It’s a real showdown at the Alamo when TNA Impact Wrestling champion Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray battle in a steel cage Sunday, March 10 during the TNA Lockdown pay-per-view from San Antonio.
From tag team competition to making names for themselves in the singles ranks, it’s the latest chapter in the decade-long rivalry between the two. Hardy looks forward to meeting his longtime opponent with the lights on bright in the main event.
“It’s really cool,” Hardy said during the Lockdown media conference call earlier this week. “You think about the TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) matches many years ago with the Dudley Boys and the Hardy Boys. To see those old matches and now to see us in TNA in full affect, and the way Jeff Hardy looks and the way Bully Ray looks. By the way, props to him because he is in the best shape of his life.
“We both have reinvented ourselves over the years, and it’s just so exciting to be headlining such a huge pay-per-view with Lockdown on Sunday and still be able to do what we do. Even watching all those TLC matches and now on our solo paths and doing so well. It’s really something to be proud of, and I can’t wait to see what happens on Sunday.”
The high-flyer appears in a mindset to give fans something they will never forget against someone he has met before on a different stage. Together they helped revolutionize tag team wrestling in the 2000s, so Ray and Hardy are no strangers to raising the bar.
“What’s going to be different, hopefully, is the unknown of a cage match,” Hardy said. “Especially, with my mentality and Lockdown last year probably had one of my favorite cage matches of all time against [Kurt] Angle. This year if we come close to topping what we did last year, it’s a challenge in itself. I’m not going to do nothing differently and give it my all.
“…There are flashbacks of those TLC matches when I think about our match [on Sunday] and how things change and people change. Now here we are. Bully is in the best shape of his life. I think I am, and it’s going to be so interesting to see what happens. We are both from the tag team areas, but we have pretty much dominated our solo paths and are going to take it to the next level.”
The Cameron, North Carolina native has matured inside the ring and out. A big proprietor of that has been his daughter, Ruby. These days Hardy thinks about how the risks he takes could impact his family, which is his top priority. With the match against Ray in the steel cage, the chance of injury is greater than normal.
“I’m really not limited, but I try to work smarter now,” Hardy said. “I’m excited because it’s a challenge. I’ve had so many great cage matches and ladder matches, and it’s just another challenge to top myself again. I’m a little more afraid to try things, but I’m still the same Jeff Hardy…It’s because I have a two-year-old daughter now.
“…Being a pro wrestler and a father, you do think a lot more about having to be there for my daughter. You do whatever you can to stay healthy, but there is a good balance with family.
“…It’s way tougher now to [rebound from the bumps and bruises of a match] just being older, but I’ve taken extreme care of myself. I see a chiropractor three days a week. I try to get massages. I ice every part of the body that’s hurting after every match. I workout more than I ever had, and I take real good care of myself.”