|Posted on March 16, 2016 at 4:25 PM|
The hosts of Ring Rust Radio – Donald Wood, Mike Chiari, and Brandon Galvin – recently had the chance to speak with former WWE and TNA World Champion, Jeff Hardy. Having just returned from a knee injury, Hardy is looking to return to the top of TNA and also speaks about his brother Matt’s current championship reign, his Willow character, signing a new contract with TNA, donating his brain for CTE research and more.
You can listen to this entire interview on the YouTube link below or continue past to read the interview with Jeff Hardy right here.
Ring Rust Radio: On Tuesday, you make your return to TNA Impact Wrestling after missing several weeks of action. How excited are you to get back into the ring and what is your top priority when you return; Eric Young or your brother Matt?
Jeff Hardy: I’ve been wrestling now for about seven matches, and in each match, I do a little bit more than before. I have a torn PCL, but I have a really good brace and I feel real safe in the ring. After each match, I do a little bit more than before. For example, I did a swanton a couple of weeks ago and crushed Matt in the process. I push myself a little more each time, and Tuesday I’m really going to push myself to new limits as far as the injury and where I can go and what I can and can’t do. I’m just mentally prepared, physically prepared and just glad to be back in the mix.
Ring Rust Radio: Your brother, Matt, has quickly developed into TNA’s top heel and he’s been a big part of EC3 getting over as a popular face as well. What do you think about the job Matt has done in his new role so far, and what do you think makes him vital to TNA’s success moving forward?
Jeff Hardy: He has just such a great mind. Behind the scenes, he has such a great mind for the business and pro wrestling is his life. He really does live and breathe it. It’s what he is all about. You can really tell in social media with the videos of him with his wife and son and the photos and videos they put up are just hilarious. He is such a great heel, and he is better than he’s ever been and I’m looking forward to another Jeff Hardy versus Matt Hardy match, even though it’s a little bit of a different scenario this time.
Ring Rust Radio: Obviously everybody expected you to be a multi-time TNA World Champion, but I also think many fans expected you to one day win the TNA X-Division championship as well. Is that a championship you would eventually like to for and bring the division back to what it once was?
Jeff Hardy: Not really especially now with how I had to modify myself quite a bit after getting hurt. Those guys are just too intense for me. If I have the surgery and I’m 100% I wouldn’t mind getting back in that groove and style of wrestling. I’ll leave the highflying and flipping to those guys.
Ring Rust Radio: Before missing the last few weeks, you had just returned from a serious leg injury. How does your leg feel now after a few extra weeks of rest and what was the recovery process like for you?
Jeff Hardy: It’s been rough. I broke it April 28th of last year so almost a year ago now. End of April this year I’m going to get the rod out of my tibia and hopefully it’s going to help with some of the pain that’s going on in my knee because it’s starting to come out a little bit. Once I get that taken out, I’m going to leave my PCL alone and just continue to work with brace as long as I can. Right now it’s still good and holding up. If I could show you how my knee looks now and how it moves you would think, “Wow, how are you even walking?” It’s crazy how stable it is but the brace is really good and I’m going to wrestle with that as long as I can. Having that PCL surgery is just like the ACL surgery where it is 6 to 9 months I’ll be out of action.
Ring Rust Radio: Concussions are a hot-button issue in sports right now, especially in wrestling with both Kevin Nash and Rob Van Dam recently announcing that they’re going to donate their brain for CTE research. How would you say head injuries have impacted you over the course of your career, and what would be your level of interest in potentially donating your brain like Nash or RVD did?
Jeff Hardy: My wife read where Kevin Nash announced that and I said, “Oh my God I have to do that.” I for sure will do whatever it takes and I would love to be a part of that. It’s a huge serious issue in wrestling. I’ve rung my bells so many times especially back in the day when chair shots to the head were legal. My goodness, I took so many of those. Luckily, I’m only aware of about two or three concussions that I have had but there’s really no way of telling how many overall. When Nash announced he was doing that I was on board and I didn’t know that RVD did as well. That really inspired me to do the same thing.
Ring Rust Radio: Your Willow character always seemed like it allowed you to try thing creatively that perhaps you we wouldn't have had a chance to see otherwise. Has there been something creatively, whether as Jeff Hardy or as Willow, that you wanted to try, but weren't able to or couldn't make work?
Jeff Hardy: Not really but it was a dream come true when they gave me the chance to be Willow because that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Back in the Omega days, Willow was my main character because back then Jeff Hardy and Willow were completely different. They didn’t do the same moves but it is a little harder now that I’m older. Bringing it to TNA and bringing it to life was just so cool to see and I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Willow for sure. He could very easily pop up on the live show this week. I think the time is perfect for it and we can give the people both Jeff Hardy and Willow.
Ring Rust Radio: While you have accomplished so much in your career thus far, you haven’t held the world title in TNA since 2012. What are your long-term goals with Impact Wrestling and do you believe another world title is in your future?
Jeff Hardy: For sure yeah, I am going to drive myself crazy until I when that world title. Actually, I would love somewhere down the road before my time is done with TNA to team up with Matt again and win the tag team titles. When I broke my leg, we had just won the titles and we didn’t even get to defend them. I was also the Omega champion at that same time and I just had to give it up. So I would like to try to make up for things from when I got hurt. By far I want to be the world champion again and tag-team champion again with big money Matt, even as arrogant as he is.
Ring Rust Radio: You signed a new contract with TNA recently, which means you’ll continue to be a key part of the company moving forward. Why did remaining with TNA appeal so much to you, and what do you see yourself doing beyond that contract? Could this be the last one, or do you intend to continue wrestling well beyond that?
Jeff Hardy: I don’t know, it’s hard to say especially with this injury. Right now I’m taking it match by match. It was an obvious choice and I didn’t hesitate to re-sign because I owe it to them. I’ve been riding all my life and it was a bad thing to do to get hurt outside of the ring. It really hurt TNA with me being a main player in the game and out of action. I just felt like I owed it to them, a good year of strong wrestling. I hope things happen for a reason because now it’s really challenged me to up my style and I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve been injured. I’ve been lucky considering this is my first serious injury I’ve ever had. It really has been hell but it’s also been good in a way with Matt doing so well and being on top. For future and long term, I am focused on getting through here and right now and maybe check out options next year about this time.
Ring Rust Radio: I think it's safe to say you'll one day get inducted into TNA's Hall of Fame. When that happens, what would that honor be for you and who would you like to induct you?
Jeff Hardy: I’m not really a popular fan of the whole Hall of Fame thing. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and I don’t feel deserving a lot of times. It would probably be something like they would induct me and I deny it and say I don’t deserve it. Ultimately, if it had to happen Eddie Vedder would be really cool if he could come in and induct me. I mean Billy Corgan did induct Earl Hebner.