Vintage Notes: On Jeff Hardy (circa 2002)

Jeff Hardy’s T-shirt captured our attention over the past few weeks.  It was old, well laundered, sleeves cut off, with a picture of himself from his early days as a wrestler.  Why invoke the past, we wondered, as brother Matt Hardy surges forward in his new gimmick: “Matt Hardy Version One: Mattitute!”  Meanwhile Jeff sinks deeper into his body-painted, black-lit alternative gimmick, descending, as Mr. Devin Andrews noted, into an almost aboriginal aesthetic.  (Who knew alternative meets up with aboriginal on some circular spectrum of subculture?)  He finally tore off the old shirt in a match, so we’ll no longer ponder its meaning.  However, Tommy told me of a peculiarity he witnessed as he marked around by the back gate before the RAW show.  A FedEx box was delivered, and the security guy who took it didn’t seem to know what to do with it.  “What is it?” somebody asked.  “I don’t know, man,” said the security guy.  “They said it’s Jeff Hardy’s shirt.”  He had the old T-shirt FedEx’d!  Called his Mom (or, Tommy insists, his boyfriend) and had it rushed.  It was part of some image emergency he was having.  A floundering gimmick, I will agree, is a sad, sad thing indeed.  We all wish Jeff Hardy well, I think.  And Big Show and Test and Christian.  We hope the best for their struggling gimmicks.  It is a relief for these guys to get over.  Everyone recognizes how hard they work, even when they make for piss-poor TV.

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