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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Twist of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story, Disc One

April 14, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Twist of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story, Disc One  

Twist of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story
by J.D. Dunn

Because these two discs are divided among the brothers, I’ve decided to review them separately.

Matt Hardy

  • Driven to Be Successful: We get a brief history of Matt. Team eXtreme. Lita. Edge. Matt’s rebirth.
  • The Trampoline Days: Matt grew up in Cameron, N.C.. His mother was the nurturing one, but she died of cancer, leaving Matt and Jeff at the mercy of their stoic father. Matt credits his hard-nosed father with making him so driven. Matt and Jeff were casual fans until WrestleMania IV when they started arguing over who would win the title tournament. After that, they were hooked. Matt begged his father for a trampoline, and that’s where they taught themselves to wrestle. They even had characters. Jeff was Wolverine. Matt was High Voltage. Soon, they added some ropes and tarps and the Trampoline Wrestling Federation was born. Sadly, it had better production values than IWA Mid-South. A friend of his wanted to be a promoter, so they ran a few carny shows. Matt bought the ring and created his own promotion (the ECWF), begging for advertisers and sewing the costumes.
  • OMEGA: Matt found a real investor, and the Organization of Modern, Extreme Grappling Arts was born. Lots of crazy spots followed. In retrospect, it’s one of the most successful feeder programs to the WWE with Matt, Jeff, Gregory Helms, Shannon Moore, and Joey Matthews all making stops in the WWE at some point.
  • The Big Time: Eventually the Hardyz met Gary Sabaugh (The Italian Stallion). Sabaugh offered to take them to the WWF tapings to be job guys. Matt did the job to Nikolai Volkoff. We see them getting beat down by a lot of guys. Wow. I’d forgotten just how many appearances they made. Matt says he got paid $150 per appearance, but Sabaugh took $100 for his trouble. Matt didn’t mind because he was learning. One day, Stallion left them in the lurch, so they contacted the WWF and made their own bookings. Matt got a developmental contract (from Head of Talent Operations “James Ross”).
  • Wrestlers Become Stars: Michael Hayes started pushing for the Hardyz backstage, so in 1999, the WWF finally started putting some effort into them. It paid off in spades. Michael took them under his wing and taught them the ways of the road. Jeff says that’s when he was introduced to alcohol. Way to go, Michael. Hayes suggested they go out and buy tight jeans and some T-shirts to be the new version of the Freebirds. Matt reminded him that it was 1999, not 1979. Later in the summer of 1999, the WWF gave the Hardyz a taste of tag title gold. Matt says they would have been content with that. The Hardyz turned on Hayes soon after, and they took a BIG step up against Edge & Christian in a ladder match at No Mercy 1999. This was before they had 3-4 ladder matches per year.
  • Team Extreme: The WWF let the Hardyz be the Hardyz after that. We get clips of the Hardyz and Dudleyz at the Royal Rumble 2000. The Hardyz became the ladder guys, the Dudleyz were the table guys, and Edge & Christian were the chairs guys, so it was logical to have a “Tables, Ladders & Chairs” match. Everyone puts over Lita as a big part of Team Extreme… except Matt, who doesn’t say anything. Matt says the ladder matches and the year-and-a-half feud with E&C and the Dudleyz got tiresome (and having just finished reviewing the 2002 PPVs, believe me when I say it did). Jim Ross and Bruce Prichard say that Matt was the one who was driven to be a singles star. Matt says he got overshadowed by Jeff’s high-flying, but he feels he was the more solid wrestler.
  • Mattitude: The Hardys split in 2002 when Matt turned heel and left for Smackdown, leaving Jeff on Raw. That lead to the delusional “Sensei of Mattitude” and his MFer Shannon Moore. Matt says he was driven to prove that he was every bit as good as Jeff.
  • Easter Egg Alert!: Highlight “Mattitude” and press “RIGHT” twice. You’ll see Matt talking about his brief feud with the Undertaker during the early Mattitude era.
  • Back on Raw: Lita got injured on an episode of Dark Angel and was out for a year. Jeff was let go and went to TNA. That left Matt alone for a long time. Lita asked the WWE to move him over to Raw, and that’s when they worked the Kane-Lita marriage angle.
  • Love Triangle: Matt tore his ACL and was stuck at home for a long time. He says he realized sitting at home what it would be like to have a normal life. He noticed that Lita was acting weird. He got up late one night for a drink of water and saw she had a voicemail… from Edge. Since Lita was in Matt’s five, he decided he had every right to listen to it. Edge was telling her he loved her and he wanted her to leave Matt. Matt says he went back to the bedroom, ripped the covers off Lita, held up the phone and said, “We’re going to play a little game…” BUSTED! Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore, and Gregory Helms all seem to side with Matt (not surprisingly). Matt, Edge and Lita (in old footage) all agree that they handled it the wrong way. Lita because she didn’t end things with Matt before starting up with Edge, Matt because he took things public, and Edge for betraying one of his friends and his wife. Edge tries to deflect criticism by saying people don’t know all the details.

    Editorial: Okay, maybe I’m old-fashioned and don’t know all the subtle moral nuances of wash-your-dick-off-in-the-bathroom-sink sex, but I’m pretty sure there are literally NO circumstances under which it would be okay to sleep with your friend’s girlfriend while you’re married. None. Seriously, can anyone come up with a scenario in which they’d say, “Oh, well, now that I know that, Edge is a real hero?”

    Well, okay. There’s one. If, in fact, Osama Bin Laden threatened to set off a small tactical nuclear device inside of a major American city, and the only way to talk him out of it was to send him an Edge/Lita sex tape. Okay, *then* it would be okay. You should still send your friend a heads-up, though.

    I would respect Edge infinitely more if he had just said, “You know what. We were on the road. I got horny. She was a hot chick. Do the math.” It wouldn’t make it right, but Edge trying to say there’s some sort of rationalization that would explain it all away seems a bit sleazy.

    Edge caused problems with Matt, but Matt caused problems for the WWE by going public with the situation, so he got fired. Jim Ross implies it was a raw deal. Matt spent some time in Ring of Honor before the WWE decided things were settled down enough to bring Matt back for a feud with Edge. They agree that things aren’t forgiven, but they are in the past.

  • Hardys Reunion: Jeff finally got cleaned up (for a while) and returned to the WWE. The Hardyz reunited briefly to revitalize the tag division. Michael Hayes thinks they’re still destined for greater singles fame. He puts over Matt’s growth thanks to his feud with MVP.
  • The MVP Challenge: Matt and MVP had a rivalry that turned into a reluctant tag team before turning back into a feud over the U.S. Title that still hasn’t been settled as of this writing.
  • The Future is Bright: Matt wants a major singles title. He plans on winning the U.S. Title and moving on to the World Title. Everyone agrees that Matt is the smarter of the two brothers (ringing endorsement). Jim Ross puts over his character. Matt says his ideal situation would be for him to be the World Champion on Smackdown while Jeff would be the WWE Champion on Raw. (Then I think he needs to have a little talk with his brother.)

    Matches

  • No DQ, No COR: Matt Hardy vs. Kane (07.11.04 – Vengeance).
    Matt quickly take things over to the announce table, but Kane tosses him off into the crowd barrier. Kane takes over on offense, and things get sluggish. You know, for a psychopath, he’s awfully slow. Ross and Lawler debate the morality of bartering for sex and whether or not Kane & Lita’s baby would be ugly. Ross reminds us that he was set on fire by Kane. Ah, who can forget that Emmy Award winning segment? Kane berates Matt for not fighting back, which is the same thing I’ve been doing for five minutes. Matt grabs a chair, but Kane boots him and takes it from him. To the ring, Matt slips out of the Tombstone and hits the Twist of Fate for two. Kane catches him with a chokeslam and tosses the steps in the ring. Lita runs in and begs Kane not to kill Matt. Kane tells her to watch what he’s about to do. Unfortunately for Kane, that entails grabbing the steps and turning around into a chairshot. The steps collapse on Kane, and Matt is able to get the win at 10:35. Ten minutes of sluggish Kane offense and a lucky shot from Matt do not make for a good match. *1/2

  • In the back, Matt is upset because Lita put herself and her baby in harm’s way. Matt says he wants time away from her to think things over, which she apparently interprets as “we’re on a break, so feel free to fuck around.”
  • Steel Cage Match: Matt Hardy vs. Edge (w/Lita, 09.18.05 – Unforgiven ).
    You can win by pinfall, escape or submission. Lawler inadvertently voices how stupid this style of cage match is in a blood feud. Paraphrased: “I hate you with every fiber of my being. I’ll do anything to get my hands on you! Now, let’s have a match where I have to run away from you in order to win.” Edge scurries up, but Matt catches him. They do the same thing near the door. Matt takes him over into a headlock, but Edge rakes the eyes. Matt gets two off a flying clothesline. Another flying clothesline sets up a Twist of Fate attempt, but Edge counters to a chinlock drop for two. Edge goes up, but Hardy catches him going over. Edge blocks the Side Effect and slams Matt’s head into the cage. Edge gets a missile dropkick off the top. Edge smacks him around for a while, and delivers a DDT. It gets a series of two counts. Edge decides to have a little more fun with a pair of turnbuckle powerbombs. The announcers start to beg for Matt Hardy’s life, which would be more dramatic if we hadn’t seen him in all those TLC matches taking a much bigger beating. Matt goes for a huracanrana off the top, but Edge counters it to a powerbomb. The referee starts counting them down for some reason before Edge rolls to a cover. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Matt explodes with the Side Effect. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Edge says, “Enough of this” and goes for the door. Matt pulls him back at the last moment, but Lita hands the briefcase to Edge. Edge takes a wild swing, but Matt ducks and ties him up in the ropes. FISTS OF FURY! Matt bulldogs him on the briefcase and then tosses him, facefirst, into the mesh. Lita tries to climb up the cage, but Matt knocks her off. Edge is busted open this time, and this time it’s Matt kicking him squarely in the head. Matt goes up to the top with the briefcase, intending to bash Edge’s brains in. Instead, Edge shoves the ref into the ropes, crotching Hardy on the top. He spears Matt against the cage. Edge goes up, but Matt catches up with him again. This time, Matt does get the Side Effect off the top. Lita panics and grabs a chair. The ref takes it away from her, but she gets in the cage anyway. Matt covers. ONE, TWO, THRE–NO! Lita breaks it up! Matt goes after Lita, and Edge crawls for the door, sacrificing his piece of ass to save his ass. Matt catches up with him and pulls him back to the middle of the ring. Lita swings the briefcase at him, but Matt blocks it and gives her the TWIST OF FATE! Lita’s out of it. Matt turns around right into a SPEAR! ONE, TWO, THRE-MATT KICKS OUT! The crowd is really into it by now. Edge crawls up, but Matt catches up with him again and slams his head off the steel. Edge falls back to the canvas. The crowd eggs him on, so Matt dives off with a legdrop off the top of the cage. Matt drapes an arm over Edge…ONE, TWO, THREE! (21:32) This started out slow, but heated up considerably down the stretch. Not quite good enough to reach that **** plateau thanks to the tedious opening beatdown, but better than a lot of people would have expected. Edge crawls up the ramp rather than be stretchered out. ***3/4

  • Money in the Bank Qualifier: Matt Hardy vs. Joey Mercury (03.02.07 – Smackdown).
    King Booker and Sharmell join the commentary crew because Book is the other qualifier. Thus, we get the awesome commentary pairing of JBL and Booker. Matt hits a gutbuster and knees Mercury in the midsection. That sets up a gourdbuster for two. Hey, look at the motivated Matt Hardy! He misses a moonsault…by a lot. Mercury hits a Stroke for barely a two count and goes after Matt’s arm. Mercury blocks a charge by booting Matt’s shoulder, and then Matt can’t even get him up for Splash Mountain because of the bad shoulder. Hey, this is turning into a decent little psychology match. We go to break and come back to Matt fighting out of an armbar. Mercury legdrops the arm and then snaps it off the top rope. Back in, Mercury goes back to the arm with an overhand wristlock. Matt counters to a jawbreaker but Mercury punts him and goes right back to the arm. Majestral gets two, and it’s back to the arm. Mercury gets caught going up and gets slammed off. Matt hits the clothesline and bulldog for two. The Side Effect gets two more. Matt catches Mercury on top again and finishes with the Super Twist of Fate at 13:49. Fun little match. **3/4
  • Mr. Kennedy vs. Matt Hardy (05.04.07, Smackdown).
    Nice little mat-wrestling sequence to start. Kennedy gets an elbow to Matt’s mouth but runs right into a boot. Matt backdrops Kennedy to the floor as we go to break. We come back to Matt hitting an elbow to the back of Kennedy’s head for a two count. Kennedy blocks a backdrop and hits the single-arm DDT to give use the story of the match. He goes right after Matt’s shoulder. Matt fires back with his good arm, and they clothesline each other. Matt tosses Kennedy to the floor but gets shoved into the steps. Back in, Kennedy slaps him around and locks in a cravat. Matt slugs his way back again, but Kennedy, again, blocks a backdrop and starts forearming Matt in the face. Kennedy hits a sickening running knee and another! Matt slugs his way back a third time, but Kennedy tosses him on the bulldog attempt. Matt hits it on the second try and gets two. The Side Effect gets two more. Kennedy gets two off a Jackknife Roll, and they slug it out. Hardy counters the Finlay Roll, but Kennedy counters again and hits it! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! The Kenton Bomb finds Hardy’s knees! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Hardy’s legdrop gets two, but Kennedy counters the Twist of Fate. Matt reverses a whip and hits it anyway at 18:55. Hey, can’t complain about a couple of midcarders getting a chance to shine, and Kennedy has to have something to do while he awaits Mania. Good TV match, which is becoming a welcome trend from the WWE. ***1/4

  • OMEGA Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boys vs. The Serial Thrillaz (01.29.99).
    This was one of the Hardyz last matches before leaving OMEGA behind for the WWF. The Thrillaz are Mike Maverick and Shane Helms. Helms plays to his hometown crowd, turning the Thrillaz into the babyfaces. The Hardyz ran with it and played up their WWF contract by saying they were better than everyone now. Matt and Shane wrestle to a stalemate, or, as Shane calls it, “That Ring of Honor bullsh*t.” Matt beats down Shane in the corner, but Shane BURSTS out with a Thesz Press. Big pop for that. Jeff runs in but gets speared silly by Maverick. The faces powerbomb the Hardys who clear out. Jeff and Mike get in, and Jeff bumps around like a madman. I think Jeff could have had a great career if he developed a cocky heel character (and stayed off the drugs). The Hardyz go for Poetry in Motion, but they’re heels, so Maverick just catches Jeff and slams him. The Thrillaz hit Poetry in Motion for real, setting up the 69 sell. The Hardyz are so traumatized that they have to share a hug on the floor, so Mike tosses Helms out on them. Back in, Shane assumes the face-in-peril role 12 minutes into the match. Jeff hits a springboard Swanton into a quebrada. Jeff hits a slingshot Arabian Press, but he stops to hug Matt. Matt tags in and applies the sleeper, but Shane reverses to his own. Matt and Shane start joking about internet fans and what the star rating is for this match. Shane also notes that this received MOTY votes. Matt V-Bombs (Crucifix Bombs) Shane. The ref gets bumped, so the Hardyz grab a chair. Oh, but it backfires, of course. Helms finishes with a splash off Maverick’s shoulders at 20:13. Yeah, I can see how this got MOTY votes. The heat is off the charts, and these guys were doing things that had never been seen in the major leagues. Plus, they used a tag style that was forgotten at that point. ****

  • Easter Egg Alert!: Highlight The Hardy Boyz vs. the Serial Thrillaz and press “LEFT” twice. You’ll get Matt, Jeff, Shane and Shannon Moore sitting around talking about coming up in the business. Matt says they’re called “The Core Group.” Matt gives a toast to all of them.
  • High Voltage Amateur WCW Challenge Promo: Matt as a teenaged “High Voltage” cutting a pretty bad promo. Actually, it’s about par for the course for the mid-1990s.
  • Matt Starts a Fire: Pretty much what it sounds like. Matt wanted to start a fire in the back yard, but it was too dry and things got out of control. Matt wanted to put it out before his dad got home, but there were five fire engines parked at the house and two burnt acres, so the jig was up.
  • Matt Hardy’s Crib: Matt shows off his Corvette and his Cadillac CTS. He has a lot of memorabilia, and he is one of the few people who could believably have a bunch of action figures in his room and still get laid.
  • The 411: The documentary doesn't really tell you anything you didn't already know if you've been around for a while. It does provide a few details on how the Matt-Lita-Edge triangle went down. Matt comes off as a really driven and sympathetic guy who has been screwed over by politics and ill-timed injuries. I can definitely see him becoming an agent or booker when his career is over. Until then, though, hopefully he'll get a chance to shine as a singles star. Most of the matches are solid but nothing special. The bigtime ladder matches are available elsewhere, so that didn't leave a lot for this DVD set. The OMEGA match is worth a look, though. Ultimately, the DVD is a lot like Matt himself – I like it, but I'm not wowed.

    Thumbs up.

     
    Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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