Examining Why WWE Fans Still Love Jeff Hardy After 20 Years
Jeff Hardy celebrated his 20-year anniversary as a WWE Superstar on Tuesday with a special segment in the ring while most of the roster watched from the stage.
Reaching two decades in a physical business such as pro wrestling is not an easy task, and Hardy didn't make things any easier for himself along the way with his high-risk style of offense.
Not only did he defy the odds to become one of the most popular Superstars, but he also managed to become one of the most decorated with 13 singles titles and nine Tag Team Championships to his name in WWE alone.
Nobody in the pro wrestling industry is universally loved these days, but Hardy is as close as it gets to being over with everyone in the WWE Universe.
Let's take a look at why people like The Charismatic Enigma so much.
His Career Started as a Teenager
Matt and Jeff Hardy's journey into the world of pro wrestling has been documented many times through interviews and DVDs, so everyone knows how young they were when they first began their own promotion in their backyard as teenagers.
Before he was even out of high school, Jeff was lying about his age so he could work as an enhancement talent for WWE on weekends.
He was a skinny blond kid who looked like he had no business in the ring with someone the size of Razor Ramon, but WWE officials kept bringing the young brothers back because they had talent.
After refining their skills, WWE signed The Hardy Boyz in 1998, and they began a two-decade journey to where we are today.
Unlike some athletes who pursue wrestling as a second option once their other career interests dry up, the brothers have never wanted to do anything else.
That kind of dedication and loyalty to the industry is something hardcore fans appreciate.
He's Not Just a Pro Wrestler
Hardy's main passion is pro wrestling, but he has also pursued other interests throughout his career to reach a wider fanbase.
He has made music with his band, Peroxwhy?gen, for several years and showcased his original paintings on some of WWE's documentaries about the Hardys.
On top of that, Matt and Jeff were two of the first wrestlers to use the internet to their advantage when they started making The Hardy Show in their spare time for independent distribution.
The show didn't always have a clear direction, but it allowed both brothers a creative outlet to share their lives with the fans who made them famous.
Giving people a look behind the curtain is a great way to connect with fans. The Hardy Show was not something WWE ever helped produce, but the company likely took notice of how well it worked to get them over.
He Has Been Open About Past Struggles
Hardy is living a clean life as a father, husband and WWE Superstar these days, but there were a couple of times when he was heading down a dark path.
His years struggling with substance abuse were recently touched upon during an episode of WWE 24 on WWE Network in addition to Hardy talking about it in numerous interviews over the years.
Watching someone you admire be so reckless with their health is hard, but seeing someone overcome those problems and come out better on the other side can be uplifting.
Many WWE fans have gone through their own personal hardships and being able to relate to one of their idols when going through the same thing can be helpful for a person's recovery.
The Charismatic Enigma's willingness to use his past issues in a new storyline with Samoa Joe is a sign he has made peace with that part of his life. Everyone loves a redemption story and few are as compelling as Hardy's.
His Style Is Exciting
The Hardy Boyz compensated for their smaller size early in their career by performing high-risk moves from the top rope, but they took things to another level once ladders entered the picture.
Matt ended up suffering a few injuries that forced him to adjust his style, but Jeff has continued to perform risky moves to this day.
Nobody wants to see him take an unnecessary dive and hurt himself, but it's hard not to stand up and cheer when he jumps off of a ladder, stage, production truck or anything else he can find with a high elevation.
When WWE eventually makes a Hall of Fame video package for him, narrowing down which stunts to include is going to be difficult because he has created so many highlight-reel moments throughout his career.
He Is Unique
You can look at almost any wrestler and find someone with the same look, attire and style of wrestling, but you can't do that with Hardy.
For one thing, Matt and Jeff both bucked the system in the 1990s by choosing to wrestle in baggy pants and shirts instead of standard trunks and tights. To this day, most performers choose spandex while the Hardy brothers opt for more comfortable attire.
Jeff didn't invent high-flying offense, but he made his own style by borrowing from several others. He wasn't the first person to paint his face, but his designs are unique and different every night. He might not do it these days, but he has dyed his hair every color imaginable.
Everything Hardy does is an extension of his artistic side. Even his facial hair is unique. He simultaneously appeals to the masses and those who consider themselves rejects, and that is not an easy thing to accomplish in the world of entertainment.
Why do you think Hardy is so popular and what did he do to make you a fan?