Jeff Hardy has given some information on how he managed to “p**** off” The Undertaker ahead of the pair’s ladder match on Monday Night Raw which would go on to cement Hardy as a top-level superstar.
The now infamous match took place on WWE Raw on 1st July 2002, when The Undertaker was at the height of his ‘Big Evil’ persona and Jeff Hardy was starting to branch out as a singles competitor.
Whilst Hardy had already seen some success on his own, including holding the Intercontinental, Light Heavyweight and Hardcore Championships, it was his challenge to The Undertaker for a match for the Undisputed Championship which caught everyone’s attention.
The match took a different route to the death-defying experiences which previous ladder matches had often been, but instead told the story of an underdog refusing to give up against The Undertaker.
That’s not to say Hardy didn’t have a few fearless moments during the match, and even touched the gold a couple of times before he was eventually beaten by his more experienced opponent. After the match it looked like Hardy was ready to fight ‘Taker again, but when he returned to the ring ‘Big Evil’ raised his opponent’s arm in a sign of respect.
Speaking in a new interview with talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy, Jeff Hardy has spoken of how fondly he recalls the match and what it did for his career, but not before he had the chance to wind up The Undertaker in the build up.
It was weird because ladders were like, my thing at the time. My big thing from the other TLC matches and whatnot. So for ‘Taker to do that for me was just huge for me in general, especially for my solo career without Matt, it just did wonders for me.
Just putting together spots with the Undertaker… One of my fondest memories was getting on his Harley [Davidson] out there and pretending I was doing a nac nac on a dirt-bike and that p***** him off and he came after me [laughs].
The whole story of the underdog versus the man and the legend, but he couldn’t keep the underdog down no matter what he did to me and then the sign of respect at the end and me collapsing as RAW goes off the air with me looking at my hand like ‘did that really just happen?’ It was a miracle.
Hardy also discussed the reaction he received backstage for the match, and how the positivity helped him even further.
Yeah, everyone was very pleased. I don’t know if we got the standing ovation, I think we might have, but everyone was very pleased with the match and it was very deserving.
Jeff Hardy also recently discussed a unique character idea which he is just waiting for the right opportunity to pitch to WWE.
With thanks to TalkSport for the transcription.