Whether it was inside the ring or out, Jeff Hardy and his brother Matt have been through hell and back together.
The Hard Boys begin another chapter in TNA Impact Wrestling with their tag title match against champions Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, collectively known as the Wolves.
The dream encounter is part of the stacked card for the Impact Wrestling’s Destination X special 9 p.m. EST Thursday, July 31 on Spike TV. Jeff is excited to reunite with Matt for the first time in more than three years on Impact.
“It is extremely cool,” he said. “I did a couple of independent shows with him, and that was the first time we tagged in a while. It was cool to get in there this later in life and feel as good as we did as a team and still be just as good, if not better, than we’ve always been.”
Never miss a local story.
Matt’s last stint with the company in 2011 didn’t go too well. After going through a rough patch in his life, Jeff’s older bro is now on the right track and in a better place personally. He thinks TNA made a great move in giving him a second chance.
“It took some time get right with me too,” he said. “I had to make a change too. We share somewhat of the same story. We can say we survived, and we are back in action…I think more than anything there were quite a few things I would say [helped us make a change]. The big one was spending 10 days in the slammer.
“It’s a crazy story, but each of us spent 10 days in the same cell at Moore County [jail]. When that was happening, it was just so surreal. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘I don’t want anyone to ever go through that.’ It was so horrible. Still, anyone that goes to jail for two or three days and still gets out and keeps screwing up. I will never understand that. I don’t understand how that can’t be a life-changer for other people as it has been for Matt and I.”
The Hardy Boys lived the typical rock n’ roll lifestyle, and at times suffered the consequences. These days Jeff, a father and husband, has his head on straight. The creative juices continue to flow for the colorful figure, whose success can be attributed to his the constant reinvention of his persona.
He took it a step further beyond just contact lenses and face-paint when he crafted Willow, his alter-ego. The North Carolinian competed as Willow the Wisp on the independent scene and in OMEGA, a promotion he and his brother built up with friends including Shane Helms, Shannon Moore and others early on. Jeff plans to revisit the persona down the road.
“My ideas are so bizarre and different and hard to understand when I try to express them to TNA,” he said. “I got a way to do it, but it’s a lot of work, especially if you’re going to try to pull it off on the same show and do the switches between characters. I got this really cool idea for Willow with Jeff Hardy that I think is going to be the way to go, as far as keeping them both around. The more I did Willow the more I thought that it was a kid-friendly character. My daughter loves Willow. Kurt Angle’s son, Kody, loves Willow. It can be such a cool, kid-friendly character. I think that is where Willow is heading.”
Jeff credits TNA for their open-mindedness.
“For example, in WWE they probably would have never let me wear a mask because they would think my face is my money-maker, and that’s what people need to see,” he said. “That’s understandable, but with my whole deal of being this enigma, there is ways to do it. TNA, we’re like the smaller planet in the wrestling world, and they aren’t afraid to take chances. That’s the biggest difference.
“…After I left WWE back in 2009 and didn’t resign and ended up with my arrest and getting in trouble. Thank God TNA was willing to give me a job because they pretty much saved me at that time. I was able to work all the way up to my judgment that was ongoing for a year to two years. They pretty much saved me and helped me out so much. That is why I ended up with TNA.”
Just as TNA has believed in Jeff Hardy, Jeff Hardy believes in TNA. There is lots of talk and rumors regarding the company’s future and Impact Wrestling on Spike TV.
“I am confident,” Jeff said. “Negotiations are ongoing. I show up and do the best I can in the ring. That’s my job. It’s not my problem to worry about that. Hopefully, they will make the right decision and will continue on Spike. We’ll see. I just show up, do my job and that’s all I care about.”
Hardy finds himself in a locker room filled with young and emerging stars. Put the Wolves at the top of the list.
“It’s crazy,” Jeff said. “It’s almost intimidating watching some of the talent. If everything can be structured right and we can stay consistent and creative remains great and gets better, there is no limit to how good TNA can be. It’s about committing and following through and being consistent with all this phenomenal talent.
“…I first saw the Wolves when I started watching Matt in Ring of Honor. Immediately I was blown away how good these guys were. They are step ahead of everybody else. Definitely Thursday night when Matt and I try to win the TNA tag team titles from the Wolves, it’s going to be a show-stealer.”
IMPACT WRESTLING (Spike 9/8c) on Thursday, July 31 features TNA’s annual Destination X special event. Always a fan favorite, this show emanates from New York City’s Manhattan Center and features a thrilling night of high-energy wrestling.
In a huge main event, Austin Aries will use Option C, handing over the X Division title to face The Destroyer, Lashley, for his World Heavyweight Championship.
A tag team dream match is also on tap for Destination X. Matt and Jeff, The Hardys, will reunite to team together for the first time in more than three years on IMPACT as they face TNA World tag team champs The Wolves (Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards).
There will be three qualifying matches to determine the TNA Superstars who will compete for the X Division Championship.
In Match 1, it will be the returning Low Ki vs. Manik vs. DJ Z.
Match 2 will feature Sanada vs. Brian Cage vs. Crazzy Steve.
In Match 3 Samoa Joe makes his return to the X Division facing Tigre Uno and Homicide. The three winners will advance to a match on next week’s IMPACT that will determine the new X Division Champion.
Plus, Dixie Carter will be in attendance with who she has dubbed the real stars of Hardcore -- King Mo, EC3, Rockstar Spud, and Rhino along with her two new hired guns, Snitsky and Ryklon Stephens.
All this and more when IMPACT airs on Spike TV at 9/8c.
For information on IMPACT WRESTLING, visit www.impactwrestling.com
• Follow Jeff Hardy on Twitter @JeffHardyBrand.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.