Jeff Hardy: Warrior on a mission

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December 18, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The best coaches in the nation teach visualization. They train their athletes to mentally see their goals being achieved -- whether they are a field goal, a home run or that elusive championship -- and then physically follow through to make them happen.

While it's not known if Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy is a student of visualization, seeing himself crash down onto Randy Orton with a Swanton Bomb Monday night at the HSBC Arena wasn't just a mental image. It was very real. And for the WWE Champion, it was a real wake-up call.

As the newly-crowned No. 1 contender for Orton's WWE Title, Hardy has the opportunity of a lifetime as he rides the hottest streak of his singles career. In consecutive nights, he's defeated the 11-time World Champion Triple H and the current WWE Champion in tag team action.

The colorful high-flyer from North Carolina has spent years on top of the tag team division with his brother Matt, winning six World Tag Team Titles and the WCW Tag Team Championship. With his innovative arsenal of attacks, there's no question that Jeff is one of, if not the best partner a Superstar can have in a tag team match.

But Hardy has proven he's not just a tag team specialist. He's shown his talents and hiccup-quick moves translate to singles action as well, winning nine titles on his own against some of the top Superstars in WWE, earning the respect of the locker room and the adoration of his legions of fans.

"The fans don't lie. The belief they have in me, that's really made me strong," Hardy told WWE.com, still catching his breath after his exhausting victory on Raw.

A repeat of Monday's Raw win at the Royal Rumble will make Hardy's lifelong dreams of becoming WWE Champion a reality in the World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.

But Orton, who's put numerous Superstars and legends out of action with brutal attacks in the past, plans on derailing Hardy's momentum as they ride the road to their Rumble match-up.

"I'm not just the Legend Killer," Orton told Todd Grisham on Raw. "I'm the killer of hopes. The killer of dreams."

But after a month of mind games and intimidation from The Game leading up to their Armageddon match-up, Hardy is ready for anything the third-generation champion can throw his way.

"I'm not a bit afraid," Hardy exclaimed, in a manner almost as defiant as his high-flying tactics. "I'm more excited than anything to face Randy Orton. I've been beat up my whole life, but now is my time to shine and be on the offense."

Unless the Legend Killer can find a way to curtail the "Rainbow-haired Warrior's" soaring rise to the pinnacle of sports-entertainment, Hardy might soon see his WWE Championship dreams fulfilled, giving Orton nightmares in the process.

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