Jeff Hardy: Slowing down at 23
By GREG OLIVER, Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
He's only 23, but already the wear and tear on his body has forced Jeff Hardy to re-think his future in pro wrestling.
The Hardys: Jeff, left, and Matt.
Hardy knows that fans love his death-defying, high-flying moves but knows there's a change in his wrestling in the near future.
"I just kind of take it day by day because I know that I'm not going to be able to do this until the day I retire," Hardy told SLAM! Wrestling before the WWF show at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on October 28. "I'll eventually slowdown. My body's going to slowdown. It's in the process of slowing down now. I'm 23 and I hurt sometimes when I get up in the morning."
The pain becomes a regular part of life. "You adapt to this, but when you wake up you're going to hurt because we do this every night. It takes a toll on your body. I just hope that I can kind of ride it slow and not slow down as much."
Retirement isn't thirty years away, like most 23 year olds. Instead, Hardy is thinking already of retiring at "somewhat of an early age", while hopefully still being able to get around without a crutch or a wheelchair.
The Hardy Boys tag team -- Jeff and his older brother Matt -- are from Cameron, North Carolina. They wrestled around the local indy scene, before landing with the WWF on a full-time contract in 1998. They had an initial rough go of it in the WWF, and the fans didn't completely buy them against the bigger, rougher teams.
Michael 'P.S.' Hayes was given the task of managing the Hardys, and he quickly led them to an upset victory of the WWF tag team champion Acolytes.
It was a short title reign, however, and the Hardys found themselves chasing, and chasing, and chasing, the titles.
Now, thanks to their victories over Edge & Christian, they are three-time champions. "A year ago, we had an underdog upset against the Acolytes, back when we were with Michael Hayes and we were champions for like four weeks. Now
we're two-time champions. I means a little bit more. We're a little more
established," Jeff Hardy explained.
The last reign began with the Hardys under hoods as the Conquistadors. "That was a cool thing to be a part of and kind of a twist for the Hardy
Boys. We don't get to do much crazy stuff like that, so it was fun." Hardy admitted that he didn't remember much about the original Conquistadors WWF tag team from the '80s, which was comprised of Jose Luis Rivera and Jose Estrada. "I remember vaguely [watching the Conquistadors]," he said.
"Not like Edge & Christian. They remember every detail."
Jeff Hardy is tossed by Bubba Ray Dudley during at match at Toronto's SkyDome, March 3, 2000. -- Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun
Hardy said he is "totally" tired of wrestling Edge & Christian and the Dudley Boyz -- the other two top tag teams in the WWF right now.
"The Dudleys totally get tired. I totally get tired of hearing 'Jeff,
you've got to go through a table," he said laughing. "When we wrestle the Dudleys, it's a real battle because they're rough guys coming from ECW."
Up next for the champs is elevating some other teams. Raven and Tazz are one team. "If they get their heads straight, they might be alright," Hardy said of the two former ECW World champs. "They'll fit in. We actually had a good match with them a while back on Smackdown! They'll do alright."
The six-foot-one, 212-pound Hardy also praised some of the talent working dark matches right now. "There's some awesome talent coming.
One of the teams is the Dupps. "A lot of good things are going to come from them."
The other is the Haas brothers, which Hardy described as "two amateur guys, very much Kurt Angle-like. They're totally great."
Besides the constant pain that results from his chosen profession, Hardy is not a big fan of the travelling.
"It really gets to you sometimes. You get home, and sometimes
you're home for an evening and have to leave the next day. It's pretty
consistent though. We leave on Saturdays, and come home on Wednesdays,
where we have Thursdays and Fridays off. But right now, being the champions, the appearances are crazy."
Yet, it's all still worth it for Jeff Hardy. He's finally getting a real tag team title run, and the respect of the older, more established teams as well. What's the best thing in his life right now?
"Just the vibe of everybody loving you for what you do and just knowing
that so many people around the world can see you, look at you in a
superhuman-like aspect," he said with a big grin on his face.
Jeff Hardy bio and story archive
Matt Hardy bio and story archive