Matt Hardy discusses WWE's original plans to push his brother Jeff in 2008.
Jeff Hardy spent the end of 2007 and all of 2008 hovering around the WWE Championship picture until he would finally win the title at WWE Armageddon 2008, one year after he first earned the opportunity to challenge for the belt by defeating Triple H at Armageddon 2007.
While Jeff did eventually reach the mountaintop, he was initially penciled in to win the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 24 and was booked for the match until a wellness violation caused him to be suspended and removed from the lineup.
Speaking about this setback for his brother on the most recent episode of his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt Hardy admits that his brother was always battling these issues throughout his career and reflects on Freddie Prinze Jr. championing the cause for a Jeff Hardy World Championship run.
“Matt fact. Yes, he was. That was the plan. He was gonna win this Money in the Bank briefcase, and I think at this point, they had pulled the trigger and decided they wanted to try and turn him into the champion," Matt said. "I know Freddie Prinze had been given this edict, like ‘Get Jeff Hardy ready for the championship.’ That’s like around the time too when he was starting to paint his face again if I’m not mistaken. They started leaning into some stuff that was very Jeff Hardy-ish, and Freddie Prinze was kind of leading that charge in many ways.
"But yeah, Jeff was in Mexico on an international tour, and at some point there, he ended up taking something, some sort of pill or substance for, I don’t know if it was his back or whatever it was," Matt added. "But he did end up getting popped on a drug test, and one of the things I remember he told me from the story, Michael Hayes had called him at home. He said, ‘Hey, what is going on here? I can’t believe you did all this,’ and whatever. He said, ‘Vince is gonna call you in a few minutes, so be ready to answer the phone.’ Then I guess Vince called him, and Jeff’s like, ‘Hello?’ He’s like, ‘What the fuck have you done?’ That was his greeting right from the beginning. I guess they talked it through, and at the end of the conversation, Jeff said they spoke for a while, they seemed to be kosher. Jeff apologized and regretted making that mistake, but it was what it was."
Asked how he felt about this setback for his brother, Matt Hardy was, of course, very sad and disappointed.
“It was very sad. Disappointing, but also, he’s a human being, and he’s had issues throughout his life with that. It doesn’t mean that he has a terrible content of character. It means that he has addiction problems, obviously. So just very disappointed, especially when he had so much good stuff going on professionally in his life at that time. So it was a very sad and disappointing setback for him," said Matt.
As for whether or not he believed his brother would become a top guy after another personal setback, Matt spoke candidly about not knowing whether or not Jeff will be able to overcome any political issues against him after dropping the ball when he was knocking at the door of the WWE World Championship. However, one thing that was sure of was that Jeff would still have the support of the WWE Universe.
“I don’t know. Politically, in pro wrestling, you never know with an event like that, how much it’s gonna set you back, or if you’re gonna be given another opportunity. I felt like, at this point, he was still gonna be insanely popular and insanely over, and people still wanted to see him perform. So I guess it basically would end up coming down to how management reacted to him once he came back, and to see if they were willing to give him another shot."
Jeff Hardy would never get the opportunity to win WWE Money in the Bank, but he would win the WWE World Championship on three separate occasions in his career.
Unfortunately, Jeff Hardy's personal demons have remained a consistent presence in his career. Currently, Jeff Hardy is employed by AEW but following a DUI arrest, Jeff is currently working on bettering himself once again. Matt Hardy recently provided an update on his brother's condition. Fans can read the update at this link.
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