WWE – Twist Of Fate: The Best Of The Hardy Boyz (Cert 15)
3 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 492 minutes approx.
Whilst it might not seem it, the career of the rare the genuine sibling tag teams in wrestling, the daredevil brothers from Cameron, North Carolina Matt and Jeff Hardy spans over 25 years, with 2018 being 20 years since their signed their first full-time contracts with WWF, after four years working as enhancement talent.
Despite a lot of peaks and troughs both personally and professionally, and a catalogue of highly reckless and career shortening bumps – mostly involving ladders – the Hardys are still active today, having reinvented themselves many times over the years. Now both respected veterans in the business, the brothers get their own career retrospective via WWE Home Video.
“Career retrospective” is the best description for this presentation as while the curtain is pulled back about the wrestling business from their perspective, seldom is there any personal information shared. So, if you want to know more about Matt and Jeff the people either wait for their autobiographies or visit their Wikipedia pages for a potted version.
Featuring the brothers chatting informally by a nighttime fire on the Hardy compound, this laid-back approach presents an interesting dichotomy when juxtaposed against the fast paced, high-risk matches these segments punctuate. Serving as pre-WWE backstory are home videos clips of the brothers as teens on the indie circuit and their own promotion OMEGA.
Matt made it onto WWF TV first against Nikolai Volkoff on a live edition of Monday Night RAW in May 1994 while Jeff fell to Razor Ramon at the same tapings (they didn’t mention Jeff worked under the name of the guy scheduled to face Ramon, Keith Davis, who pulled out at the last minute). A montage of the brothers being routinely destroyed as single wrestlers precedes a tag match against the New Rockers from 1996.
Sadly they skip the one off masked gimmick of Ingus and Wildo Jynx and jump to their first win after officially being signed to a WWF contract in 1998, defeating two members of Kai-E-en-tai on a live edition of Sunday Night Heat which didn’t air here in the UK so this is an exclusive for us Brits. On that front, there are also a couple of matches from Smackdown from before it was picked up by SKY in 2000.
To begin what could be considered the classic era of the Hardy Boyz we jump to their 1999 Tag Title win over The Acolytes. Managed by Michael Hayes, the brothers openly mock him for wearing the same tight shirts theirs. Shortly after the Hardys became The New Brood when Gangrel betrayed former protégés Edge & Christian. A quick note to point out that copyright reasons sees the original Brood music overdubbed with the familiar Hardy Boyz music for these matches.
Next is the legendary three-way feud between the Hardyz, Edge & Christian, and The Dudleyz. All three ladder/TLC matches are featured once again in full, with the brothers discussing how hard they found it to top the previous bouts, recognising how crazy the bumps were, and how close it brought all six people together (and no, the Matt-Lita-Edge love triangle is not discussed).
Surprisingly the brothers were quite philosophical about splitting as a team and pursuing solo runs in 2002, but the focus here is mostly on Matt’s run with two matches from his feud with Rey Mysterio over the Cruiserweight title. Jeff’s release in 2003 and joining TNA in 2004 is explained here by Jeff as needing to recuperate from “burn out” and exploring other artistic outlets.
The Hardyz second WWE run from 2006-2009 briefly covers their next phase as tag champs then the split and feud, which they both said they enjoyed and felt comfortable doing at that stage of their careers when it didn’t work before. Jeff left in 2009 after being burned out again which is addressed but no mention of Matt being released from WWE for a second time in 2010.
We now arrive what will be the most talked about section of this release as the brothers discuss the TNA/Impact Wrestling years complete with footage from TNA – a first for a WWE release! Jeff had rejoined TNA in early 2010 and Matt followed a year later, but both were released due to their drug use – an inebriated and spaced out Jeff’s 90-second PPV main event against Sting being a colossal low point – not discussed here of course.
Instead the narrative here is that the Hardyz worked there as a team until the Broken Universe saga began. Curiously, Jeff’s memory of his first TNA run resurfaces mentioning he had been there before during his first “hiatus”! The evolution of the Broken Universe is covered, accompanied by clips of the original skits and the Final Deletion match.
However, both recall how paradoxical it was that they were on national TV every week with TNA/Impact yet people would ask them if they had retired from wrestling just because they weren’t in WWE anymore, whilst at the same time they were winning over fans far and wide with their Broken antics!
This set closes with the current WWE return beginning at Wrestlemania 33 (avoiding explicitly mentioning working a ladder match against The Young Bucks for ROH the night before) and how Matt was worried if Jeff would be all right, and the feud with The Bar, ending with a bonus off-air clip of Jeff leading an “Obsolete” chant at RAW 25.
Looking at this in terms of match quality and entertainment fulfilment there is plenty here to satiate any wrestling fan let along Hardy devotees. The real draw – beyond the novelty of the TNA footage – is the candid interview but being a WWE controlled product, it isn’t candid enough.
But for what we get under the restrictions is far more than edifying than the old kayfabe days so in terms of reflecting on the past and staying true to the present, this is a pretty decent release all told.
Rating – ****
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