WWE/TNA: The Hardy Boyz Timeline
In light of the recent events related to Matt Hardy's release from TNA, I thought it was timely to do an article going through the events and key dates in The Hardy Brothers careers that have shaped them.
I would like to state now that I was a big fan of the Hardy Boyz when I was younger and as I grew older my support never really lessened...until recently.
Nothing much else to say except there's a lot to get through so let's get started!
1994 to 1998: Debut
Two young boys in Cameron, North Carolina watched Wrestlemania IV on a small TV screen and placed a bet on who would be WWF Champion at the end of the night. The younger brother, Jeff, won the bet picking The Macho Man Randy Savage.
From that point on, the young boys became infatuated with professional wrestling and as teenagers started their own wrestling organisation called OMEGA with their friends (including future WWE and TNA star Shannon Moore), that the older brother, Matt, ran and sold to local wrestling promoters in order to pursue his dream.
Eventually, Matt was noticed by the right people and soon he was wrestling on live TV with his brother Jeff (who was 16 at the time). They started out as jobbers, who are wrestlers that are in matches to lose and make their opponents look good.
Both Matt and Jeff showed their athleticism during their time as jobbers and in 1998 they were given full time WWF contracts and were sent to train with Dory Funk Jr. at his Funking Dojo in Stanford, Connecticut.
June 29th 1999: The Hardy Boyz Win Their First Tag Team Championship
The Hardys were repackaged and started using an unorthodox, crusierweight, high flying, risk taking style which quickly made them popular. They became serious tag team championship contenders when they added Michael 'PS' Hayes as a manager.
On June 29th 1999 on Monday Night Raw, which aired July 5th, The Hardy Boyz won the WWF Tag Team Championships from The Acolytes, Bradshaw and Faarooq.
The brothers had lived out their first dream to be Tag Team champions together; Jeff has stated that if it all had ended there then that would've been fine because they only ever wanted to be Tag Team Champions.
Their first reign, though, was a short one, as they lost the title back to the Acolytes at Fully Loaded 1999, which was 26 days later.
Luckily for the Hardys this would be the first of many successes.
October 17th 1999: Hardys, Edge and Christian Steal the Show
This is the night that made four young men.
They wanted to steal the show at No Mercy 1999, in the first ever tag team ladder match in WWF, for the managerial services of Terri Runnels (Yes that's what the epic battle was over...New Jack and Dustin Runnels somewhere are laughing). Despite the lame prize, the match itself was phenomenal as the four young men reinvented the ladder match, making it suit their style.
The match was won by The Hardy Boyz and the next night on Raw, all four men were given a standing ovation by the crowd in attendance.
This match showed that these four men would be the future of the company and were future superstars in the WWF.
May 2000: Lita Accompanies the Hardy Boyz and They Form Team Xtreme
Amy Dumas aka Lita, debuted as the valet to the talented and unmemorable Essa Rios, where she would perform her signature moonsault and hurricana on Essa Rios' opponents after he won.
In May 2000, Essa Rios and Lita ended their relationship and The Hardy Boyz saved Lita from a beat down. With the addition of Lita, the Hardys formed Team Xtreme.
Team Xtreme were extremely popular (No pun intended), as well as being successful from 2000 to 2001, obviously in tag team competition and also in singles. Matt Hardy became European Champion, Jeff Hardy became Light Heavyweight and for a short time, Intercontinental Champion and Lita became the Women's Champion.
Team Xtreme also embroiled themselves in feuds with the likes of Test and Albert with Trish Stratus, The Radicalz and Right to Censor. But there were two feuds that were important for Team Xtreme's growth.
One was their feud with The Two Man Power Trip, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and Stephanie Mcmahon, the feud built on Team Xtreme's popularity turning them into main event stars for a short time.
But they had another more important feud.
2000 to 2001: The Hardys Feud with the Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian
This feud showed why at the time the Tag Team Division was the most exciting in the WWF.
Hardy Boyz played the face team that everyone wanted to see win. The Dudley Boyz played the tweener team who played faces that did heel actions. Edge and Christian played the heel team whose goofy antics gave them face reactions.
The three teams feuded near a whole year and a half, trading the Tag Team championships between them, letting another team have a run every now and then.
At Wrestlemania 2000, the three teams had a great Triangle Ladder Match that was the best match of the event. Jeff Hardy started his style of taking huge risks in a match to make the crowd pop big time, such as when he leaped off a 20 foot ladder to swanton bomb Bubba Ray Dudley through a table. Edge and Christian won the match.
The match was so good, they did it again at Wrestlemania 17, this time in the first ever TLC match. This match is actually my personal favourite of all time. The match also saw interference from Rhyno, Spike Dudley and Lita, along with many huge bumps through tables, chair shots to the head, falls from ladders, and Matt Hardy and Bubba Ray Dudley falling from a huge ladder through several tables.
The biggest spots were Jeff Hardy's swanton bomb and Edge's spearing Jeff Hardy whilst the latter was hanging onto the Tag Team Championships Belt. Edge and Christian won again as this match was a highlight on an amazing Wrestlemania.
December 2001: The Hardys Split for the First Time
At Survivor Series 2001, The Hardy Boyz lost a Tag Team Title Unification match to Dudley Boyz, thanks to Jeff Hardy trying to Swanton Bomb D-Von Dudley through a table. However, D-Von moved and Jeff Hardy crashed through the table.
Luckily for the Hardys, WWF stayed in business (in storyline). But Matt Hardy started to be upset with Jeff's risk taking and challenged Jeff to a match at Vengeance.
Lita was caught in the middle and was made the special guest referee in the match.
This event was important as it effectively ended Team Xtreme as Lita would break her neck and be out of action for a year. The Hardys reunited a month later at the Royal Rumble and continued taking on all comers in the Tag Team Division.
July 1st 2002: Jeff Hardy Challenges for the WWE Undisputed Championship
In a surprisingly great match, Jeff Hardy faced off against The Undertaker, who at the time was in his 'Big Evil' gimmick; they fought in a Ladder match for the WWE Undisputed Title. The match is memorable as it was Jeff Hardy's first shot at the World Championship.
The match itself started off with The Undertaker beating on Jeff Hardy for the majority until Jeff turns the tables and cracks The Undertaker over the head with some vile chair shots.
In a moment when the whole arena was on their feet, they watched as Jeff Hardy climbed the ladder looking up at the coveted prize, and we all prayed that he'd take that title down so we could witness a truly mark out moment.
Obviously, this was not Jeff Hardy's time to win a World Championship but we saw that Jeff Hardy was capable of being in the main event.
The most memorable moment of the match was afterwards, when The Undertaker came back to the ring and showed respect to Jeff Hardy by lifting up his arm.
February 23rd 2003: Matt Hardy Wins the Crusierweight Championship
After the Brand Split, Matt Hardy was moved to Smackdown while Jeff stayed on Raw. Matt had already turned into a heel after becoming jealous of Jeff's success in the WWE.
Matt started a gimmick where he dubbed himself 'Matt Hardy Version 1.0' and 'The Sensei of Mattitude' and recruited Shannon Moore as his 'MF'er;' the gimmick was successful and saw Matt Hardy really start to spread his wings and show himself to be the more solid performer of the two brothers.
At No Way Out 2003, Matt Hardy defeated Billy Kidman for the WWE Crusierweight Championship after working hard to shed the pounds to become a Crusierweight.
Matt had a successful 100 day reign as Crusierweight Champion.
April 22nd 2003: Jeff Hardy Released
Jeff Hardy was released from his contract on April 22nd 2003.
The reasons given for his release were Hardy's erratic behaviour, drug use, refusal to go to rehab, deteriorating ring performance, constant tardiness and no showing events.
A very long list there and it gets longer.
Jeff also felt burnt out from the hectic WWE schedule.
2004: Jeff Competes in TNA While Matt Hardy Goes to Raw
In 2004, Jeff Hardy tried out a small company in Orlando, Florida called Total Nonstop Action. He didn't do anything particularly memorable but all the big Jeff Hardy fans followed him there and TNA gained recognition.
As for Matt Hardy, his girlfriend Lita had recovered from her neck injury and asked for Matt to be brought over onto Raw. Matt eventually turned face and started a storyline with Lita and Kane where Kane had apparently impregnated Lita and wanted to marry her. (Kane has been involved in terrible storylines).
At Summerslam 2004, Matt Hardy and Kane fought for the right to marry Lita and Kane won. At their wedding, Matt Hardy saved Lita but was then Chokeslammed off the stage through some tables. He was written off TV to recover from a knee injury.
It was during this time that Lita and Edge, Matt's real life friend, engaged in a relationship whilst Matt and Lita were still together. Matt found out and to say the least he wasn't happy. (You could say he hasn't been the same since).
April 11th 2005 to July 11th 2005: Matt Hardy Fired, Returns and Feuds with Edge
After finding out about the affair between Edge and Lita, Matt Hardy took to the Internet and told everyone how he really felt. (Which is something that will come up again). On April 11th, Matt Hardy was released by WWE.
On July 11th, Matt Hardy was rehired and shown attacking Edge backstage on Raw in a segment that seemed real. Matt was announced to be back on August 1st after attacking Edge and Lita over the course of the month.
Edge and Matt then started a very personal feud that lasted for two months; during this time, both men showed themselves to be total professionals. Edge wasn't disciplined because at the time he was Mr. Money in the Bank, and about to become one of the golden boys of WWE.
Edge stated that this time was very personal and hard to get through, yet despite everything he still trusted Matt in the ring, even when he was on top of a Steel Cage ready to jump on him.
The highlight of this feud was definitely the promo via satellite between Edge with Lita and Matt Hardy, which at times sounded like they were shooting at each other.
August 21st 2006: Jeff Hardy Returns to WWE
On this day, a generation of young fans rejoiced happily as Jeff Hardy finally returned to the WWE.
Fittingly enough, Jeff returned and confronted Edge who was the WWE Champion and the man, who a year earlier had wronged his brother. Jeff beat Edge by disqualification. Jeff then set his sights on the Intercontinental Championship and in October, became a two time Intercontinental Champion after finally beating Johnny Nitro. The title was traded back between Nitro and Hardy making Hardy a three time champion.
Jeff stated his reasons for coming back as wanting to be a World Champion and putting right the wrongs he had in his life.
November 26th 2006: The Hardys Reunite on ECW on Sci-Fi
For the first time in almost 5 years, Matt and Jeff Hardy teamed up to take on the Full Blooded Italians.
WWE thought it best to take a big moment like a Hardy Boyz reunion and put it on an episode of ECW on Sci-Fi.
The Hardys would then revive their tag team and compete in matches against MNM. At Armageddon 2006, the Hardys inadvertently and legitimately injured Joey Mercury's face, which started an intense feud between the two teams.
April 2nd 2007: The Hardys Win the Tag Titles for the Last Time
At Wrestlemania 23, Jeff and Matt Hardy competed in the annual Money in the Bank Ladder Match and during the course of the match, Jeff Hardy once again did the biggest spot of the match.
Whilst Matt had Edge laid out on a ladder suspended between the ringside barrier and the ring, Jeff climbed a large ladder and jumped off, leg dropping onto Edgeand putting both men through the ladder. This was the first time we'd ever seen someone go through the ladder. The spot took both men out the match.
The next night, The Hardys were placed in a 10 team battle royal, (That's right there was actually 10 teams in the WWE at one point). They won after last eliminating Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
This started a feud between the Hardys and Cade and Murdoch which lasted two months.
The Hardys also had at Ladder match with The World's Greatest Tag Team which frankly should've been better.
September 7th 2008: Matt Hardy Wins the ECW Championship
After a great feud with Montel Vontavious Porter, Matt Hardy took time off with an injury. He returned, costing MVP the Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 24. The two fought again at Backlash where Matt Hardy won MVP's United States Title.
This was the start of Matt Hardy's push as he was moved to ECW after losing the US Title. He challenged Mark Henry for the title at Summerslam, which he won by DQ. He finally won his first World Heavyweight Championship...The ECW Championship (What? That counts).
Matt would go onto having a lengthy title reign until eventually losing the title to Jack Swagger on an episode of ECW on Sci-Fi.
Meanwhile, Jeff was up to his own things on Raw.
December 14th 2008: Jeff Hardy Wins the WWE Title
Jeff Hardy became a 4-time Intercontinental Champion after beating Umaga in September. This started Jeff's push into the main event which included Jeff beating Triple H at Armageddon, which made Jeff the number one contender for the WWE Championship.
Jeff had a short feud with Randy Orton, where Jeff leaped off the huge set on Raw, swanton bombing Randy Orton in one of the biggest swantons he has ever done. Jeff lost the match at the Royal Rumble, and it looked like he was set for going on to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 24.
However, Jeff failed the WWE's Wellness Program and missed Wrestlemania as part of his 60 Day suspension.
When Hardy returned he was drafted to Smackdown, where he was pushed again into the main event. Jeff would try again and again to win his first World Championship. He tried at Unforgiven in the Championship Scramble, he lost against Triple H at No Mercy and Cyber Sunday, and he was found unconscious as part of a storyline at Survivor Series to take him out the World Title match.
Finally, Jeff Hardy beat Triple H and Edge in a Triple Threat match to win his first World Championship and the crowd in attendance went completely mad.
Weirdly, on the Smackdown after, Jeff had a celebration where he had pyro and lots of confetti to go with his title victory, which showed how Jeff was favoured over Matt in WWE all their careers. Matt had to make do with the ECW Title and watch as Jeff rode his wave of success despite Jeff making the mistake of failing the Wellness Policy.
January 25th 2009: The Hardy Boyz Feud Starts
This was the moment when Matt turned on Jeff and cost him his WWE Championship and gave Jeff his first short reign. Matt had already failed to regain his ECW Championship and took his frustrations on feeling like the lesser brother out of Jeff with a steel chair.
Matt would go on to reveal that he was behind Jeff's stairwell attack at Survivor Series, the burning down of Jeff's house, the attempted hit and run on Jeff and the pyro incident that saw Jeff covered in fireworks. Matt would turn sinister and Jeff, at first, was reluctant to fight his brother until he brought up Jeff's dead dog which tipped Jeff over the edge.
At Wrestlemania XV, Matt and Jeff faced off in an Extreme Rules Match which wasn't as amazing as it should have been. There were inventive spots like Jeff sandwiching Matt between two tables and Matt giving Jeff a Twist of Fate while a chair is on Jeff's head. Matt picked up the win.
This led to a Stretcher Match which Matt won again, until finally Jeff beat Matt at Backlash in an I Quit Match where Jeff jumped on Matt putting him through a table and inadvertently breaking Matt's hand.
June 7th to August 23rd 2009: Jeff Hardy Feuds with CM Punk
After Jeff's feud with his brother, he fought Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules in a Ladder Match that Jeff Hardy won in a very good match, making Jeff a two time World Champion....for around five minutes.
CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase against Jeff Hardy at that moment and beat him with ease. Jeff invoked his rematch at The Bash where he won by disqualification. At Night of Champions, Hardy won the World Heavyweight Championship back from Punk becoming a three time World Champion, At Summerslam, Punk and Hardy fought in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match where Punk won defeating his nemesis.
The end of the feud came when Punk defeated Hardy on an episode of Smackdown in a Steel Cage Match, which meant that Hardy had to leave the WWE.
The feud was the hottest thing of Smackdown and Punk and Hardy were perfect enemies with their differing views and lifestyles. The feud launched Punk into a main event player and also made him a three time World Champion.
Jeff Hardy took a break from WWE to recover from injuries.
June 22nd 2009: Matt Hardy Has a Serious Injury Which Stops His Push
In a Triple Threat Match between MVP, Kofi Kingston and Matt Hardy, Matt Hardy suffered a serious injury where his intestines 'exploded' through his abdominal wall. Matt had suffered an abdominal tear 2 years earlier but didn't need surgery until it worsened and became a danger to his health.
Unfortunately for Matt, like his many injuries before, this came at the wrong time and resulted in his push being stopped and making him have to start over again.
Matt returned on August 7th to be a special guest referee between CM Punk and his brother Jeff for the World Heavyweight Title. He turned face again by counting his brothers pinfall and saving him from a post match attack by CM Punk and The Hart Dynasty.
This resulted in a 6 man tag match on the episode of Smackdown before Summerslam between CM Punk and The Hart Dynasty against John Morrison and The Hardy Boyz. This would be the last time that The Hardys would wrestle together in the WWE.
January 4th 2010: Jeff Hardy Returns to TNA
The episode of TNA Impact on January 4th 2010 was packed full of surprises, one of which was Jeff Hardy coming back to TNA with his friend, Shannon Moore.
This was a shock as Jeff had left WWE to pursue his many other interests and recover from his injuries.
It was also a shock as Jeff had been arrested for being in possession of a large amount of drugs which could potentially send him to jail.
I like to imagine WWE officials seeing Jeff Hardy appear on TNA on January 4th and thinking 'Phew! That's taken a weight off our shoulders'.
September 12th to October 15th 2010: Matt Hardy Sent Home from European Tour
On September 12th 2010, Matt Hardy was sent home from the WWE's European Tour for an unknown reason.
The weirdness then started when Matt Hardy made lots of videos on his Youtube Channel expressing his displeasure with the WWE product and insistence on wanting to be released from the company.
This carried on until Matt was finally released on October 15th 2010. So thankfully we no longer had to see Matt eat grapes.
Matt was always TNA bound.
October 10th 2010: Jeff Hardy Wins the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Despite an impending start to Jeff Hardy's trial and a possibility that Jeff may have to go to jail, Vince Russo cannot resist an opportunity to swerve.
On October 10th 2010, Jeff Hardy faced off against Mr. Anderson and Kurt Angle in a Three Way Dance for the Vacant TNA Heavyweight Championship. Jeff Hardy turned heel, aligning himself with Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, and hitting both Anderson and Angle with a crutch to win the title.
Hogan, Hardy and Bischoff formed Immortal with Abyss.
The angle didn't make sense but what Russo angle does?
Jeff Hardy's heel turn didn't shock like expected and wasn't successful as fans still wanted to cheer him.
January 9th 2011: Matt Hardy Debuts in TNA
Matt Hardy debuted a year after his brother in a move that shocked no one.
Rob Van Dam wanted a title shot against Jeff Hardy but couldn't face Jeff until he faced a mystery member of Immortal at Genesis.
Matt Hardy debuted and defeated Van Dam at Genesis and went on to do many unremarkable things, but something interesting did happen in that Matt received his first ever shot at a World title when he lost to Sting.
January 13th 2011: Hardy Boyz Reunite on TNA
This is what annoys me about TNA.
The week after Matt Hardy's debut in Genesis, TNA jump the gun and immediately go for the Hardy Boyz reunion without any warning and on free TV.
Matt and Jeff took on Mr Anderson and RVD where The Hardys won.
Not much else to say about this other than Russo is an idiot!
March 13th 2011: Jeff Hardy Wrestles in Bad Shape and Gets Sent Home
After Jeff Hardy had many trial continuances, he wanted to be shown to be on his best behaviour.
Thus, when Jeff Hardy took on his idol, Sting, at Victory Road, he wanted to have the best match possible and stayed focused.
However, Jeff Hardy isn't a professional. TNA wouldn't let one of their talents go out whilst intoxicated would they?
Of course they would.
So Jeff Hardy went out to the ring, stumbling along and he wrestled a 90 seconds match against Sting who quickly Scorpion Death Dropped Hardy and shoot pinned him.
The next day Hardy was sent home and hasn't been seen since.
June 20th 2011: Matt Hardy Suspended Due to Lateness
So imagine you're Matt Hardy.
You've been working with TNA for around 4/5 months and your brother just messed up bad and has been sent home and will probably have to go to rehab. What do you do?
Film you and your intoxicated brother shock your girlfriend with a stungun and put it on Youtube.
And to think I used to respect these two.
Matt Hardy was suspended for the stungun incident, and for being repeatedly late to TNA's tapings and shows.
August 20th 2011: Matt Hardy Released from TNA
You're Matt Hardy again. Your brother a few years back was arrested for being in possession of a large amount of drugs and has been arrested on intoxication charges and drug trafficking...so what do you do?
Drive your vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol or possibly drugs.
I think Matt Hardy may have tried to get the heat off his brother somehow.
Matt Hardy, days before, wrote on his Twitter that he was cleaner and happier in life and then he gets arrested. Obviously TNA doesn't look kindly on this and releases the dead weight that is Matt Hardy.
Here's a picture of the brothers in happier times.
So what does the future hold for Matt and Jeff? Can they return to WWE?
I don't think so, Matt Hardy burnt too many bridges with WWE when he brought out his negative opinions on the WWE product and Jeff Hardy really messed up by jumping ship without informing WWE.
Will Matt and Jeff be able to go back to TNA?
For Matt it's likely once his charge is sorted and the heat goes down. Jeff needs to go to rehab before he can go back.
I think the worst thing is that I really used to respect these guys as performers. Even when I knew of Jeff's drug issues I said 'People can live their life how they want' and I still believe that however, after Victory Road where Jeff Hardy really messed up he damaged any credibility in my eyes.
Jeff Hardy has always been popular with one main demographic which is kids, and for Jeff to let his young fans see him like that, it really makes me wonder who Jeff cares about more, the people who look up to him or himself.
As for Matt, he's always been the less popular Hardy, but he is a good worker. He's been plagued with injuries which have stopped any pushes he may have been getting. Matt always seemed like the more level headed brother, but now after his DWI arrest he's now just come across as a moron.
Both brothers have been plagued with bad luck out of their control such as Edge and Lita's affair and Jeff's house burning down, but there are people that go through these things and they don't self destruct like the Hardys have.
It's not all because of drugs, and if the Hardys have ever been clean to get past the Wellness Policy, they can be clean again.
Well that's the end readers!
Hope you've enjoyed this article and feel free to leave any comments you have about anything whether it's positive or negative.
I leave you with another Obscure Intercontinental Champion and this time it's The Franchise.
It's Dean Douglas who was Champion for 11 minutes after getting the title after Shawn Michaels was injured after being attacked at a night club, but he immediately lost it to Razor Ramon.
The Franchise Shane Douglas went from NWA/WCW to WWF Back to WCW to ECW to Back to WWF to Back to ECW Back to WCW then to TNA.
He was indecisive!