Entertainment

Jeff Hardy: No holds barred

Jeff Hardy at Survivor Series 2021

Jeff Hardy at Survivor Series 2021

Earlier this month, wrestling legend Jeff Hardy was released by the WWE, leaving fans wondering what the future holds for the superstar, who defined the brand once upon a time.

Jeff, along with his brother Matt, was instrumental in WWE’s growth internationally, as generations of fans tuned in every week — and flocked to live arenas — to watch The Hardy Boyz perform a series of high-risk stunts and up the ante as an iconic tag team. Their ladder matches with the likes of The Dudleys and Edge-Christian are the stuff of legend even today.

Last month, we got a chance to catch up with Jeff in person at Survivor Series 2021 in New York, where the multi-time world champion spoke about how much it still means to him to perform consistently at the age of 44. “It’s all about the live audiences for me; the natural adrenaline I get from them is incredible. Coming back to perform in front of them after the pandemic has been great. That gives me the motivation to jump off a ladder or try something risky in the ring. To be a WWE superstar at this point in my life… it’s all about keeping the audience entertained.”

The musician and author (he even wrote a NYT bestseller) also reminisced of his time in India, when he last visited a few years ago. “I remember I was in an outdoor arena in Delhi, I think… and there were people outside on top of trees, trying to catch a glimpse of us. The atmosphere and fandom were absolutely unbelievable. I even met a face-painter who said he loves my art (Jeff paints his own face before walking out into the ring each time) and his work was better than mine!” he recalls.

Jeff Hardy: ‘I let my actions do the talking’

Jeff Hardy: ‘I let my actions do the talking’

Jeff left WWE in 2009 to be a part of Impact Wrestling (then TNA), but returned to WWE in 2017 at WrestleMania 33. Though he struggled with substance abuse issues in the past, the star has since spoken out about his sobriety and WWE even made the transformation part of his in-ring storylines; an act that endeared him further to audiences.

“I’m naturally a pretty shy guy; you won’t see me talk too much in the ring or outside it. That’s why I love my song so much — No More Words — that plays every time I walk out. It’s perfect for me; I let my actions do the talking,” he smiles.

While Jeff seemed to be getting ready to take his shot at the Universal Championship against current holder Roman Reigns (something he admitted he was excited about), now his break from WWE could see him join hands — yet again — for one last hurrah with his brother Matt.

“In pro-wrestling, contracts get done and the future is always uncertain. I think we got it in us to team up one more time... but where is the question,” he grins and signs off.

Watch WWE SmackDown LIVE every Saturday at 6:30 am (IST) on SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Telugu & Tamil) channels


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 9:38:33 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/jeff-hardy-no-holds-barred/article38018506.ece