Since making their WWE debut some 20 years ago, Matt and Jeff Hardy have dazzled throngs of fans with their high flying gravity-defying maneuvers. Both Matt and Jeff Hardy were born to wrestle. Since they were young boys, they have been obsessed with the WWE – back then, WWF. Matt, three years Jeff's elder, was born in 1973 and by 1993, they were competing in local independent promotions. Matt barely 20, and Jeff a pimply-faced teenager.
It wasn't until 1998 that the WWE came a-knockin'...and suddenly they were in the big leagues. Admittedly it didn't begin with tables, ladders, and chairs with both beginning their WWF careers as "jobbers" – paid wrestlers who do little besides get their heads smashed by bigger, more well-known wrestlers. Such an honour, I know. Like in other sports and life in general, ascending to the top requires one to pay their dues.
There have certainly been rough times, bumps in the road, and in certain instances, dangerous experiences along the way (and I'm not talking about scripted stuff like ladder jumps through tables). The Hardy Boyz have lived life in the fast lane. Neglecting their own personal well-being is an act that unfortunately has extended outside the squared circle at times.
They will forever be two of the most bizarre and beloved personalities WWE has ever seen.
16 Matt: Dated WWE Diva Ashley Massaro
The elder Hardy is most known for his relationship outside the ring with Amy Dumas (ring name Lita). The two met a year into Matt's tenure with WWE, and eventually began dating. Unfortunately, they would break up after it was discovered that Lita was more interested in Adam Copeland a.k.a. Edge, with whom Hardy had several in-ring feuds. Safe to say that news turned the rivalry a lot more real. Shortly after the two split, presumably, sometime in 2005, Matt began dating Ashley Massaro.
Massaro won the 2005 Divas Search Contest. Though she had some encounters and feuds on screen, her WWE days were rather short lived with her and Matt dating only for a few months before circumstances caused them to go their separate ways. It's also worth mentioning that in 2016, Massaro joined a class action suit against WWE for hiding medical information regarding the risks associated with wrestling and the subsequent neurological ailments possible later on in life. It's also been reported that back during her active wrestling days, WWE officials convinced her to stay quiet about a harassment incident that took place while she was on tour in Kuwait. This could explain why she hasn't been seen in a WWE ring in a very long time.
15 Jeff: Band Frontman
If you've followed them at all through their careers, you likely know that Jeff is the frontman and vocalist of the band, PeroxWhy?Gen. The group has released three separate albums: Plurality of Worlds (2013), Within the Cygnus Rift (2015), and most recently Precession of the Equinoxes (2017). Shannon Moore, a WWF alumnus, is a former member of the band. As for the origin of the band's name, Jeff claims he came up with it one day while staring at an aerosol can. During the episode, which wreaks of something one would do while high, Hardy noticed the words peroxide and oxygen. Suddenly infatuated with both words he decided to combine them and arbitrarily add why? in the middle... you can't make this stuff up. Admittedly, in-depth details concerning the group are hard to track down.
Despite staying relatively off the grid, the band has been able to form a decent following and remain actively involved in creating music when schedules line up.
With Jeff now holding the United States Championship, conventional wisdom suggests his schedule will be filling up with title defenses with him now a target for other superstars in the locker-room craving gold of any form.
14 Matt: Third Time's A Charm?
Now from that heading you may have thought I was going to inform you that Matt has been married not once, not twice, but three times. However, that is not the road I was heading down... Between August and September, back in 2011, the elder Hardy found himself in trouble with the boys in blue three separate times. On two different occasions, Matt was nabbed for driving infractions, and the third team involved his property being searched as part of an issued warrant. During the search, authorities found a plethora of questionable things. And to think those were the Pre-Woke days.
As mentioned earlier, both of them have suffered through rough times with personal issues and their overall mental health. Some have claimed Matt once posted an online cry for help, though I couldn't confirm that. Past eras of wrestling saw performers receive little help or support in their respective battles with themselves. The passing of Chris Benoit caused wrestling to re-evaluate how it deals with these issues. While some may take issue with certain decisions the WWE have made over the course of its history, one cannot begin to take issue with how they have grown to better understand and support their talent through tough times.
13 Jeff: House Burnt Down
As I alluded to earlier, both Jeff and Matt have had their struggles with substance abuse and subsequently staying in the good books of WWE officials through the years. Back in 2008, Jeff was suspended for 60 days following his second failed wellness test. That same week, his house burnt to the ground – everything inside was lost including his dog, sadly. Neither he or his girlfriend was home at the time, so luckily there were no human casualties. For his part, Matt attempted to quell the flames but arrived too late and had to allow it burn itself out with it ultimately leaving everything charred. Given the amount of turmoil and tragedy that has been in the Hardys' life to this point, it truly is sad that this was added to the long list of sad events that affected this incredible wrestler.
Here's to hoping that inside future dwellings, Jeff remembers to install the required amount of smoke detectors and also double-check everything before leaving the house. No more leaving the turkey in the oven to cook while you're out running errands – and FORGET even thinking of having the dryer running while out. I can't stop thinking about that poor dog!
12 Matt: Woken Character A Collaborative Effort In The Writers' Room
Fans were, for a time, convinced that Matt had been given full creative freedom for his new Woken gimmick. In a recent interview, however, Hardy stated that it is instead a collaborative effort with WWE's team of writers – "Vince [McMahon] has got to have the final say. But, they have been very open and I have got to interject myself and obviously, I am the one who understands how this whole Woken universe or the Woken character or Broken character works, so it's definitely a collaborative effort." The character has been many months and years in the making and when Jeff suffered a shoulder injury, forcing him out of action, something needed to change to avoid Matt suffering from his brother's (and tag-team partner) absence – the creative minds had to find a new path for Matt to follow given that the Hardy Boyz tag-team was now missing half its allure.
Eventually, he became woke and entered into a feud with the equally insane Bray Wyatt.
The two would take turns cutting the creepiest promos your eyes could imagine culminating in Hardy defeating Wyatt at the family compound (the site of Jeff's return as well). Now Matt and Bray comprise The Deleter of Words tag-team and appear focused on winning the tag-team titles – though questioning their ability to set and follow through on goals is totally legitimate given their propensity to lose their minds at the drop of a hat.
11 Jeff: Kicked Off An Airplane
No, he did not look like that when he was asked to leave the flight... Waiting to fly out of Nashville, Jeff was asked by airline staff to leave a plane after he was seen stumbling down the aisle. Hardy admits that he had been out the previous night but had flown in the past, under far worse circumstances. Given his issues in the past, one might have suspected WWE, upon hearing the news, would have been extremely disappointed, quite possibly to a point where they'd consider cutting ties with Jeff for good. However, they were understanding and supportive.
The most frustrating part, according to Jeff, was the fake news that gained traction after the ordeal. Some websites claimed his girlfriend, Beth Britt, was with him – which she wasn't – and if that's not enough, the stories labeled her, and not Jeff, as the cause of the disturbance, claiming she was the one who had to be put in handcuffs to be removed. Said Jeff – "It does make me sick when — especially with me — anything negative, the Internet wants to highlight right away". Jeff's history certainly does not do him any favours in damage control scenarios.
10 Matt: Model Student
In high school, Matt was an excellent student. His grades made him eligible for many prestigious schools and awards, but he simply wasn't motivated and didn't apply himself to the level he should've. In his senior year, he was nominated for the Morehead Award, considered to be the most prestigious scholarship in the state of North Carolina. While he didn't win, to be nominated was enough of a honour – the winner of the award among other things was granted a free ride to the University of North Carolina, or get this...any school of your choice. I can't help but think there were conditions to that, but I can't know for certain.
Neither he or Jeff would pursue higher education along the traditional path, with Hardy even admitting that he doesn't feel college is necessary to success.
He has said "You can get all the good grades in the world, but that doesn't guarantee you a career in the real world..." Maybe not a career in wrestling, but certainly higher education helps provide those who choose it as a path with an expansive toolbox of knowledge that they'd otherwise not have if they opted to skip it. Different strokes for different folks, let's say.
9 Jeff: Grand Slam Champion (Elite Company)
Jeff Hardy is one of only nine wrestlers to hold the Grand Slam Champion label – the criteria is a tad complex. Despite being mostly known for tag team supremacy, both Hardys have had good runs in the singles game, though Jeff has captured more individual titles – more than quadrupling his older brother's total. I have it 13 to 5, presently. Today, Matt seems to be heading towards cooperative gold once again, teaming up with Bray Wyatt. Jeff meanwhile recently won the United States title by defeating Jinder Mahal. More than 20 years since making their WWE debut, both Matt and Jeff still remain two of the promotions biggest draws, resulting in them getting pushes like the ones we're seeing.
The tag-team days were a joy. But for all their brilliance, their watchability was aided by feuds with other iconic teams – Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz – it truly was a golden time for the tag-team division. Now, it makes sense for them to branch off and try something different, even if, in the case of Matt, that means simply changing partners. I'd say both paths are working out just fine to this point.
8 Matt: Skilled Costume Designer
Prior to wrestling professionally, Matt and Jeff took it upon themselves to create their own promotion. So with that, The Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts was born – OMEGA for short. The platform gave the brothers a chance to show off the skills that would eventually endear them to the WWE Universe – check out this short but chuckle-worthy promo cut by Matt, as seen on WCW's Amateur Challenge. Matt's OMEGA ring name was High Voltage and along with Jeff, they would build and take down the ring for every OMEGA show. And the work didn't stop there (the WCW by the way, without seeking Matt's permission, used the name "High Voltage" for a tag-team).
Along with ring building duties, Matt also sewed all the costumes for OMEGA. Eventually, the promotion folded having lasted only two years. Both Hardys had signed with the WWE and therefore OMEGA Wrestling would cease to exist. Despite having been around for less than a thousand days, OMEGA Championship Wrestling undoubtedly served as a launching point for both their wrestling careers. Who knows? Maybe they revive it in retirement, and try and find the next Team Extreme. They certainly have the work ethic to do it.
7 Jeff: Tattoos Have A Deep Story
I know it comes as no surprise when I say that Jeff has several tattoos. Perhaps the more surprising part of an otherwise obvious observation, are the details surrounding some of his markings. For starters, he has roots that begin at his neck and go all the way down to his fingers. He claims they are his connection to the planet, saying – "The roots that weave up my right arm and onto my neck are my way of connecting with the earth: the earth's roots carry water like a human's veins carry blood,". Credit to Jeff for resisting the urge of tribal markings (so overdone!) – don't believe me? Jeff even mentioned the commonality of tribal bands in an interview with WWE.com!
Another tattoo story involves a dragon he got when he was young, still living with his father.
Going against what he knew would be his father's wishes, Jeff decided to get the tattoo knowing if his father found out he would be furious – Gilbert Hardy was simply not a fan of ink markings, according to his fond-of-decals son. Gilbert would find out, and he would indeed be furious. Though I cannot help but think, over time, the senior Hardy has softened his stance on tattoos. Jeff certainly didn't stop at the dragon despite his anger and in a way, the markings of helped build Jeff's character and persona throughout his career.
6 Matt: Cut In Line For Lita
Matt and Lita's relationship wound up falling apart after she left him for Edge, this much most of us know. However, what is often forgotten is Matt should've suspected such an ending given the circumstances around how he and Dumas began their relationship. In 1999, while attending an NWA show, Matt witnessed Dumas in action – according to him, it was a "complete train wreck" – Despite the review, Hardy was impressed with her talent and willingness to push the limits of what one might expect from a female in the ring. Dumas is famously known for her aerial precision and fearlessness, most commonly seen in her love of moonsaults and flying hurricanranas. The NWA show saw all of it on full display.
The two eventually began hanging out, quickly developing an affinity for one another. It didn't take long for them to wind up spending a lot of time together, leading me to believe, well, you know... The problem is while Dumas and Matt were building the foundation of their relationship, she was the object of another man's desire. Matt, knowing the situation, offered to help her in any way as she had gone on record as saying she wanted to end it. All this to say eventually Matt's heart would be broken when she, reverting back to old habits, opting for a life on the edge... see what I did there? We all wished it would've turned out better, but it's not like the signs weren't there.
5 Jeff: Loves Vanilla Ice
With a haircut like that, it makes perfect sense. In the Hardy's book, Exist 2 Inspire, the brothers take readers on an in-depth ride through their life, starting at childhood. While there are many interesting tidbits of information in the book, I'm going to skip ahead a little in the book, bypassing the childhood years, to provide you with a fact that if you've been paying attention this whole time, you already know...
Jeff Hardy is a fan of Vanilla Ice. Maybe that doesn't surprise you, or maybe it does. For me, I was shocked when I read that as I didn't take Jeff for someone who'd enjoy Ice's jams. But alas, I sit here today and write to you, that I was wrong! Back to the book, I will say it is a worthwhile read if you're a fan of theirs. It's an easy read and as mentioned before really goes behind the curtain so to speak and lets you in on a lot of cool facts about their upbringing, finding the love for wrestling, starting their careers and the challenges they faced, and so much more. Recommended it for sure. And it would make a cool gift for someone as well – while you're at it, you might as well throw give them Ice's Greatest Hits Album too.
4 Matt: Wolfgang
Matt Hardy and wife, Ruby Sky, have two children. Two beautiful souls who will proudly carry on the Hardy name for generations... but one of them carries a truly unfortunate name, in my humble opinion – Wolfgang Xander Hardy. The other is slightly more digestible, Maxel Hardy. Hardy and Sky have gone through some struggles including both being arrested for assaulting one another in a hotel room – given Matt's experience in no holds barred settings, I wouldn't recommend picking a fight with him in an environment such as a hotel room. Though I do not know Ruby too well, perhaps she too is fond of the extreme rules lifestyle.
Getting back to the point of this entry, how, upon setting eyes on child number two, did they settle on the name Wolfgang?! I've tried digging for the info, but have had no luck. Still, as a family, they seem to be doing well since welcoming their newest member just last year. In an Instagram post, Matt promised he'd "always protect" his youngest boy. Well pardon me for saying this, but he might be busier than anticipated given he has signed up to defend a kid carrying the name, Wolfgang.
3 Jeff: Only 9 Years Old When He Lost Mama Hardy
Another topic of discussion in their book was the importance of Mother Hardy in the boys' lives. Ruby Moore, according to her two sons Matt and Jeff, was the perfect person. Kind and caring to others, did not drink or smoke – not saying that's bad – and was also a championship bowler. Described as being very athletic, the boys credit her for their athletic prowess and love of physicality. Unfortunately, in 1986, she was diagnosed with cancer. Matt, 12 and Jeff, 9, were still so young and now faced a high probability of losing their mother. Her battle would go on just shy of a year before she passed away, her husband and two sons by her side.
Both Matt and Jeff describe their feelings at the time as utter grief and sadness.
Neither could've ever imagined their family suffering such a tragedy. That sort of thing didn't happen to families such as theirs. They claim it was the first time they ever saw their father cry. My sincerest apologies for saddening the mood of this piece with this post. Let's get back to happy things, shall we?
2 Matt: Stole Undertaker's Hand Gesture Gimmick
I can't think of a wrestler I'd be more scared of upsetting than the Undertaker... Apparently, during a live show, Matt, before executing a top rope leg drop, placed his hands in a prayer pose. Well, it did not go over well with the Deadman. Upon returning backstage, he was greeted by the Phenom, who told Hardy that he, under no certain terms, was he to use that hand gesture again. He never a gave a concrete reason for issuing the warning though Hardy himself believes he was simply protecting something he considered valuable to his in-ring brand.
Eventually, the gesture Matt and Jeff would become best known for would be the fingers gesture. It just came to them as there's not really a cool story to explain its origins. Looking back on the encounter with the Undertaker, imagine if Matt had popped an attitude with him, and refused to shelf what he thought was his gimmick? Given that he chose to not do that is further proof of his high IQ, despite his belief that such a thing really isn't required to succeed. Perhaps not, but it certainly prevented him from DELETION(!) many years ago.
1 Jeff: Tobacco And Tree Forts
Living in rural North Carolina, in a little town of Cameron, Matt and Jeff grew up mostly with only their father in their lives. Gilbert Hardy was a tobacco farmer and put his boys to work from the start. Most mornings, he would wake them up at five in the morning, and the work day would last until the sun went down. If he saw either or both of them slacking off while it was still shining, there would be hell to pay, according to the brothers. When they were allowed to have free time, most of it was spent in the woods, of which there were plenty of. Their house was on land that had roots all the way back to 1919. Along with their home, the area also included a hundred acres of pinewoods – plenty of space to get up to no good.
In one instance, Jeff tells the story of him and Matt building a clubhouse deep in the woods, something they always wanted. Knowing they shouldn't be damaging the pine trees by nailing plastic to them, they decided to construct it a fair way into the woods in hopes that their dad wouldn't find it. Matt explained how, no matter what lengths they went to hide it, their Dad would always find their 'hidden treasures'... We'd go to the far corners of the woods, thinking, 'Dad'll never find us...Two weeks later, Daddy would get angry with us. "I thought I told you guys not to be nailing into those trees!" – Matt Hardy in his and Jeff's book, Exist 2 Inspire Indeed. He always found them.