The story itself was simple enough. Jeff Hardy had lost his singles match against The Undertaker the week prior. He challenged The Undertaker for his championship in a match of his choosing and that was a ladder match.
This version of The Undertaker was still donning the biker gimmick and far removed from his dead man persona. He went by Big Evil and was using The Last Ride as his finishing manoeuver. What followed between the two unlikely opponents (at the time) was amazing and simply perfect in execution.
It was the upstart rookie taking on the experienced veteran. The match went back and forth with chair shots, chokeslams, and ladders. As the match reached its conclusion, Jeff Hardy valiantly tried to climb the ladder to claim glory for himself but was stopped by a vicious chair shot by Undertaker to the back. Jeff recovered and was within inches of getting the title but was given a chokeslam by The Undertaker. As Jeff Hardy fell to the mat, The Undertaker claimed the title and won the match.
After the match, The Undertaker tried to beat Jeff Hardy down and essentially putting him in his place. But Jeff wouldn't. Just as The Undertaker was about to leave on his motorcycle, he took the mike and screamed in pain that he was still standing. This prompted the Dead Man to get back to the ring to destroy Jeff but he stopped. He just shook his head and raised Jeff's hand.
It was a sign of respect. Not only in story terms but really speaking, Jeff Hardy was given the rub by The Undertaker. He may have lost the match but he got the respect of The Man from Death Valley. And the rest is history!