aug. 4, 2006: WWE brings back Hardy, Divas
  • April 22, 2003: WWE fires Jeff Hardy
  • April 20, 2003: Rumours 'suck' for Jeff Hardy
  • June 16, 2001: Hardys speak out against 'backyard' wrestling
  • May 29, 2001: Boyz make some noise
  • March 28, 2001: Hardys pumped for WrestleMania
  • November 9. 2000: Jeff Hardy: Slowing Down at 23

    --- compiled by John M. Milner and Richard Kamchen