CHAPTER 10: JEFF HARDY
Written By Brett Buchanan of BarbaricWrestling.com
Jeff Hardy debuted in TNA in June 2004 at their 2-Year Anniversary Show. X-Division Champion AJ Styles was set to take on Kid Kash, but Kash was injured and TNA needed a replacement. Mere days before the show TNA were able to book Jeff to fill in for Kash, it ended up leaking online a day prior. Jeff had been released by the WWE in 2003 and outside of a disastrous appearance for Ring of Honor as Willow the Whisp (where he was booed out of the building) he had been largely inactive in pro wrestling and focusing on his music, art, and other recreational activities.
Jeff debuted as AJ Styles’ mystery opponent to one of the loudest pops in TNA history. Hardy and AJ went on to have an entertaining 8-10 minute match that ended in a DQ when Kid Kash and Lance Hoyt (at the time known as Dallas) interfered. Hardy and AJ ended up getting the upper hand fighting them off. Hardy then stayed off television for a few weeks while they did a storyline where Dusty Rhodes was trying to get Hardy to sign with the company. This culminated in Jeff returning in July for a contract signing and beginning a program with Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Championship.
MARCUS CYGY: It was always negative backstage about Jeff Hardy [during his first TNA run], no one thought he cared no one thought he was trying he was just going through the motions.
DAVID YOUNG: His run was a total waste of time; Jeff just didn’t seem into it. Some TV’s we didn’t even know Jeff was there until his music started playing.
SCOTT HUDSON: Jeff was only in there for a cup of coffee to begin with that first time. But he was, how do you phrase this, he really wasn’t acceptable enough to even me, not that I’m any kind of great big deal, but even to me I never got a chance to talk to him except for the promos. If you had ever seen me do a promo with Jeff, that’s the only times I’ve ever talked to him in my life. Everybody else was always hanging out talking about territories and football and whatever else, but not him. I don’t think he was stand offish or anything he just wasn’t around for that.
BILL BEHRENS: I had tougher times getting Randy Savage to the ring than I did Jeff Hardy.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: I liked Jeff, I was there and I was the committee guy when Jeff came in. I like Jeff Hardy he’s an off the wall character but he’s got a great charisma, I got along with him great he’s a very personable guy and I know Jeff’s in his own world but I think Jeff Hardy is very good, I mean the people love him. In the wrestling business, even whether you like somebody or you think somebody’s an asshole, if the crowd buys them it’s their money and their ratings then it’s good for the company, and I think Jeff’s good.
BIG VITO: I spoke to Jeff in TNA and everything was fine and I knew him for a long time.
RUDY CHARLES: I thought it was great for TNA to have a name of that caliber so early on. When Jeff first came in it was him and AJ in a match, I think I might have refereed that. I just thought it was pretty cool to have him as a part of the company, early on there was Jeff [Jarrett] there’s Raven, but there weren’t a lot of guys that had that WWF or WCW background so getting Jeff was a big plus for TNA at the time.
BILL BEHRENS: Jeff is somebody who I’ve helped going back to nearly the very beginning of his career and when he was in TNA I was the one that got him to the go area most of the time, Jeff was having issues at the time, Jeff was not the Jeff he is now, Jeff was not well grounded. The run he had was problematic but it had an awful lot to do with the fact that Jeff was doing it to himself more than anything else. We probably in 20/20 hindsight should have sent him home an awful lot earlier. TNA made a number of those mistakes, TNA sent Jake Roberts to the ring coked out of his mind and had a debacle as a result, and Jeff Hardy was not being good to himself at the time and was doing things that were not good for his health and were not good for his in ring performance all the way around. But one thing that did come from that was that Jeff was able to do some of the things he really enjoys doing, which he’s now being able to visit at TNA as a much more stable young man and a much more grounded guy and that has to do with his creative side, his artistic side, his music, TNA unlike WWE let him do his own thing, whether you like his music or you don’t whether you even understand his music or you don’t, Jeff is very enamored with that and TNA allowed that and one of the reasons his time in TNA in the beginning worked was with a couple of exceptions he did show up and he did go out and he did work hard when he was in the ring.
PETEY WILLIAMS: I think he was probably more over in WWE when he got his second run after he left TNA and he went to WWE, it’s just hard to build a company around a somebody that no shows a lot. Like you read about on the internet he gets suspended from WWE for showing up late. I remember I had to wrestle him once, he literally showed up like an hour before the show started. I had to put together the entire match, and then I was like hey Jeff what’s up this is what we’re doing. He was cool through everything, and I just felt like I’m the rookie he’s the veteran. I shouldn’t be telling him what to do but he was cool with it and we had a good match and I was happy with it.
CASSIDY RILEY: Really the only time you saw Jeff... (Continues on next page)