The Charismatic Enigma has become one of the modern legends of professional wrestling. Having put in over two decades worth of work as part of the WWE roster, as well as ventures in TNA and the indies, Jeff Hardy is a true veteran and an innovator way ahead of his time. The daredevil has provided the WWE Universe with some truly spectacular moments, but amongst those are some in-ring classics that don’t get nearly as much love as they should.
In this list, we’re going to break down Jeff’s best matches to date. Now a caveat to this is that they’re going to be matches featuring Jeff Hardy on his lonesome, because if not we’ll just end up with a big list of TLC/Ladder matches feat. The Hardy Boys. Outside of incredible duos matches, Jeff has had some classics, so here are our favourite five.
5. Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk – SummerSlam 2009
A TLC main event for the 2009 edition of SummerSlam featured two of the hottest stars of the year battling it out for the World Heavyweight Championship. CM Punk, who had recently embraced the heel persona after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, took Hardy on a personal roller-coaster throughout their feud, often citing Jeff’s addictions and habits that had caused him much grief in the past.
The two were ready to kill one another when the TLC match came about, which made for a really exciting match to end the night on. Jeff naturally used this as an opportunity to hit some ridiculously crazy spots, including a huge swanton bomb off the highest ladder, through the announce table. Credit where it’s due to CM Punk as well for not only having a great chemistry with Jeff, but also putting his body on the line just as badly as Hardy did in this match.
Jeff didn’t walk away with the win, but he did prove to the crowd once again that he was the master of the TLC match.
4. Jeff Hardy vs Rob Van Dam – Invasion 2001
Another match where Jeff wanted to ruin his physical well-being, this time at the absolute debacle of a pay-per-view that was Invasion. The culmination of the war between WWE and WCW and ECW brought together two sides of the same coin with the Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy going face-to-face with ECW’s Rob Van Dam.
RVD was a great pick to be in the ring with Jeff, who was at the peak of his insanity at this point in his career. They were granted the ladder stipulation to add another element of fan service, allowing the two to put together some truly innovative spots for that time. Both men took some nasty bumps in their first confrontation, which was a theme throughout their subsequent rematches over the next year.
Seeing this dream match come to life and become a low key show-stealer was so much fun. The gnarly spots paid off as it gave both Jeff and RVD one of their best matches to date.
3. Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton – Hell in a Cell 2018
Jeff’s years of bodily torment have of course taken a toll on his physical capabilities. Does that stop him from doing crazy things? Well, no, he’s Jeff Hardy.
Jeff’s first ever Hell in a Cell match came in his recent feud with The Viper on SmackDown Live. The long awaited debut of the Extreme Enigma in the cell had people theorising some out-of-this-world spots for Jeff to pull off from the top of the cell, but what we received was actually something nobody expected.
Despite curtain jerking for the pay-per-view, Jeff once again stole the show. He and Orton put their minds together to come up with some cringe-inducing spots that even today still makes me wince a little. Orton’s use of a screwdriver left fans gasping and screaming internally. It was truly gruesome.
Obviously Jeff had to fall from a high place too, so ladders and tables got involved and unfortunately led to a bad landing for our Brother Nero. Again, no victory for Hardy but a really fun match that brought back a little taste of extreme to the WWE.
2. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H vs. Edge – Armageddon 2008
2008 was a big year for Jeff Hardy, having made a huge singles comeback on SmackDown with a load of creepy facepaint to go with it. Jeff was at the peak of his popularity and was fighting against the odds to capture his first ever World Championship. Having several attempts against Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov and Edge over the previous few months, Jeff was finally pitted in a triple threat against The Game and The Rated R Superstar at Armageddon.
Finally, Jeff was able to win the big one, and the world rejoiced. It was one of those title wins that left you feeling proud to be a wrestling fan. Jeff was our guy, seeing him literally standing on top of the set holding the WWE Championship was an absolute marvel.
The match itself was awesome as well, keeping fans on the edge of their seat, fully behind Jeff in his battle against two of the biggest stars of our generation. Jeff really proved himself as a big-time superstar that night in December.
1. Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker – Raw (July 1st, 2002)
One of the most famous ladder matches to ever take place on a standard episode of Monday Night Raw. An underdog facing insurmountable odds against the dominant Undertaker. The WWE Undisputed title was on the line in this mismatch of a title fight, putting the young and hopeless Hardy against Big Evil.
This match alone put Jeff Hardy on the map as a singles star, even if people were to count his reigns as Intercontinental and Hardcore champion, this was his coming out party. Undertaker did everything he could and then some to make Jeff look like the biggest babyface on the planet, giving him an absolute hellish beating only for Hardy to get back up for more every time.
The scenes of him painfully hoisting himself up the rungs of the ladder towards the Undisputed belt have gone down in history and holds up as one of the best executions of psychology and drama. Even if it was just for a second, you believed Jeff could do it.
“Climb that ladder kid, make yourself famous”
One of the most awe-inspiring and heart-pumping moments made even more gripping by JR’s excellent commentary.