To wrestling fans, Jeff Hardy needs no introduction. Known as “The Charismatic Enigma,” Hardy spent the better part of his life chasing a dream. His story started simply enough — a small town boy who wanted nothing more than to prove himself in the squared circle. His journey in one of the worlds most grueling industries has been nothing short of a wild roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Along the way, Hardy established himself as one of the most accomplished superstars in professional wrestling history and captured the hearts of millions of fans around the globe on his rise to super-stardom! To hear him tell it, he is just warming up! Icon Vs. Icon‘s Jason Price recently caught up with this legendary performer to discuss his amazing career, the recent rumors regarding his health, his excitement about what the future holds and what he has in store for his fans in the years to come!
Fans can tune into IMPACT every Thursday at 9 PM on Spike TV. Definitely do not miss Sunday’s “Turning Point” Pay-Per-View to catch Jeff Hardy in action! Visit the official site at www.impactwrestling.com for all the latest news and updates!
You are making your return to TNA Impact Wrestling full-time. How has that experience been for you in these first few days?
I’ve been really fortunate to have such support from the fans, even going back to when I first came back in Knoxville. I’ve always been real fortunate with that and I think I’ve always given the fans a lot, so I always get a lot in return. I think people have respect for me. Macon was great. It’s really good to get out of the Impact Zone every now and then to get to these fresh, bigger crowds, especially for TV tapings, so I think it was phenomenal … I think that we are on a great roll in TNA and I am very excited about the future.
Did you ever have any doubts about returning to the ring?
No. I don’t think I ever really had any doubts. I think that wrestling will always, in some way, be a part of my life. Going way back, there was actually some doubt. After my arrest, I was like, “Oh my God! My life is over!” I had those initial fears. I was crazy and really intense. As time passes, you move on with things and, like I said, professional wrestling is always going to be a part of my life. There was probably a little bit of doubt but not full throttle. I always knew that wrestling would be in my life.
Can you give us an update on your recent legal battles over the past year?
Yeah. It’s over. I have done my 10 days and I am on intensive probation right now and it is cool that I am still able to work. I have a curfew when I am at home and I have to be in by 6 o’clock and I can have no company after that time. I am two months into that today, so I have four months left. Then I will have three months of regular probation, so I have moved on. It was a dark time in my life and it was a lot of stress but I feel better than ever to be over that.
How do you think the media treated you in the coverage of those proceedings?
Ya know, it was horrible. The local newspapers around here are just ridiculous. Throughout the couple years it took before I finally got my judgement, the front page was all Jeff Hardy. The same old story, the same old charges. It got really old. I will never forget my dad would come out and say, “Oh look! You’re on the front of The Pilot again!” It was just so unnecessary. It’s gotta be because we are a couple of local guys who made it big in professional wrestling and they just have to keep bringing it up. That is just one reason why I will never give those guys an interview. They just kept throwing me on the front page. I didn’t like it one bit but I don’t hate anybody for it, I just don’t think it was right.
You have always been known for a very physical style and death-defying aerial moves. Do you find it has become easier for you through the years or is it more difficult now as you grow older?
I think it is a lot easier now to be Jeff Hardy. With the live events that we do, we interact with the fans and that is so important, especially to my fans when they do get a moment to vent with me. Going out there with “The Whisper In The Wind” and “The Twist of Fate,” while I might not do it all out there, it has been really easy. When I have been doing pictures in the ring after the match, everybody has said, “That was a great match!” So, I think at this point in my life it is easier but I am 34 years old and by now I should have the Swanton down pat! But the last night in Caanda, I went to hit Bully Ray with it and overshot it just the right amount! When I do that, my lower back always smashes into the mat! I am pretty sore right now but up until then I have been feeling extremely well because I haven’t been doing as much as I used to back in the day but I am still doing enough and getting to spend time with my fans, which I think is more important than anything!
Do you think we will see your brother, Matt Hardy, back in professional wrestling in some capacity in the future?
I can’t really say but, deep down, I know that Matt has always wanted to open up a wrestling school. I think it is the one thing that he will be focusing on, more than anything. He’s been beat up but I don’t know, anything is possible. He has such a great mind for professional wrestling. He would make a great agent. I think that professional wrestling is something that he will always want to be involved in, he loves it even more than I do. So he’ll be in it, I just don’t know if it will be here, there or I am not sure where but I think the first thing that he is going to focus on is his own wrestling school.
How has becoming a father impacted your life?
I take better care of myself these days in and out of the ring. I try not to be as insanely crazy as far as going out there and not caring if I take all of these chances. I try to be more smart about what I do in the ring. Outside of the ring, being a father has helped me dramatically in my personal life. I work out more now than I ever have in my life with the weights and I run every morning. That is what I am doing for myself to stay in shape for TNA and for my life.
When you bring a life into this world, you have to think about the long term. I have a little girl who just turned a year old, so I have to do everything in my power to stay healthy and in good shape, me and my wife. She just turned a year old and has a lot more birthdays to go, so that is all I think about now. I want to stick around to watch her grow up and do all of the good stuff that life has to offer. I think about that everyday and that is why I have toned down everything that I do in the ring. It has changed my life.
It looks like you haven’t missed a step, but how has it felt to be back in a TNA ring?
I’ve been doing really well. We just got back yesterday from doing four live events in Michigan, Dayton, Ohio and Canada, and we had four great shows. Physically, I’m in really good shape. I run every morning, I work out more than I probably ever have in my whole life, so every thing’s extremely positive and I think that’s playing a big part in the way I feel in the ring. I feel awesome. Each match I’ve had since I’ve been back has felt really good. I’m excited about my future.
To what do you attribute your longevity in the very grueling industry of professional wrestling?
A lot of luck! I just got back off the road yesterday and I had wrestled Bully Ray every night. We were sitting back, talking about how lucky we have been because neither one of us has had to have surgery yet. Knock on wood! I really think that it has a lot to do with luck and I am extremely lucky. Overall, being nice and kind is something that I think goes a long way too in some sort of spiritual manner. So yeah, I have been extremely lucky and that is all I can say!
As a career wrestler, what is the best piece of advice you would give to someone looking to make wrestling their livelihood?
What I always say is, “Don’t worry.” Don’t ever worry about trying to get all of your stuff in offensively. Go out there and be proud, don’t be afraid to take a beating, what we call selling, and make sure you shine when you sell. I have always taken that very seriously, way more seriously than my offensive maneuvers. Just go out there and get your butt kicked and worry about your comeback later. It is an art form. Just go out there and don’t worry about being on top all the time. When you are on the bottom, make sure you look good doing it. I would also say be original more than anything. Be original and be different and that is hard because so much has been done before in professional wrestling. That is why it is so challenging now but these young guys are out there doing it! They are doing some stuff that I never thought that I would witness!
For what you said, it seems you definitely have your eyes on the future. Your career has so many defining moments already, I was curious if there is something you haven’t yet accomplished in the ring you want to tackle in the future?
Not really. Ya know, winning the World Championship title was the big one. I have been World Champion seven times but one thing I want to do before I start giving it up, and I don’t know when that is going to be and I don’t put a date on it, is to start doing the springboard again. That is the challenge that I have set for myself. [laughs] It hasn’t went too well so far! I have just been practicing it at this point and I am still working on it. There are two new moves that I have in mind that include the springboard and I haven’t been able to pull it off smoothly enough yet to do it on TV. That is one thing that I would like to start doing and doing it comfortably. That is my focus right now.
Your work as a musician seems to have played a big role in keeping you grounded through the years. Is a career in music, after your life in the ring, something that will play a bigger role in your life?
Yeah, it is a huge part. We were in Toledo on Saturday night and Junior, my guitar player, is from Cinncinatti. We ran through all of our songs and it was so much fun to get together with him again because we have been so far apart and it has been difficult to get together. Hopefully, through TNA, we will do the first Peroxwhy?gen album with him producing. That is definitely something I want to do because I love it so much. Even with my new theme song, when I got the instrumental, I wrote it at the Impact Zone in Orlando. Then I came home and recorded the vocals dry. Once you have recorded it and play it back and you really like it, you get this glorious feeling about what you have just created. So yeah, definitely, I want to do something with music. First and foremost would be Peroxwhy?gen’s album. Hopefully, that will happen before I am done wrestling!
Do you feel there are any misconceptions out there about you that need to be put to rest?
I don’t know if there is one. I mean, I am sure there are many but I am not one to worry about what other people think about me. I feel really good about what I am doing now. Whatever those misconceptions might be, I really don’t care.
I know you have done a book in the past with your brother but do you have any interest in doing some sort of solo autobiography in the future?
Definitely! I have thought a lot about that and there is plenty of material. When I was in jail, I kept a really cool journal that has a lot of cool sketches and all kinds of other cool stuff that would be perfect for my solo book. That is a definite in the future as well.
Thanks so much for your time, Jeff. All the best to you in your future endeavors!