Q&A with Jeff Hardy
I sat down for an interview yesterday afternoon with WWE star Jeff Hardy at the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, where he was making a personal appearance to promote Smackdown’s move to MyNetworkTV (WUTB-24 in Baltimore) beginning tonight. Hardy is scheduled to wrestle Triple H for the WWE title this Sunday at the No Mercy pay-per-view.
To say you had a difficult week last March would be a huge understatement. Now that six months or so have passed, can you talk about what it was like to go through the suspension and your house burning down in the same week?
Well, first of all, I have titled that the saddest day of my adult life — by far. The night I lost the Intercontinental title I had been suspended, which is to everybody’s knowledge now because I have been very open about that, and then that Friday night I lost everything, and the saddest thing is I lost my dog Jack. You hear about fires all the time, but then you experience it, man, it’s just like, “Wow, this really happens to people.” It’s a night I’ll never forget, naturally. A week or so later I found Jack’s body in the ruins. I got a little closure to that and cried a lot, was sad a lot and had bad dreams. When I came back we actually made that somewhat of a story line, but I was confident enough in myself and with Beth and everything that we got past that. You know, you can’t just die with everything you lost. You have to live for what you lost. So that’s what I’m doing now and everything’s much better. Our new house is under construction. It’s looking great, and hopefully by spring we’ll be in there. Thank God I had Matt, because if I didn’t I’d be renting an apartment somewhere. Matt’s been very cool to have open arms and invite us into his home.
How much did the support of your fans help you get through it all?
Actually it’d blow your mind, man, to see what’s still in Matt’s basement to this day. Naturally, people wanted to send clothing, memorabilia, stuff like that. Once Matt put that address out on his myspace, it was just a flood — every day we had to go to the post office. Beth was the one to go through all that. It was just amazing how much response we got — how many actions figures, how many clothes. It might not have been my certain style, but just the care that was there and the meaning behind it. It’s amazing the support I had from the fans. Even today, man, seeing such a foundation right in front of me of all these humans that are behind me, it’s just very motivational.
How difficult was it for you not to be at WrestleMania, because you were supposed to be an integral part of it. Did you even watch it?
It’s so strange, you know, because I was going to be a huge part of that in the Money in the Bank match, and Matt was hurt at the time and he was able to return at Mania, so, naturally, I watched it. I would have watched it anyway because I’m a huge ladder match fan and just to see how good the match would be. In a sense I was kind of sickened by the whole thing. But I did something wrong according to the Wellness Policy and I had to pay the price. So here I am on my last strike right now, and one more and I’m out, so I’m just trying to keep it all good. As far as WrestleMania goes, as angry or sad as I was that I missed it, I also was supposed to take part in an art show down there. I think Jerry Lawler was in it as well. I missed out on that just over what to me was a small mistake, but to them it’s huge.
Can you talk about the recent incident at the Nashville airport, when you were denied boarding a flight?
Oh, of course. That was extremely blown out of proportion. So many wrestlers drink at times, and I had been drinking a lot that night. I’m not going to lie — I’ve been on planes a lot drunker than that. There was nothing rude done; I wasn’t violent or anything like that. I guess I was stumbling boarding the plane or something, and somebody must have just said that I was drunk, because I was asleep on the plane. This is Southwest, you know, open seating and everything. The first thing I remember is just waking up and security — it wasn’t police, it was security — saying, “Mr. Hardy, you have to get off the plane. We feel you’ve had too much to drink.” Matt got up and was like, “What’s the problem?” They were like, “He’s had too much to drink.” I go, “I was asleep. I’ll wake up in Raleigh. I’ve been like this before.” But I just cooperated and left the plane.
Do you think the company lost any confidence in you over the incident?
No. Right away, once I got home I called who I needed to call and just told them what happened. It does make me sick when — especially with me — anything negative, the Internet wants to highlight right away. One [site] actually said that Beth was with me and she was the one that was too drunk and she was handcuffed. I was never handcuffed. There were these crazy things like, “He got caught with contraband.” It was nothing like that.
Your brother Matt is enjoying the best run of his career. Is there a friendly rivalry or competition between the two of you?
I think with him more than me. Whether I ever become WWE champion in my career, I’m proud of what I’ve done. If this weekend was my last match, I would be extremely proud after looking back and seeing everything. Matt is more the competitive type. I think he probably feels a little supreme that he became a heavyweight champion before I did. It’s in ECW, but I’m sure he feels a little like he’s ahead of the game when it comes to brotherly competition, but I’m nowhere near as competitive as he is. I’m just very proud of him, and maybe I can do the same. We’ll see.
You’re known for doing incredible high-risk maneuvers. I’m curious as to how the process works. Do you present an idea for a big move, such as the Swanton off the scaffold with Randy Orton, to creative, or do they come to you and ask if you would feel comfortable doing something?
Most of the time they’ll come to me with the idea — even that [Swanton] was suggested. There’s been things that have been suggested that I’ve turned down — I’m like, “I don’t feel confident doing that.” Any time it’s a Swanton, I’m confident. But if I feel I can’t do it, I won’t do it. The one to Randy Orton was pretty crazy, man, because that was extremely high. And even the one off the truck to Umaga was creepy, too. Anybody that would go out there and check out the setup themselves would say, “Wow, it takes a lot of nerve to do this.”
You said that you have turned down things that have been suggested to you. Have you ever come up with something and Vince McMahon or someone said, “No, that’s too dangerous”?
One thing that stands out is when Brock Lesnar was still with us, I had this idea of somehow Paul Heyman would be laid out near the middle of the ring, but Brock would be underneath the turnbuckle I was jumping off of . And I’d go to Swanton Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar spears me in the air while I’m upside down. They said no. I was like, “My momentum’s going that way anyway. I feel confident in it.” But they were like, “No way.” I needed a couple action figures just to show it to them.
When I interviewed you back in January, you said that you don’t practice high-risk stunts, you just do them in one take. How do you know you can pull them off before you do them?
They put a lot of faith in me. I’m like, “Nah, I’m doing that one time and one time only. If it goes wrong, it goes wrong, but, nevertheless, it’s going to be on TV so it’s got to be good.” But, yeah, they just have faith in me, especially with any kind of Swanton. As many as I’ve done over the years, they have confidence that I can get it done.
Do you feel like Sunday’s match against Triple H at No Mercy is the biggest of your career? And do you feel like you have something to prove?
No, I don’t think I have anything to prove to people. But I know in most people’s eyes they think I have to get the WWE championship to prove that I’m No. 1 or whatever. Naturally it would be nice to become WWE champion, especially for all my fans that have always waited for that, but, yeah, I think it probably is the biggest match of my career. When I wrestled Randy Orton, that was probably the biggest match of my career at that point, because that was when I had the other shot at the WWE championship. Here I am again in another scenario for the WWE championship, and we’ll see.
Do you have a favorite match or favorite moment from your career?
I’d say all those TLC matches, but probably the most memorable one for me — I think it was in Raleigh. It was the first time anybody had ever hung from the rings — that was my idea. I even tried to do it in the first ladder match that we had, because I had that in my mind, but the rings weren’t strong enough to hold a body. But just to pull of something like that that comes from your brain is always spectacular for you because you’re like, “Wow, I thought this up and we brought it to reality.” It was me and Devon [Dudley], and it was just an awesome spot. I’ll never forget the feeling. Everybody just went, “Whoa! What is going on? This is crazy.”
Is there anybody that you haven’t worked with that you would like to?
Yeah, Rey Mysterio. I’ve tagged with him before. During the draft it was kind of a bummer because when he went to Raw I was like, “Yeah, me and Rey are going to get to tear it up.” I had no idea I was going to Smackdown. Then when I got drafted I was like, “Oh well, throw that out the door.”
Another question I asked you in January was whether you had any interest in having a feud with Matt. You said that you did and you’d like to wrestle him at WrestleMania XXV. Is there any chance of that happening then or some other time in the future?
Yeah, for sure. Matt and I both are big fans of Bret Hart-Owen Hart feud matches. I remember us being brothers and watching brothers wrestle on pay-per-view and were like, “How cool would that be?” Matt and I wrestled each other all the time back in the OMEGA days, so how cool would that be for us to be wrestling each other [in WWE]? I’m sure a lot of people would like to see that, too. I know people always say, “Nobody wants to see The Hardy Boyz fight,” but if it was done right, it could be phenomenal.
Any final thoughts before we wrap up?
Just watch MyNetwork TV tomorrow night (laughs).
Yes, that’s why we’re here, right?
Yeah, it’s like a recorder that’s broken in my head because I’ve said it so many times.
OK, I’ll set you up with a question. Do you feel like going to another network is a fresh start for Smackdown?
Yeah, it’s kind of exciting. I remember back in the day when Raw switched channels; it’s always exciting to try something new. Even now on Smackdown I’m more comfortable than I was at first. It has become my place to do my thing. So, yeah, if I switch brands, why not switch channels?
Photo courtesy of WWE