Hell has officially frozen over. The Best of the Hardy Boyz DVD sees WWE and TNA join forces…….kind of.
Although the initials “TNA” have been (infrequently) mentioned on WWE Home Video before and we’ve even seen some still photographs portraying WWE wrestlers in their TNA “era”, Twist of Fate – The Best of The Hardy Boyz DVD marks a historic first. Courtesy of Impact Wrestling’s Global Wrestling Network service, this WWE produced set features genuine TNA/Impact footage. Even allowing for WWE’s increased acknowledgement that other wrestling exists over the past decade, it’s still a stunning turn of events considering that Impact Wrestling is still an active competitor (of sorts) for the WWE dollar.
In some ways, it is perhaps the greatest selling point of this set. Even if the footage is all in clipped form and the whole discussion of Matt and Jeff of their Impact days is moderately short, it’s a welcome addition to this collection of some of The Hardy Boyz greatest matches and at least provides some context to each man’s long absence from the WWE.
The match clips are just that, short clips, and we also get a few fun moments from their days as Broken Matt and Brother Nero. In essence, you can see why Impact Wrestling would co-operate. Even though the Global Wrestling Network is not quoted by name, its logo is seen loud and clear in the clips. As an advert for a service that many casual WWE fans may not know about it’s pretty good doing. Even if they have to take a couple of jokey knocks from Matt & Jeff along the way. But then maybe Matt and Jeff were often asked why they had retired and whether they were ever coming back to wrestling when they were outside of the WWE bubble.
The set is 3 discs and nearly nine hours of Matt and Jeff matches (as said, all from WWE) interspersed with an informal interview with the boys from the Hardy compound. Although long-term fans will learn nothing new from the interview segments they certainly provide an interesting insight into the motivations and aspirations of the Hardy’s at the different parts of their careers. Both men make for entertaining and engaging speakers.
We start with one of their first televised matches as a team in June 1998, against the long forgotten New Rockers of Marty Jannetty and Leif “Al Snow” Cassidy before their first ever televised win from a September 1998 episode of Heat against Ka-En-Tai. Such was their rise, less than a year later they are defeating the Acolytes to lift the first of their many WWE Tag Team Title victories. It was their series of matches with Edge & Christian, and then joined by the Dudley’s, that really put them on the map. The No Mercy “Terri Invitational Tournament” Ladder Match from No Way Out 1999 was a true watershed moment for them, their opponents Edge & Christian and tag team wrestling in the WWE at large. That, after a diversionary match between Matt and Jeff from a December 1999 Smackdown, it is followed by five matches including E&C says it all. The WrestleMania 2000, SummerSlam 2000 and WrestleMania X7 matches which also involved The Dudley’s may have knocked years of the careers of all six men but the fact that they are fondly remembered (and stand up) today says all you need to know about how revolutionary they were.
It might seem strange that tag team action that also includes The Undertaker, HHH and Stone Cold Steve Austin is almost overshadowed by the high-octane matches that precede it on this collection but it’s arguably a true statement. More battles with the Dudley’s (including a very good Steel Cage match from Survivor Series 2001) are followed by the two going their separate ways; Jeff clashes with Chris Jericho, whilst Matt Hardy has a pair of battles with Rey Misterio. Anyone who missed the “Version 1” of the Matt Hardy character is in for a treat here.
The Hardy’s return to the WWE in 2006 and work with newer talent, in matches that Matt Hardy reveals, were invigorating for the pair. Their match with MNM was THE only highlight of what may well still remain the worst ever PPV promoted under the WWE banner, December to Dismember 2006, whilst matches with Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch from Backlash 2007 and a Ladder Match against Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin from One Night Stand 2007 offer plenty of entertainment and action too.
The emotive feud between Matt and Jeff from 2008 is dealt with in detail, with even admitting that his responsibility in the storylines for burning down Jeff’s house was a step too far for him. An Extreme Rules match from WrestleMania 25 is rushed, but still exciting, and an I Quit Match from Backlash 2008 is a wild one.
Their TNA exploits, as mentioned before, are covered and although both brothers take the opportunity for a couple of light-hearted wisecracks at TNA they do admit that it afforded them the creativity and the ability to take risks with their characters that the world of Vince McMahon doesn’t necessarily.
The final section of the run-down covers their WWE return in 2017, from the wild and exhausting WrestleMania weekend (the two wrestled a near-half-hour long Ladder match for Ring of Honor the night before their triumphant WM return) to their feud with Sheamus and Cesaro. The Tag Team Iron Match from Great Balls of Fire is a particularly choice cut. We end with a Jeff match against the Miz and a look at Woken Matt Hardy.
Although there will always be matches that some fans will think should have been included (and some that shouldn’t) on a collection like this, the match choice does a pretty damn good job of successfully showing the different stages of the Hardy Boyz’ career and why they are so fondly remembered by fans. Throw in some insightful comments from Matt and Jeff and that bombshell TNA/Impact Wrestling footage and you have a collection that if not quite definitive, is a clear reminder of what the Hardy Boyz have brought to the WWE over two decades.
Format reviewed: DVD
Pictures courtesy of WWE and Fetch.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Twist of Fate – The Best of the Hardy Boyz, which is out Monday 30 April. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here