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Following Matt Hardy
Following Matt Hardy
By Zack Zeigler with photos by Rich Freeda
March 28, 2007
As a child growing up in rural North Carolina, Matt Hardy and his brother Jeff dreamed of one day competing in the Mecca of sports-entertainment—World Wrestling Entertainment. At age 18, Matt achieved that goal. He and Jeff went on to form The Hardys, capturing numerous tag team championships as well as the respect and admiration of the WWE fans.
Now Matt is all grown up and has matured into a well-rounded, level headed SmackDown Superstar fueled by competition. His dream of competing at WrestleMania has once again become a reality. WWE.com will follow Matt Hardy all week before he steps into the ring to face seven other Superstars, including Jeff, in hopes of earning the opportunity to compete for a World Championship. What does the frenzy of WrestleMania do to Matt's life? Check with WWE.com through the week leading up to WrestleMania 23 to find out.
No Plan B
Matt Hardy never had a plan B. There was no question in the North Carolina native's mind that when he grew up there was only one profession he'd accept. "There was never a point where I said ‘I'm going to quit my dream of becoming a wrestler.' I never lost the faith. There were times when I said prayers that my dreams would come true, but there was never a point where I didn't believe Jeff and I would eventually be in WWE."
Many WWE fans credit The Hardys with the evolution of the tag team division. However, the high flying duo's breathtaking aerial maneuvers and numerous tag team championships represent more to Matt than a solidified position alongside WWE's most notable twosomes. "Jeff and I had each other. When I was hurt the other would pick up the slack; if one of us was down the other would pick the other one up. It was the most amazing support system ever. With the two of us together we felt there were no odds we couldn't overcome."
Parting Ways, 1:30 p.m.
Matt and Jeff drove to SmackDown's live event in Grand Rapids, Mich. together. With WrestleMania 23 the next stop and the brothers facing the inevitability that they'll be forced to compete against one another, the two decided it would be best to drive to Detroit separately. Matt said he understood the gravity that his match at WrestleMania 23 represents, and said he was going to use the two-hour drive as a way to begin getting focused.
Arrival, 4:25 p.m.
The home of WrestleMania 23 is anything but ordinary. Days before the event will take place, Ford Field has the aura of WrestleMania III — an overwhelming magic engrained in the air. Matt Hardy is trying to remain at peace before he puts his championship hopes on the line. "On Sunday I'm going to sacrifice my body, take chances and it's going to be dangerous. Getting out of the car, my lower back tightened up. I'm sore as hell right now. I did an international tour of the Caribbean three weeks ago, maintained a full schedule in the U.S. with SmackDown, went to Mexico with SmackDown and then I came back and wrestled on Raw and SmackDown. That takes a huge toll on your body… but it's all worth it. We only have one shot in this life, and you have to make the most of it. WrestleMania is one of those nights that you live your whole life for."