Ryan Rider was joined by Jeff Hardy this week on MainEventRadio.com for a personal and revealing interview. Here is a recap:
What have been your favorite memories working for TNA Impact Wrestling?
For sure it was coming back after Victory Road 2011. 2012 was the best year of my pro wrestling career. Being clean and straight up. Looking great, loving life. 2012 was huge with me, every match. Winning the World title in a killer match-up against Austin Aries. The #1 year for me.
Victory Road 2011. I would assume that that had to be the worst night of your career.
I was too f***ed up to even try to get through the match. You see yourself on video, not knowing how bad you were. It’s embarrassing; it’s terrifying watching yourself. Me seeing myself in that shape devastated me. A huge let-down for the fans. Everything that was bad in me pretty much died that night.Thank G-d they didn’t fire me that night. After Victory Road, that was a huge eye opener. I had a huge decision…I had the chance to do a 120-day outpatient rehab. It was good for me. It saved me.
When you came back later that year, how did it feel to be forgiven and embraced by the fans?
When I returned I had to go and apologize to everyone in the locker room. I could barely talk, it was horrible. I went in there and went through it, begged for forgiveness. I begged everyone for one last chance. I came out of that whole situation better than ever.
Recently you were portraying the character of Willow, which we know you’ve done in the past – What brought Willow back in TNA?
We through it around maybe my 2nd or 3rd year. But my hair was cut short and I had to grow it longer for the character to work. One of my best friends, Shannon Moore, his wife made me this awesome mask for it. But it just wasn’t the right time for it. Me and Jeff Jarrett actually talked about it. Some time went on and then I had some time off in January and February this year. Then they called me and I tried to get it ready really quick. Try to develop my approach to the character. Debuted at Lockdown, lasted awhile, and was pretty cool as far as I’m concerned. It will be around, basically as a part of Jeff Hardy’s imagination.
Reuniting with your brother Matt, the Hardy Boyz.
It was great. Matt’s been doing his own thing on the indies and Ring of Honor. I’ve been doing my thing in TNA. He went through his own dark period too. Now both of us are on the other side of that.
Who he would like to work with:
The Wolves, I saw them in ROH and I thought these guys are special, crazy talented. There are so many young talents. We will work with anybody. Devon’s back in TNA. We’re older now and we have so much history with Team 3D. So amazing considering what we’ve put our bodies through and still going out there and doing what we do.
Do you plan on bringing back the TLC match/Full Metal Mayhem (as it’s known in TNA), maybe at BFG vs the Wolves & 3D?
That would be a crazy main event and a definite show-stealer and is entirely possible.
You recently had a world championship shot against Bobby Lashley. You did a Swanton Bomb and landed directly onto the steel steps. You’re now 36, I’m thinking that your body doesn’t heal as quick. Why put yourself through such risks?
People have texted me while watching Impact saying that I look great. I wish I felt great. It was rough after that match and I had to tape a few more days. I’m so blessed to be in TNA. I can go hard for 3-4 days then I have 2 weeks to heal. I see a chiropractor 3 times a week. I work hard then I go home to heal then I go hard again.
My mentality will probably never be right. Each time I go out there and wrestle I think it could be my time, my luck could run out. Luckily I still have a little in me.
I’m going to let my body decide. If I feel the same way I do in 5 years from now I will still keep doing what I’m doing right now.
If you could go back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself, what would you say?
Don’t f*** up man. You know better. Don’t let a substance control you. There’s a long road to recovery and it’s crazy how long it took me to get it. I basically say get it now before it’s too late. Thankfully it never became too late; I never died. But I let the substances control me.
TNA TV deal thoughts:
I hope in 2 years you’re still watching me on Spike every Thursday night. I love being on Spike. I hope they work something out in their negotiations. They use me for my talents and I show up and do the best that I can. It’s not up to me to make that decision, out of my control and I just hope for the best. Ultimately, I would love to remain on Spike.
You current goals, as a singles competitor and as a tag team?
I’m not sure if Matt wants a long-term deal or not. As long as he is around we will team. We’ve both got great solo careers also. To win the world title again would be great but I just want to do the best I can. I want to make Jeff Hardy and Willow work in the “3 faces of Foley” character kind of way. In a way that the fans get a glimpse into my mind. When I’m getting ready for a match, the fans see me in as a dark room as Willow seeing what he is telling me in my mind and the fans get to see it and get pumped up. I want to make that work as the Charismatic Enigma.