Jeff and Matt Hardy
REAL NAME: Matthew Hardy
6' 2", 225 pounds
BORN:Cameron, North Carolina
NICKNAMES:Matt Hardy Version 1.0, High Voltage, Surge
Much of his early career was spent in tag teams with his brother,Jeff, but since their split some time ago, Matt Hardy carved out his own niche as a singles wrestler. And while his real life trials have overshadowed his in-ring capabilities in recent months, an return to active competition in WWE may begin to put a stop to that.
Matt and his brother Jeff, got their start in 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).
The Hardys also wrestled for several other North Carolina-based wrestling organizations, and adapted a number of alter-egos. As the Wolverine, Matt captured the NEWA Championship in May 1994. As High Voltage, he teamed with Venom (future Mean Street Posse Member Joey Abs) to claim the NFWA Tag Team titles in March 1995. A month later, High Voltage defeated the Willow (Jeff Hardy) for the NFWA Championship.
It was shortly thereafter that Matt made his first appearances in WWE, working as enhancement talent. He appeared on Raw against WWE veteran Nikolai Volkoff, and would also work matches against future superstars such as the Ringmaster (Steve Austin) and Hunter Hearst Helmsley (the future Triple H).
Matt would return to the North Carolina indies, where one of his more popular monikers was Surge. Under that name, he defeated former partner Venom for the NCW title and then returned to Omega to defeat Rick Michaels for the OMEGA Championship. In July 1998, the Hardys clashed again, as Surge defeated the Willow for the NDW Light Heavyweight Championship. Later that same month, however, the Hardys would team to defeat Mike Maverick and Kid Vicious for the Omega Tag Team titles.
As it turned out, the Hardys would be doing a lot of teaming together over the coming months and years. In the summer of 1998, they 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. After several months of working dark matches, the Hardys took on Michael Hayes as their manager and things began to progress for them.
They would return to their native North Carolina in June 1999. Only instead of wrestling in local indies, they took on and defeated the APA to become the WWE Tag Team Champions. Bradshaw and Farooq would regain the titles a month later, and shortly after that, the Hardys would leave Hayes behind, teaming with Gangrel to form the New Brood.
The Hardys alliance with Gangrel led them into a feud with Gangrel's former charges, Edge and Christian. The Hardys and Edge and Christian battled throughout the late summer and fall of 1999, with the Hardys even costing Edge and Christian a shot at the tag team titles at Unforgiven. But perhaps the best match of their program was at No Mercy in which the two teams engaged in a ladder match in the finals of the Terri Invitational Tournament. The Hardys won the match, $100 000 and the managerial services of Terri Runnels.
As 1999 ended and 2000 began, the Hardys also began to feud with the Dudley Boys, leading to a tables match at the 2000 Royal Rumble but lost to Edge and Christian at No Way Out when Terri turned on the team.
At Wrestlemania 2000, the three teams, the Dudleys, Hardys and Edge/Christian, would battle in a ladder match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. An incredible match, but the Hardys would not prevail, instead watching Edge and Christian leave as the tag champs.
While still working against Edge/Christian, the Hardys would also take on the team of Test and Albert who was managed by Trish Stratus. But the Hardys would get some female help in the form of Lita, who would become the Hardys' manager and the third component of "Team Extreme".
After losing a three-team TLC match at SummerSlam to Edge and Christian (the Dudleys were the third team), they rebounded at Unforgiven 2000 in a cage match to regain the WWE Tag Team titles. 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.
Meanwhile, although they had been dating for some time outside the ring, the on-screen relationship between Lita and Matt didn't begin to heat up until February 2001, when Matt kissed Lita during an episode of Raw. At first, Lita looked confused by the gesture, but quickly kissed back.
In addition to success in the tag ranks (the Hardys defeated the Dudleys to regain the tag titles on March 5, 2001), Matt also began to test the waters in singles competition, and defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the European Championship, holding it for four months before losing the title to the Hurricane.
In October 2001, with the Invasion angle in full swing, the Hardys added another championship to their resume, defeating Test and Booker T to win the WCW World Tag Team titles. Defeated by the Dudley Boys at the Survivor Series, the Hardys came out on the losing end of the WWE/WCW Tag Team Unification match.
At the end of 2001, the first Matt/Jeff split was teased, as the two battled at Vengeance, where Matt was defeated in a bout where Lita served as the special referee.
Soon, the Hardys were back on the same page and among the tag ranks in WWE. However, things were never quite the same and by August, Matt had had enough. He turned on his brother during Matt's bout against Rob Van Dam and jumped to Smackdown where he boasted he would soon be one of their top stars.
He quickly talked himself into a match against Brock Lesnar but fell to defeat against the big man. In fact, Matt's early matches on Smackdown usually ended in him losing, until a tainted victory over the Hurricane in mid-September, and a victory over the Undertaker in a falls-count-anywhere bout, thanks to, ironically enough, interference from Brock Lesnar.
Matt enlisted Shannon Moore's help in his feud with Lesnar, although Hardy seemed to spend more time beating up Moore than getting advantages over Lesnar. After a loss to Billy Kidman, Matt dedicated himself to winning the Cruiserweight Championship. Finally, at No Way Out 2003, Kidman did just that, then retained the title against Rey Mysterio, Jr. at Wrestlemania XIX.
Hardy's reign as Cruiserweight Champion was probably longer than most people expected, especially since it seemed Mysterio was being groomed for the title. However, on a June edition of Smackdown, Mysterio ended Hardy's reign as champion, leaving Matt to redirect his attention to the U.S. Championship.
Hardy defeated Rikishi in the first round of the United States tournament, but lost to Chris Benoit in the subsequent round. In the weeks to come, Matt began to feud with Zach Gowan but it was Gowan who got the last laugh, defeating Hardy at No Mercy.
In November 2003, Matt Hardy returned to Raw, but would not stay with girlfriend Lita for long, walking out on her during a mixed tag match on Raw against Molly Holly and Eric Bischoff. Matt would also clash with Christian, due to the latter's feelings towards the jilted Lita. Matt would find himself battling both Christian and Chris Jericho (Jericho was in the midst of his romantic relationship angle with Trish Stratus).
Lita and Matt would reunite, only to find themselves menaced by Kane. Lita saved Matt from a crippling attack by Kane by, it was later revealed, agreeing to sleep with him. A few weeks later, Lita found out she was pregnant... but it turned out to be Kane's baby, a fact revealed just as Matt was to propose to Lita.
Matt defeated Kane at Vengeance but lost at SummerSlam in a "Til Death Us Part" bout in which Kane won the right to marry Lita. Matt showed up to try and stop the wedding but Kane choke-slammed him off the stage and ran off with his new bride, Lita.
The attack was actually a cover for the fact that Matt had to take some time off to have reconstructive knee surgery. As he was recovering from the surgery, his off-screen relationship with Lita ended. Matt, upset at how things ended, began to vent his frustrations on his website. These comments and his threats towards Edge (with whom Lita had become involved) cost Hardy his job with the WWE. On April 11, 2005, the WWE announced that Matt Hardy had been released from his contract.
It was expected that Hardy would head to NWA-TNA where his brother, Jeff, had made a few appearances. Three months later, however, Hardy confronted Edge and Lita, then interfered in an Edge/Kane match on Raw. After a July 13th bout against Christian Daniels at a Ring of Honor show, Hardy would return to confront his former girlfriend and his former friend. On the August 1st edition of Raw, Vince McMahon announced that he had re-signed Hardy. Matt took the mic and vowed revenge against Lita and Edge.
The ensuing war between Edge and Hardy seemed to be going all Edge's way, especially with a win at SummerSlam but Hardy got a measure of revenge in a cage match at Unforgiven. However, at WWE Homecoming, Edge sent Hardy packing to Smackdown in a "Loser-Leaves-Raw/Money in the Bank" ladder match.
Hardy defeated Simon Dean on his return to Smackdown but was soon back in the thick of the fight with Edge and other members of the Raw roster, leading to Hardy's teaming with Rey Mysterio, Jr against Chris Masters and Snitsky at Taboo Tuesday.
With the Raw-Smackdown wars over, Hardy settled in to Smackdown action, taking on Randy Orton and Ken Kennedy among others. His first major feud began when JBL cost Hardy a match against Booker T. JBL got the victory over Hardy at Armageddon but the feud continued for several more weeks.
After several key losses by Hardy, Melina offered him a chance to join forces with MNM. Instead, Hardy teamed with Tatanka to take on MNM at No Way Out. A subsequent teaming with Road Warrior Animal turned sour, however, when Animal turned on Hardy.
The feud with Animal would be short-lived, with Hardy taking away two victories. One of those came in a Money in the Bank qualifying match, which took Hardy to WrestleMania 22. There, he lost in a six-man Money in the Bank ladder match that RVD won.
Hardy soon relatively disappeared off the map as he wrestled in dark matches and matches taped for Velocity. Then, out of nowhere, he beat Mr. Kennedy on Smackdown to end Kennedy’s winning streak.
For the next several months, Hardy would feud with Gregory Helms until his career got a shot in the arm when he joined his brother Jeff to reform the Hardy Boyz. They’d feud with MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury with Melina), although that was nearly derailed when a botched ladder spot at Armageddon smashed Mercury’s face. At WrestleMania 23, Matt and Jeff would wrestle as singles competitors in an eight-man Money in the Bank ladder match that Mr. Kennedy won.
The following day, however, The Hardy Boyz won a 10-team battle royal to capture the World Tag Team Championships. They’d defend the belts against The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas), and Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, but would eventually lose the titles to the latter.
Matt Hardy returned to singles action and began a program with MVP Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP). The feud would be marked by a series of idiotic competitions, including basketball, beer-drinking, and pizza eating contests. Somehow in the middle of all that, the two wound up winning the WWE Tag Team titles from Deuce and Domino.
Their sometimes uneasy title reign lasted a little over two months until John Morrison and The Miz beat them for the belts on SmackDown. A few days later and Hardy was taken to hospital in Tampa with a ruptured appendix. He needed an emergency appendectomy and was out until the end of March. Hardy returned with a splash at WrestleMania 24, interfering in a Money in the Bank ladder match and preventing MVP from getting the briefcase.
That was enough to renew their feud, which culminated in a match for MVP's U.S. Championship at Backlash. Hardy won the match and the belt, and defended it successfully in their rematch on SmackDown. But a month-and-a-half later and Hardy was drafted to ECW. He managed to hold onto the belt for another month, until Benjamin beat him for it at Great American Bash.
Hardy had a run against Mark Henry, and at Unforgiven, took the ECW Championship in a Scramble match, defeating Henry, Finlay, Chavo Guerrero, and the Miz. His four month reign ended on TV when he lost to Jack Swagger in mid-January 2009.
A switch to heel would be next for Hardy as he turned on his brother Jeff, costing the latter his WWE title against Edge at Royal Rumble. In the days that followed, Matt would complain about living in his brother's shadow, and suggested he'd been the one who'd been sabotaging Jeff's personal life in recent weeks. (These included scripted accidents, namely a hit-and-run and getting injured by his own ring entrance pyrotechnics, as well as the real-life fire that burned down Jeff's home and killed his dog Jack.)
With a bit of cajoling, Matt finally convinced Jeff to face him in the ring and they met at WrestleMania 25, where Matt came out on top in an Extreme Rules match. Matt would win their re-match, a stretcher contest, on SmackDown before he was drafted to Raw. The two would continue interfering in each other's matches, leading up to Backlash, where Jeff got the duke in an I Quit contest.
Afterward, Matt sported a cast for a hand he said was broken in the latter match. He still wrestled anyway, often using or attempting to use the cast as a weapon. The feud continued into Judgment Day, where Jeff was taking on Edge for the World title. Matt cracked Jeff with the cast, helping allow Edge to get the pinfall. Perhaps as a reward, Raw general manager Vickie Guerrero gave Matt a re-match against MVP for the U.S. title, but he was unable to best the champion.
Jeff Hardy bio and story archive
--- compiled by John M. Milner and Richard Kamchen
MATT HARDY STORIES
Aug. 22, 2011: Matt Hardy released from TNA
Oct. 15, 2010: Matt Hardy released by WWE
May 14, 2010: Matt Hardy Maritime-bound
May 29, 2008: Twist of Fate DVD takes split look at Hardyz
May 28, 2008: Retro review: Hardy Boyz memoir surprisingly inspirational
May 14, 2007: It's hard to be healthy: Hardy
April 21, 2005: Matt Hardy pulls no punches on Between the Ropes
April 12, 2005: Hardy thanks fans for their support
April 11, 2005: Rhyno and Matt Hardy released
June 16, 2001: Hardys speak out against 'backyard' wrestling
May 29, 2001: Boyz make some noise
March 28, 2001: Hardys pumped for WrestleMania