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Will Jeff Hardy return as "The Willow" in WWE?

Jeff Hardy (left) and The Willow (right)
Jeff Hardy (left) and The Willow (right)
Kartik Arry
SENIOR ANALYST

Jeff Hardy's professional wrestling career has been iconic. He is regarded as one of the best tag team and singles stars of all time.

Jeff Hardy's career started in the early 1990s, and he has won multiple championships. The Charismatic Enigma first rose to prominence alongside his brother, Matt Hardy, both of whom were known as The Hardy Boyz. Jeff also broke out on a successful solo run, winning several world championships in WWE and TNA.

One of his many career highlights includes the introduction of his alter-ego — Willow a.k.a Willow the Wisp. Here is what the character's name means:

In folklore, a will-o'-the-wisp, will-o'-wisp, or ignis fatuus (Latin for 'giddy flame', plural ignes fatui), is an atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes.

Let's look at the history behind Hardy's bizarre persona.


Willow the Wisp emerged before Jeff Hardy joined WWE

The Hardy Boyz became a popular act in WWE. However, Matt and Jeff Hardy were a part of the pro wrestling industry before they joined Vince McMahon's company.

The brothers established their own wrestling promotion in 1997, called The Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts (OMEGA / OMEGA Championship Wrestling). Jeff would wrestle there as several characters, such as:

  • Wolverine
  • Iceman
  • Mean Jimmy Jack Tomkins
  • The Masked Mountain
  • Willow The Wisp

Willow The Wisp held the OMEGA New Frontiers Championship's inaugural title.

After Jeff joined WWE with his brother, the Willow wouldn't surface until several years later. Then it (he) made a brief appearance at ROH Death Before Dishonor after Hardy was released from WWE in 2003.


Jeff Hardy's "Willow" became mainstream in TNA

In the 2010s, Jeff Hardy had already become a household name in professional wrestling. That's also when his second major stint with TNA began. The Charismatic Enigma would win all three of his TNA World Heavyweight Championship reigns during this run.

It was in February 2014, when a few vignettes teased the return of Hardy as his alter-ego, Willow, from OMEGA. The Willow's appearance was characterized by a mask, umbrella, and trench coat.

The Willow went mainstream in TNA, even though the character's initial run only lasted for a few months. The Hardy brothers had more creative input towards the end of their TNA careers. As a result, Willow acted as the precursor to Jeff's wildly popular "Brother Nero" persona, and Matt's Broken Universe.


Jeff Hardy teased Willow's appearance in WWE

Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus – Bar Fight
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus – Bar Fight

Jeff Hardy returned to WWE in 2017 and teased Willow's resurgence during an episode of WWE SmackDown three years later.

On July 24, 2020, Hardy fought Sheamus in a cinematic Bar Fight match on SmackDown. At one point during the fight, Hardy's pupils turned white, and his alter-ego briefly emerged. The Charismatic Enigma won against Sheamus, but the major talking point from that cinematic match was Hardy's sudden transformation.

The tease led to a common question from the fans — Does Jeff Hardy want to bring back The Willow in a major capacity in WWE?


Jeff Hardy wanted to bring back The Willow

In 2020, Jeff Hardy was interviewed by BT Sport, in which he expressed that he wanted to reprise the Willow, but this time in WWE.

“Willow is my go-to wrestling persona. So, man, that’s another dream of mine that I would like to do before I’m done — To bring Willow into the WWE Universe and see what happens.”

Hardy said that Willow vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt could be an intriguing possibility.

“I just have a strange feeling that something crazy cool could happen between Willow and The Fiend.”

Jeff Hardy has had an illustrious career in WWE. The Willow represents a tiny portion of his legendary career. Hardy seemed open to the idea of bringing back that bizarre persona.

This makes us believe that Jeff Hardy could still return as Willow.

What do you think will happen if "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt versus Willow is really a possibility? Which other opponents could Willow face-off against?


Edited by Vishal Kataria
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