The Matt Hardy Story
MATCH #1: No DQ, No Count Out Match – Matt Hardy vs. Kane, Vengeance, 7.11.04
Kane attacks Hardy in the aisle but Hardy is ready for him. The brawl goes on around ringside, and Hardy tries a Twist of Fate on the announce table. Kane blocks it and sends Hardy into the crowd. Kane stays in control as they head back to the ring. Kane abuses Hardy in and out of the ring as the crowd loses interest. Matt fights back but Kane keeps cutting him off. The crowd chants for tables for some reason. Matt tries to use a chair but Kane boots him down and grabs the chair himself. Matt is finally able to get an advantage by tying Kane’s leg up in the ropes and he unloads on him. Matt cracks him with the ring bell and they go back to the ring. Matt hits a legdrop off the top rope to the back of Kane’s neck and then goes for the Twist of Fate. Kane powers out. He goes for a powerslam of some sort but Hardy reverses it and hits a Twist of Fate but Kane kicks out. Kane hits a chokeslam and goes outside to grab the ring steps. Lita comes bouncing out, and she was allegedly pregnant at this time. Kane is distracted by her and picks up the steps again. This gives Matt the chance to grab a chair and hit the steps, which go back into Kane’s face and Matt gets the pin at 10:35. The match was incredibly dull, as was most of this feud. They show Lita trying to talk to Matt backstage after the match, and he’s upset because he doesn’t want anything to happen to the baby. Lita was having one of her hot days on 7-11-04.
MATCH #2: Steel Cage Match – Matt Hardy vs. Edge, Unforgiven, 9.18.05
They have a tense lockup and start throwing punches right away. Edge makes the first attempt to escape but Matt stops him. Edge keeps trying to escape but Matt will have none of it. Matt tries a Twist of Fate early on, but Edge pushes him into the cage and hits the Edge-O-Matic for two. They fight up on the top rope and Matt tries the Side Effect but Edge stops it and hits a missile dropkick to the back of Matt’s head. Edge takes control now and goes to work on Matt’s head. Edge controls for quite a while, and then hits an awesome powerbomb from the top rope. That gets a near fall. Matt comes back with a sort of snake eyes while Edge had him in the corner punches. Edge tries a spear but Matt sidesteps it and hits the Side Effect, which JR helpfully calls “a takedown.” Edge tries to crawl out the door but Matt stops him. Lita slides the Money in the Bank briefcase in the ring but Matt avoids getting hit with it and unloads on Edge, tying him up in the ropes Andre the Giant style. He goes to work, ramming Edge into the cage several times. Lita tries to climb the cage and Matt knocks her down, the slut. That was a clever diversion so that Edge could get color. Matt takes the briefcase and climbs up top, but Edge shoves the referee into the ropes and Matt falls down between the ropes and the cage. Edge hits a spear there. They fight up top and Matt hits the top rope Side Effect this time. None of the three commentators know the name of the move apparently. Lita jumps into the ring to break up the pin. Edge tries to climb out, which allows Lita to grab the briefcase and try to hit Matt. He blocks it and nails her with the Twist of Fate. Edge responds with a Spear for two. They fight up on the top rope again and Matt tosses Edge’s head into the cage and he falls back into the ring. Matt climbs to the top and instead of going out of the cage he hits a legdrop from the very top of the cage to get the pin at 21:32. That was reminiscent of Jeff Hardy at the 2001 Survivor Series, except Matt had a legitimate reason for wanting to hit the big move rather than climb out. This was a really good cage match, but not quite intense enough given the nature of this feud.
MATCH #3: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match – Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury, Smackdown, 3.2.07
I’ve gained a new appreciation for Joey Mercury due to his 2008 work in Ring of Honor for the Age of the Fall. Booker T is on commentary here and he’s instantly annoying. Mercury is wearing the faceguard to protect the broken nose he suffered in one of the most grisly accidents in wrestling history. Booker distracts from the match by trying to do play-by-play. Hardy gets a few near falls early on. A gourdbuster gets two. Hardy tries a Moonsault but Mercury moves out of the way and hits the Stroke for a near fall. He works on the shoulder. Matt comes back and tries Splash Mountain but Mercury avoids it and continues working on the shoulder. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Mercury is in control, and he brings the fight to the floor. Back in the ring Mercury works over the arm and shoulder until Hardy comes back with a chinbreaker. Mercury cuts him off with a kick to the shoulder. Hardy keeps trying to fight back. He slams Mercury off the top rope. He follows with the Raven comeback for two. The Side Effect gets two. Hardy pulls Mercury’s mask off and tries to ram him into the turnbuckle. He blocks it, but ends up taking a super Twist of Fate and Hardy qualifies at 13:49. That was a really good TV match, with solid psychology and cool stuff from both Mercury and Hardy. It’s pretty unreal that Michael Cole actually called the Twist of Fate a “Facebuster.” Come on bro, it’s his finish.
MATCH #4: Matt Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy, Smackdown, 5.4.07
I’m not sure why this match would be included, but here it is. Hardy is one half of the World Tag Team Champions at this point, which is a Raw title. Hardy starts off with the headlock. Kennedy whips him off but Hardy comes back with a shoulderblock. Then Kennedy comes back and tries an armbar, but Hardy stays one step ahead. Kennedy takes control for a short time but Hardy backdrops him over the ropes and to the floor. Somewhere along the way Kennedy got his nose busted open, and they cut to commercial.
We come back with Hardy still in control. Kennedy comes back by hitting a single-arm DDT and goes to work on the shoulder. A schoolboy gets two. They go back and forth and eventually head to the floor. Kennedy kicks Hardy back first into the steel steps and back in the ring gets a two-count out of it. Kennedy uses a cravat now, but I wouldn’t expect the play-by-play man to know the name of it. Hardy fights out of it and they slug it out. It doesn’t last long though as Kennedy goes right back on offense. Hardy makes several comeback attempts, but it doesn’t stick until he hits the Side Effect for a near fall. Kennedy comes back with a jackknife pin for two. Kennedy hits a Finlay Roll after blocking Matt’s attempted Twist of Fate. Matt kicks out at two. Kennedy goes up for the Kenton Bomb but Hardy gets the knees up and gets a near fall. Hardy hits the leg drop off the second rope and gets another near fall. A sweet counter-reversal sequence leads to Hardy finally hitting the Twist of Fate to get the pin at 18:55. JBL and Cole oversell the quality of the match, but it was still really good, and showed that both guys at one time had what it took to move way up the card.
MATCH #5: Tag Team Title Match – The Hardy Boyz vs. The Serial Thrillaz, Omega, 1.29.99
The Hardys, Helms, and Moore introduce the match, and three of them are participants in this one; the fourth is a guy named Mike Maverick. Helms and Maverick are the classic babyfaces, while the Hardys are playing heels since they’re on their way to WWE. They’re all doing commentary on the match too, which is a nice touch. Jeff seems particularly disinterested, which comes off as funny. Matt and Shane wrestle to a stalemate, which one of them (not sure if it’s Matt or Helms) calls “that Ring of Honor bullshit.” Helms takes Matt down and when Jeff tries to interfere Maverick hits him with a spear and they follow it up with simultaneous powerbombs. The Hardys powder, and when a fan pushes Matt in the back he turns around and gives him a crotch chop. What a mark. The Thrillaz hit some big offensive moves, and Jeff reveals his motto – “I shine when I sell.” I would agree with that. Matt is just gushing over this match, which is just okay. The Hardys try Poetry in Motion but Maverick blocks it. They hit their own Poetry in Motion, and they do the icky 69 spot. It’s even ickier because they’re brothers. They start using some inside terms to make fun of the internet fans. The commentary makes this one hard to follow, as it actually gets pretty entertaining to listen to them. It’s hard to rate because of the commentary, but Matt’s gushing is way out of line, as this is a very typical Indy match that time hasn’t been kind to. The finish comes when the referee gets bumped and the Hardys try to use a chair. Of course it backfires and Helms hits a splash off Maverick’s shoulders to get the pin at 20:13.The Hardys went on to WWE and the rest is history.
The Jeff Hardy Story
MATCH #6: Tag Team Tables Match – The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudleys, Royal Rumble, 1.23.00
There’s so much blurring going on here it’s sad. The fight starts in the aisle and quickly gets to the ring. Bubba grabs the first table less than a minute into the match. Matt saves Jeff from taking a back body drop through a table and hits a DDT on Bubba. Then Bubba goes to the floor and Jeff hits a dive on him. JR confuses which Hardy is which. D-Von tries to powerbomb Matt through a table and Matt reverses it to a suplex attempt but can’t connect. Outside the ring Jeff cracks Bubba in the head with a chair. Bubba comes back by throwing a table in Jeff’s face. The action here is tough to call. Matt brings a ladder into the ring and the Hardys use it as a weapon. Bubba takes another sick chair shot, this one from Matt. He sets Bubba up on a table, and he and Jeff both put him through it and now they just need to put D-Von through a table. Gotta give Bubba and D-Von some credit here, they’re not putting their hands up for any of these chair shots. Matt and Jeff both miss moves through a table when D-Von avoids them. The ring steps get thrown into the ring and the Dudleys set a table up on them. Matt gets powerbombed through it. Bubba sets up four tables in the aisle. Jeff and Bubba fight up on top of the set and Jeff nails Bubba with a chair and he falls through the tables. Matt sets D-Von up on a table and Jeff hits a huge Swanton on D-Von to win the match at 10:17. That was amazing for its time and surprisingly holds up pretty well as a really fun match. It’s pretty crazy to look at these four guys today and see where they all are (TNA).
MATCH #7: Intercontinental Title Match – Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy, Smackdown, 4.12.01
Triple H had just beaten Jericho for the title one week ago. Hardy attacked HHH, Stone Cold, and even hit Stephanie with a Twist of Fate earlier tonight, so HHH comes down to the ring pissed off. Hardy gets some offense in and a couple of near falls, but HHH continually overpowers him. HHH tosses Hardy to the floor, and when he tries to run the guardrail on him HHH catches him and slams him. Hardy tries to jump off the apron and gets the exact same treatment. Back in the ring HHH hits the Harley Race knee and instead of going for a cover he punches him in the face a few times. HHH goes to the sleeper and Hardy breaks it up with a chinbreaker. Hardy hits a side Russian Legsweep, and Cole and Tazz think HHH executed it. In their defense it was awkward looking. Hardy goes up to the top rope and HHH shoves the referee into the ropes. Tim White gets in HHH’s face about it so HHH shoves him down. HHH goes up to superplex Hardy, but Matt Hardy comes out and nails HHH with a chair and Jeff hits the Swanton for the major upset at 8:07. Matt was supposedly at home with injuries so it was a surprise to see him there. The match was a pretty good underdog babyface overcoming the odds display, and a big win for Jeff. He would lose it back to HHH on Raw four days later, but it was still a big moment.
MATCH #8: Steel Cage Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Jeff Hardy vs. Johnny Nitro, New Year’s Revolution, 1.7.07
You can win this one by pin, submission, or escape. Hardy has been the champion since 11.13.06, and this is his second defense. He previously beat Nitro in a ladder match on Raw on 11.20.06, so this should effectively end the feud. Nitro goes on offense right away, which makes sense given that he’s the challenger. Hardy comes back and hits that shotgun dropkick in the corner. He follows up with a gourdbuster, or as JR calls it “the Facebuster out of a suplex position.” I don’t know why I’m so sensitive to what the commentators are calling moves lately. Nitro comes back with a springboard spin kick for two. Hardy hits his twisting falling lariat for two. Hardy tries to get out of the cage but Nitro grabs the foot, so Hardy hits the mule kick. Hardy is up on the top rope and Nitro dropkicks him down, and now he’s stuck between the ropes and the cage. Nitro takes advantage and rams Hardy into it several times. They both fight up on the top rope now and Hardy hits a sweet dropkick and now they’re both down. Hardy gets up and springs towards the top of the cage, but Nitro stops him and suplexes him down. Nitro tries to climb out now but Hardy grabs him and Russian Legsweeps him off the top rope. They go back up and Nitro uses Hardy as a stepstool to get up on the top of the cage. He hits an awesome sunset bomb off the top of the cage and both men are down. Nitro makes it to the top of the cage and Hardy goes up to stop him. He knocks Hardy down but convolutedly gets his legs stuck in the cage and he hangs there for a moment before coming down. Melina takes her belt off and tries to whip Hardy through the cage with it. This distraction allows Nitro to hit a missile dropkick. He hits a neckbreaker and goes up to the top rope. He attempts what looks like a cross body but Hardy knocks him out of the air. That gives Hardy the chance to hit the Swanton bomb much to Melina’s chagrin. Hardy gets two when Nitro gets his foot on the ropes. I hate that. Nitro recovers and tries to climb out again, but Hardy stops him and tries a Twist of Fate. Nitro shoves him down, and then goes to climb out of the cage. Hardy tries to go out the door, so Nitro cleverly holds the door shut with his foot, but Hardy is able to overcome him and Nitro falls crotch first onto the door. That gives Hardy the chance to roll out the door, win the match, and retain the title at 14:41. That had a lot of creative spots in it and a very cool finish. It’s pretty clear that both guys were ready to be moved up by this point.
MATCH #9: Money in the Bank Qualifying Match – Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin, Raw, 2.26.07
They show some clips of both guys’ past exploits in ladder matches. Benjamin gets a couple of quick covers using his mat wrestling ability. Hardy comes back with a takedown and the leg(s) drop to Benjamin’s midsection. Benjamin comes back with some kicks and punches and he puts on a chinlock. They go to the floor and Hardy runs the rail and hits a big clothesline. Back in the ring Benjamin whips Hardy into the corner and eats the Whisper in the Wind for his trouble. He goes up top again but Benjamin leaps to the top rope and hits an awesome belly to belly suplex. Benjamin stays in control with various slams and strikes. Benjamin goes back to a chinlock and Hardy tries to chinbreaker his way out of it, but they muck it up somehow. Hardy hits a few quick moves and it’s amazing how the crowd lights up when he goes on offense. Hardy tosses Benjamin to the apron and he tries to springboard back in but he slips and lands badly on his head and Hardy goes for an immediate cover. Good for them, they blew a move but smartly recovered. Moments later Hardy hits the Swanton to get the pin at 10:05. There was a little awkwardness but it was mostly a solid TV match and I think they could do a lot better.
MATCH #10: World Tag Team Title Match – The Hardys vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, Judgment Day, 5.20.07
The Hardys won the titles on 4.2.07, and this is their second defense. Cade and Matt start the match. These two teams had a fun little feud around this time. Matt gets the first advantage and the crowd is excited to see him and his brother. Cade comes in and Matt is able to take advantage of him as well. Cade gets a hiptoss and goes to the arm and quickly tags Murdoch in. He’s in for less than a minute before tagging Cade back in. Cade tries to work on the arm but Matt levels him with a forearm to the face and goes over to tag Jeff and the crowd pops. Cade tags Murdoch in and we’re back to two fresh men. The Hardys get the advantage and go to work on Murdoch’s left arm. Matt hits an elbow to the back of the neck off the second rope for two. Murdoch gets up and puts on a headlock and makes the blind tag to Cade. He comes in and hits a big clothesline on Matt for two. A standing dropkick gets two. They double team Matt in the corner. Murdoch tries a Vader Bomb but Matt gets his knees up and makes the tag to Jeff, who is on fire. It breaks down to a brawl and the champions clothesline the challengers over the top rope. Murdoch and Jeff get back in the ring, but it doesn’t last as Jeff dumps Murdoch to the floor. He tries a springboard dive but Murdoch moves and Jeff lands with a splat. Back in the ring the challengers work on Jeff’s back. Murdoch hits an impressive Code Red for a near fall. Jeff is able to make the hot tag to Matt, and he takes out both challengers. The numbers take over on Matt and Cade hits his spinebuster for a two count. Matt recovers and hits the Twist of Fate and he tags Jeff in to hit the Swanton Bomb and they Hardys retain at 15:00. That was a fun tag team match and I wish they had done more with Cade and Murdoch.
MATCH #11: Winner Gets WWE Championship Title Shot at Royal Rumble – Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H, Armageddon, 12.16.07
Hardy’s Intercontinental Title is not on the line here. Triple H takes the early advantage with his superior size and strength. Hardy tries to quicken the pace and hits an armdrag and brings the match to the floor. He tries to walk the guardrail but can’t keep his balance so Triple H takes advantage and hits a clothesline and puts Hardy back in the ring. Hardy hesitates on delivering a right hand, so H rightfully slaps him hard across the face and encourages Hardy to fight. The slap seems to wake Hardy up, as he hits a few of his signature moves and follows up with a slap of his own. Now HHH is fired up and he tosses Hardy to the floor and then into the stairs. HHH dominates for a few minutes before Hardy is able to string together a couple of offensive maneuvers. HHH then recovers and then they commence to trading big moves. Hardy goes to the top and tries the Swanton but HHH moves out of the way and nearly pins Hardy off it. Hardy is able to avoid the Pedigree but the Spinebuster connects. HHH picks Hardy up for a Pedigree but Hardy grabs the legs and rolls over to get the pin and earn a title shot at 15:23. That was a good solid match and Hardy went over as clean as could possibly be, so WWE must be serious about wanting to elevate him. The match wasn’t spectacular, but HHH kept Hardy on track and if they were given a main event slot rather than fourth I think they could do even more.
MATCH #12: Steel Cage Match – Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga, Raw, 1.7.08
Hardy’s Intercontinental Title is not on the line here for some reason. WWE Champion Randy Orton, who will face Hardy at the Royal Rumble, is out to watch the match. Umaga and Hardy have good chemistry together and I haven’t seen this match since it was on TV, so I’m glad they included it on this set. Umaga attacks Hardy early on and withstands his offensive attacks. He misses a charge in the corner and hits the cage. Hardy hits the dropkick in the corner for two. Umaga tries to throw Hardy into the cage, and Hardy tries to climb out but Umaga pulls him down for a nice bump. Cut to commercial.
When we come back Umaga is still in control. Hardy gets one kick in but Umaga backdrops him into the cage. Umaga charges at Hardy while he’s stuck between the cage and the ropes. It’s amazing how good Umaga got. He covers but gets two when Hardy puts his foot on the rope. Orton gets pissed at ringside and starts throwing chairs into the ring and Umaga picks one up and cracks Hardy on the back. Umaga tries to climb out but Hardy knocks him down, crotching him on the top rope. Hardy uses a chair for a one-man Poetry in Motion. He tries the Twist of Fate but Umaga pushes him off and strikes him down. Umaga goes for the running butt splash but Hardy moves and hits a few forearms and a mule kick. He then throws a chair at Umaga’s face. He follows that with a DDT on a steel chair. That gets two. Hardy tries to climb out the door but Orton slams it in his face. Hardy finally hits the Twist of Fate and goes to escape over the top of the cage. Orton is waiting for him below, so Hardy hits a Whisper in the Wind on Umaga from way up there. That’s enough to get the pin at 14:29. That was a ridiculously fun cage match with a rare pinfall finish. This will likely remain one of the best matches on WWE TV all year.