Halfpints Point: Forgotten Matches Jeff Hardy Vs The Undertaker

The-Awesome-Undertaker-vs-Jeff-Hardy-Ladder-Match-for-the-WWE-Undisputed-Championship-WWE-Raw

If you’ve never seen the “History of WWF” video its up on youtube. Its quite possibly one of the greatest promo videos of all time. There’s a WCW one too that was made recently. Both are AWESOME. There’s a quote at the beginning from Kid Rock

“If it’s looks good, you’ll see it
If it’s sounds good, you’ll hear it
if it’s marketed right you’ll buy it
but… if it’s real, you’ll feel it”

That quote really sticks to me so I’ve decided to do some Wrestling Soul Searching. I wanted to look back at my generation of matches and remembering what made me feel legitimately happy or sad in this industry. What made it feel real. Yes we all know the matches are pre-determined scripted and whatnot. We all forget its what you FEEL that makes a moment real or not. So with that said here’s the first match in my series of What I’d like to call “Forgotten matches”. These are matches that to me are significant to my growth as a wrestling fan.

Undertaker vs Jeff Hardy: Ladder Match for the WWE Undisputed Championship

July 1, 2002 in Manchester, NH on Monday Night Raw

Now if you’re one of those guys who frequents my Facebook buddy John Canton’s wall. Then you’ll know that whenever someone brings up Favorite Raw Moments. I always talk about this match in particular. There are several reasons why.

The Setup

In 2002 no thanks in part to the acquisition of WCW. WWE had a large talent pool. So they decided to split the brands to Raw and Smackdown. There still was One WWE Champion (and one Women’s Champion) who defended the title on BOTH shows. It went from Nose I mean Triple H to Hulk Hogan to Undertaker in a matter of 3 months. Undertaker was going through his “Big Evil” phase. The Hardy Boyz went from one of the best tag teams (dare I say this generation’s Rock and Roll Express?) to each being singles competitors on different shows. Jeff got over as a babyface with fans and received  a match for the WWE Undisputed Championship. He wanted a ladder match and got one. He was proclaimed to be a master of Ladder matches despite only winning one in his career. Before this match Jeff was joined by his brother Matt and also a surprise appearance from Matt’s girlfriend Lita who was on the shelf with her neck injury at the time. Its also worth noting that this was the Undertaker’s first ladder match.

The Match

Undertaker comes out first then Jeff Hardy. Hardy hesitates coming down to the ring at first. Slowly walking he eyes Taker’s motorcycle. Taker gets out of the ring leaving Jeff to slide in. Hardy takes the opportunity to dropkick the ladder onto Taker and perform an outside cross body. Jeff Hardy with the early advantage. HEAD CHAIR SHOT (they were legal then) to Undertaker. Jeff tries to use the ladder to his advantage, but Taker counters. Taker mounts an offense and attempts a Snake Eyes to the Ladder. Hardy drops down behind Taker and throws him into the ladder. Jeff then Places the Ladder on top of Taker and performs a Leg Drop. Hardy throws the ladder in the ring. Taker gets up and BOOTS the Ladder while Jeff is down. Jeff gets to the outside of the ring. Undertaker uses the ladder as a battering ram and hits Jeff to the floor. Taker sets up the ladder and seems to have the match well in hand. As he climbs up the ladder he looks down and sees Jeff on the floor. Instead of just grabbing the title and going home he goes to the outside. Throws Jeff ONTO THE TABLE. Much to the disagreement of Jim Ross who was shouting “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU’RE BREAKING THIS KID IN HALF”. Taker then just Tosses Jeff around like a rag doll. He mounts an offense and continues beating the hell out of Jeff. Jeff mounts an offense which gets Taker a lil worried . . .untill he sends Hardy a Right Hand. Which takes him down and places him between the ladder. LEG DROP with Hardy Sandwiched between the ladder. Taker sets up Jeff on the corner and hits a splash. Taker then sets up the ladder on the other corner, places Hardy, then goes for another Splash, Hardy ducks and Taker misses. Taker then tries t o whip Jeff into the corner. Jeff uses the momentum to hit a Whisper in the Wind. Hardy tries to get up but Taker quickly give him a Big Boot. Both men leave to the outside. Taker screams out to the crowd that “IT’S OVER”. Jeff Hardy with a Low Blow runs into the ring uses the ladder as a spring and SENTONS the Undertaker. Jeff looks under the ring and grabs an even BIGGER LADDER. Which leads to one of the best commentary quips of all time

King: What’s that for?

JR: What’s that for? He’s going to paint his garage

Remember when Commentators help drive the story forward? Anyway Jeff starts to climb up the ladder. Taker gets in the ring and hits Hardy with a blow to the back. Taker goes for a Last Ride Jeff counters with a hurricanrana. Jeff goes for the title a Second time he actually touches the belt. Taker with a Chair shot to the back. He mounts an offensive sets up the chair and the Last Ride. Hardy punches and grabs the chair and hits the Undertaker with it. He starts to go up for the ladder up a third time and that sets up our Key Moment

The Key Moment

I was talking about the announcing. JR said possibly one of my favorite calls ever. “CLIMB THE LADDER KID MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS” In that Moment Jim Ross is NOT just the announcer. He was a head of Talent Relations. He’s seen Jeff Hardy since he was Underage doing TV matches. Risking his life and body to please the fans. Becoming a Tag Team Superstar with hits brother Matt. To becoming a Singles Superstar. Now less than 10 years later he’s literally inches away from what every Wrestler dreams of, The World Title. I still go nuts and believe he has a chance. You know like it felt kinda. . .real??? Yea I know kinda weird

The Aftermath

Well Taker grabs a chair and hits him twice grabs the title and that’s it. Or is it? No Jeff gets up with the use of the ropes and grabs a mic. He claims that he’s still standing. Undertaker runs in the ring we all know what’s going on next. He’s going to pummel him some more. instead . . .this happens.

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And from that moment on Jeff Hardy was never anything else other than a Main Event Talent. Even though there were a few bumps in the road. Seven Years later he finally became a World Champion. Though it was on this night that he became one in the eyes of the Locker Room and this young Wrestling Fan.

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