Several Ex-TNA Employees Share Backstage Stories On Jeff Hardy
Six new chapters have been released from the FREE new e-book about TNA ‘The Genesis of TNA’ on http://www.tnabook.net and http://www.barbaricwrestling.com. The new chapters discuss Jeff Jarrett, a wrestler with a 100 dollar prostitute fetish, and much more. Read it all for free on TNABook.net. Here is a chapter regarding Jeff Hardy’s initial tenure with TNA Wrestling.
CHAPTER 10: JEFF HARDY
Written By Brett Buchanan of BarbaricWrestling.com
Jeff Hardy debuted in TNA in June 2004 at their 2-Year Anniversary Show. X-Division Champion AJ Styles was set to take on Kid Kash, but Kash was injured and TNA needed a replacement. Mere days before the show TNA were able to book Jeff to fill in for Kash, it ended up leaking online a day prior. Jeff had been released by the WWE in 2003 and outside of a disastrous appearance for Ring of Honor as Willow the Whisp (where he was booed out of the building) he had been largely inactive in pro wrestling and focusing on his music, art, and other recreational activities.
Jeff debuted as AJ Styles’ mystery opponent to one of the loudest pops in TNA history. Hardy and AJ went on to have an entertaining 8-10 minute match that ended in a DQ when Kid Kash and Lance Hoyt (at the time known as Dallas) interfered. Hardy and AJ ended up getting the upper hand fighting them off. Hardy then stayed off television for a few weeks while they did a storyline where Dusty Rhodes was trying to get Hardy to sign with the company. This culminated in Jeff returning in July for a contract signing and beginning a program with Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Championship.
MARCUS CYGY: It was always negative backstage about Jeff Hardy [during his first TNA run], no one thought he cared no one thought he was trying he was just going through the motions.
DAVID YOUNG: His run was a total waste of time; Jeff just didn’t seem into it. Some TV’s we didn’t even know Jeff was there until his music started playing.
SCOTT HUDSON: Jeff was only in there for a cup of coffee to begin with that first time. But he was, how do you phrase this, he really wasn’t acceptable enough to even me, not that I’m any kind of great big deal, but even to me I never got a chance to talk to him except for the promos. If you had ever seen me do a promo with Jeff, that’s the only times I’ve ever talked to him in my life. Everybody else was always hanging out talking about territories and football and whatever else, but not him. I don’t think he was stand offish or anything he just wasn’t around for that.
BILL BEHRENS: I had tougher times getting Randy Savage to the ring than I did Jeff Hardy.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: I liked Jeff, I was there and I was the committee guy when Jeff came in. I like Jeff Hardy he’s an off the wall character but he’s got a great charisma, I got along with him great he’s a very personable guy and I know Jeff’s in his own world but I think Jeff Hardy is very good, I mean the people love him. In the wrestling business, even whether you like somebody or you think somebody’s an asshole, if the crowd buys them it’s their money and their ratings then it’s good for the company, and I think Jeff’s good.
BIG VITO: I spoke to Jeff in TNA and everything was fine and I knew him for a long time.
RUDY CHARLES: I thought it was great for TNA to have a name of that caliber so early on. When Jeff first came in it was him and AJ in a match, I think I might have refereed that. I just thought it was pretty cool to have him as a part of the company, early on there was Jeff [Jarrett] there’s Raven, but there weren’t a lot of guys that had that WWF or WCW background so getting Jeff was a big plus for TNA at the time.
BILL BEHRENS: Jeff is somebody who I’ve helped going back to nearly the very beginning of his career and when he was in TNA I was the one that got him to the go area most of the time, Jeff was having issues at the time, Jeff was not the Jeff he is now, Jeff was not well grounded. The run he had was problematic but it had an awful lot to do with the fact that Jeff was doing it to himself more than anything else. We probably in 20/20 hindsight should have sent him home an awful lot earlier. TNA made a number of those mistakes, TNA sent Jake Roberts to the ring coked out of his mind and had a debacle as a result, and Jeff Hardy was not being good to himself at the time and was doing things that were not good for his health and were not good for his in ring performance all the way around. But one thing that did come from that was that Jeff was able to do some of the things he really enjoys doing, which he’s now being able to visit at TNA as a much more stable young man and a much more grounded guy and that has to do with his creative side, his artistic side, his music, TNA unlike WWE let him do his own thing, whether you like his music or you don’t whether you even understand his music or you don’t, Jeff is very enamored with that and TNA allowed that and one of the reasons his time in TNA in the beginning worked was with a couple of exceptions he did show up and he did go out and he did work hard when he was in the ring.
PETEY WILLIAMS: I think he was probably more over in WWE when he got his second run after he left TNA and he went to WWE, it’s just hard to build a company around a somebody that no shows a lot. Like you read about on the internet he gets suspended from WWE for showing up late. I remember I had to wrestle him once, he literally showed up like an hour before the show started. I had to put together the entire match, and then I was like hey Jeff what’s up this is what we’re doing. He was cool through everything, and I just felt like I’m the rookie he’s the veteran. I shouldn’t be telling him what to do but he was cool with it and we had a good match and I was happy with it.
CASSIDY RILEY: Really the only time you saw Jeff was late at night, you didn’t see a lot of Jeff during the day before the shows. I’m not sure where he was or what he was doing. You might see him a few minutes once we all got there and checked in, and then you wouldn’t see him again until right before he was going to go on. The majority of the time I wouldn’t see him until later in the night and after the show when post game activity was going on.
Hardy’s entrance music in TNA was a song by his own band Peroxwhy?gen called “Modest.” A music video of the song even aired on Impact. During Hardy’s TNA run he was very passionate about his art and music, citing Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots as two of his major influences. Hardy’s fans started to attend Impact tapings as a group once he started to wrestle full time with the company. They dressed up as Jeff and called themselves the Hardy Party, with their ringleader being Hardy Party Joe. Joe was banned from the Impact Zone for a year after people claimed he shoved people to get to the front of shows. Joe’s departure quickly led to the Hardy Party dissolving. Jeff Hardy himself went on to feud with Abyss and Raven. While Hardy was having some personal problems his matches did not seem to be affected by it. He had fantastic matches with Abyss at TNA PPV’s in early 2005 and at Lockdown with Raven. At Hard Justice 2005 he was set to have a rematch with Raven, but he no showed and was replaced by Sean Waltman, which led to him being suspended from the company for 4 months.
SONJAY DUTT: Jeff was a cool dude, I remember towards the end he was no showing and that was obviously an issue. I remember I think he sent a text message that said hey is it okay if I miss the PPV? I remember a story floating around that he texted Terry Taylor and said hey is it okay if I miss the PPV? He just no showed and that was it and they had enough of it.
DAVID YOUNG: At that time I just really don’t think he was into wrestling. He no showed a PPV and he sent them a text that said card subject to change I’ll see you Tuesday.
CASSIDY RILEY: I just remember thinking wow that’s crazy, here we are guys that are fighting like hell to keep a job and he could care less one way or another if he was there or even on this planet.
MARCUS CYGY: I heard a lot of weird stories I think his gerbil got lost or something.
BILL BEHRENS: His snake got in the house and attacked his dog or something I don’t know.
DAVID YOUNG: He actually brought a picture of the snake and showed it to them.
SONJAY DUTT: He was a cool dude man but I don’t know if he took things as seriously as the office would have hoped for him to.
BILL BEHRENS: He missed the plane at home because a snake ate his phone, and I had to get in touch with him and tell him Jeff that’s silly you know how to reach me, we inevitably came to an agreement, Jeff and I, and it held for the remainder of his time there until inevitably he left and that was that after we had gone over the match he would vanish. The deal was when I would call and I made sure I saw him put my name and number into his phone when I would call him he promised me he would show up within five minutes and he did, it was always a little nerve-wracking because they’d be saying from the truck is he there is he there and I’d be going, he will be, I know he will be, and he always did. He’d get there and I’d go okay Jeff you’re going to give me a heart attack here, but thank you for being here son and then he’d go out and do a good job.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: I know some of the people in the office were really pissed, and you should be I mean the guy’s got to be professional just because you’re a name because it’s your responsibility to keep the business going and he’s getting paid the money.
MARCUS CYGY: It was just basically a free for all for him, until he took another break and went back to WWE.
Jeff returned in August 2005 at Sacrifice but ended up having a decreased role in the company due to his unreliability. He had a midcard feud with Bobby Roode and then at the inaugural Bound For Glory he wrestled in a Monster’s Ball match against Rhino, Sabu, and Abyss. He then lost a number 1 contenders match against Monty Brown at Genesis 2005, and he was relegated to a scheduled preshow 6-man tag match at Turning Point 2005. Hardy no showed Turning Point, which ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back for Hardy in TNA during his first run in the company.
BILL BEHRENS: Good news was after he had left he got his head on straight he got cleaned up and when he had cleaned up he wanted to come back but by then because of all the things we had to do to get through at the earlier times, Jeff Jarrett wasn’t willing to do it at that point and that made Jeff Hardy angry. The end result was that motivated Jeff to get back to WWE and the end result was positive for Jeff. Sometimes people have to get mad to really get their act together, and when he had cleaned his act up and his friends, Jeff Jarrett and others, wouldn’t bring him back that pissed him off but it also motivated him and the end result was the long successful run he had in WWE, and inevitably led to his return to TNA where he’s happier and more comfortable, he’s having fun and always did at TNA, he just can appreciate the fun now [April 2010] because he’s not impaired.
Hardy returned to TNA in early 2010 and ran into troubles again at Victory Road 2011, but since then has gotten his life back on track and is back in the ring for TNA.