Matt Hardy has revealed details about the time Jeff Hardy wanted to impersonate The Undertaker during their WWE rivalry in 2002.
The Deadman famously defeated Jeff Hardy in a ladder match on the July 1, 2002, episode of RAW to retain the Undisputed Championship. Around that time, The Charismatic Enigma asked his on-screen rival if he could wear old-school Undertaker attire as part of the storyline.
Speaking on “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy” podcast, Matt Hardy recalled how the WWE icon immediately dismissed the idea:
“I remember ‘Taker shot that down pretty quickly. I do remember Jeff pitching it. Jeff said, ‘What if I could come out in the old Undertaker hat, come out in the entrance, and I get down and do the pose while ‘Taker’s in the ring?’ Like mocking him to p**s him off to try to set up this match down the road. He said, ‘No, I don’t wanna go there.’” [25:22-25:41]
Jim Ross’ commentary of the Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker match is often replayed by fans. After Hardy knocked his opponent down, the veteran announcer shouted, “Go for it, Jeff! Climb the ladder, kid! Make yourself famous!”
Why The Undertaker rejected Jeff Hardy’s idea
Mark Calaway performed as the American Bada** version of The Undertaker at the time of his rivalry with Jeff Hardy. Two years later, the Hall of Famer switched back to the original Deadman gimmick that made him so successful in the 1990s.
The 57-year-old wanted fans to forget about his old character, which is why he refused to let Jeff Hardy or anyone else copy his classic black and purple look.
“He said, ‘One day I’m gonna go back to that, and I don’t wanna put that out there anymore. I want that to kinda be on the backburner and I want people to forget about it,’” Matt Hardy added. “Taker was very protective of his character and of his work and of how he was utilized.” [25:41-25:53]
Matt Hardy previously said on his podcast that The Undertaker was “a little nervous” about competing in a ladder match. However, the legendary superstar was still “all in” on making the bout as great as possible.
Please credit “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy” and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.
Did you know a major backstage fight erupted during WrestleMania 32? More details right here.