by Phil Speer @ WWE.com
SEATTLE – Aug. 12, 2002 – The truth is that all of the Hardy Boyz expressions – “Live for the Moment,” “Team Xtreme” – apply more to Jeff Hardy than to older brother Matt.
There really is a difference between the two; unfortunately, many fans haven’t had the opportunity to see it.
“To this day, people will call Jeff ‘Matt’ and Matt ‘Jeff’,” Matt said. “It’s two four-letter names that have double consonants at the end.”
Matt added that it’s been particularly difficult for the Hardy Boyz to develop their own identities because, from Day 1, fans have seen them as a tag team. Superstars like Edge and Bradshaw, on the other hand, competed as singles competitors before they were in a tag team.
None of this is an issue for the tag team of the Hardy Boyz. After all, Matt can still be “Xtreme,” so fans view the tag team as such. But when Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy attempt to be singles stars, it can be a bit problematic, particularly for Matt.
Just after the brand extension came injuries to Kane, Lita, Diamond Dallas Page and many others. Stone Cold Steve Austin left. The Rock works a part-time schedule. WWE suddenly needed new singles stars, and fast.
“The whole scenario is that the way we’ve been looked at as extreme,” Matt said. “Jeff mirrors that a little bit more than me.”
So Jeff has been getting an opportunity to contribute on RAW – and justifiably so. But because, as Matt himself put it, many people get the two confused, WWE officials have been hesitant to have both superstars compete at different times in the same show. That means that for the last several weeks, Jeff has appeared on the flagship show, RAW, while Matt has been confined to HEAT.
For Matt Hardy, whose goal is to be WWE Undisputed Champion, that’s unacceptable.
After Matt hit his brother with the Twist of Fate on RAW, costing Jeff his match against Rob Van Dam, the tag team that Matt calls the most popular of all time comes to an end. Matt said he’ll always be proud of the fact that he and his brother came from nothing to achieve something. They were the first tag team ever to have their own DVD, their own magazine and their own book, he said.
“I can look back on that and that will always be special,” Matt said. “As huge of a fan as I am of the Hardy Boyz – the biggest one, and I hate to see it end – in so many ways, we’ve done everything we can do.”
Now it’s time for them to each do in singles what they did together as a tag team.
“The only way to (do that) is it to tell people, ‘Hey, this is it,’” Matt said, explaining the reason for attacking Jeff. “’It’s time for Jeff to be Jeff and for Matt to be Matt.”
Matt has been using a new hand-gesture lately. He extends his index, middle and pinky fingers to form a V and a 1. It stands for Matt Hardy “Version 1,” which represents his true personality.
“People have got to see Jeff’s personality,” he said. “They’ve never got to see the true Matt Hardy.”
While Jeff loves wrestling, Matt absolutely lives it. Jeff spends his time recording music, building aluminum monuments in his front yard and occasionally jumping over them with his motorcycle. Matt has one hobby: wrestling. He says he easily watches three times as many tapes as even the most devoted fans.
“It’s just not Jeff’s heart and soul like it is mine,” Matt said. “It’s more than just my job, it’s my life. It consumes everything. That’s how much I love it. On my own, I can convey that message and people will understand it.
“Whether people like me or whether people don’t like me, they’ll definitely learn to respect me for my passion and drive and what I do to entertain them. Whether I was World Champion or a jobber, I would still have this passion inside me. It burns within. All that stuff makes up Matt Hardy.”