Dueling Diaries: Day 2
Dueling Diaries: Jeff and Matt Hardy
By Craig Tello with photos by Rich Freeda and Eric Johnson
April 2, 2009
Matt's media march, 5:07 a.m.
After spending a long first night in the Bayou City, anxious for Sunday's confrontation, Matt emerges from his hotel room at 5 a.m. for an early series of media appearances. A quick scan of text messages, voicemails and e-mails later, it is still dark out as Hardy meets with local NBC reporter Mariza Reyes for a live television interview.
Studio lights out, 8:53 a.m.
Limited time for rest, Matt makes it to the local KRIV television studio for a live appearance on Fox 26 Morning News. In a darkened green room waiting area, Matt sneaks in a most impressive power nap before stepping onto the interview stage. He makes good use of a lighting sand bag to rest his head for mere minutes until a producer's knock cues Matt for an on-camera shoot beside newscasters Sibila Vargas and Jose Grinan. No make-up, no powder, no prep. Just Matt.
Rays of light, 10:10 a.m.
A door opens on one of the most upper floors of the WWE-captive hotel, allowing some light into Jeff Hardy's fully darkened room. The enigmatic competitor glides out of his temporary domicile -- a familiar concept for him -- to begin his day. Jeff briefly stops and stares out over the hotel lobby and its many rooms. Ordinarily, Jeff might be on his way to meet his older brother to hang loose. But those days are long gone; now, it's just Jeff.
Looking back, 11:40 a.m.
One similarity the Hardys still share is their adoration of the squared circle; they are and forever will be fans of this unparalleled form of entertainment. Thus, it's no surprise to find Matt Hardy gazing at countless WWE artifacts at a memorabilia station in the emptied Reliant Center, the site of WrestleMania Axxess.
Amid WrestleMania paraphernalia from all decades, Matt singles out WrestleMania IV as a critical factor in his steps toward Superstardom.
"I wasn't a die hard fan at the time, I was a fair weather fan," he said. "But after learning that Macho Man -- the wrestler I picked to win -- did win, I remember going to the video store and renting this event and watching it."
He added, "This is the moment that Jeff and I became lifelong fans. From that week out, we never missed wrestling; WWE, NWA, WCW, whatever. That's the point where we decided this was what we wanted to do."
The early arrival, 1:37 p.m.
The unique Superstar departs from his hotel and heads off for a ride on Houston's many winding highways. Jeff's end destination: Reliant Stadium, Sunday's battle ground. Outside the home of WrestleMania XXV, Jeff scans the broad perimeter of Reliant Park, a 350-acre backdrop for The Biggest Spectacle of Them All.
Entitlement, 1:40 p.m.
A glisten catches Matt's eye -- one that arguably caught his eye years ago when he began his career in the ring. The source is the WWE Championship, a title Matt's certainly aimed to capture one day.
The WWE Title is also the same gold Matt cost his brother, which is likely the thought crossing his mind as he narrows in on the displayed treasure. Matt looks through the glass, almost beyond the physical prize in front of him to the anguish he's caused Jeff. A proud grin forms on his face, creasing his signature facial hair.
Setting the stage, 2:23 p.m.
Jeff greets WWE production crew members who are tirelessly constructing the stunning set and layout of Reliant Stadium, a weeks-long task. Discussing the turbulent Road to WrestleMania between him and his fraternal enemy, Jeff converses with familiar faces, passing structures freshly assembled.
An eyeful, 2:31 (EXCLUSIVE VDEO: JEFF IN RELIANT STADIUM)
At first glance, Jeff is instantly awed by the massive stadium that is still in the preparation process before being invaded by roughly 70,000 card (and ticket) carrying members of the WWE Universe. Looking up at the vast retractable roof, Jeff can barely believe the immensity of the surrounding structure.
"It's what we wait for every year," Jeff passionately detailed.
Proving grounds, 3:39 p.m.
Last year, history was made in Orlando, Fla., at WrestleMania XXIV -- an event in which Jeff Hardy did not participate. This time around, Jeff looks to write a new chapter in his personal history by overcoming his wrathful brother in an Extreme Rules Match. Jeff has awaited the approaching moment to once again dance on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
The ring mat is a common associate of Hardy's and he doesn't hasten in getting close. The next time Jeff will have this perspective of the Reliant Stadium, it will be the day he perhaps never thought he'd see since childhood: The day he takes up arms against his own brethren.
Singled out, 4:00 p.m.
Adding relevance to his confrontation with Matt, Sunday's contest will also be Jeff's very first singles bout at WrestleMania … against his brother. Pressure on.
"It's my first singles match [at WrestleMania]," Jeff said. "It's a little nerve wracking,"
"We have a lot to live up to -- brother vs. brother -- and hopefully, we do because it's going to be crazy to see 70,000 people in this place," he added, absorbing the setting one last time. "It will really set in when I come through that curtain. I'm more excited than anything else."
Up in the sky, 10:38 p.m.
Miles and miles away from his sibling's earlier haunts, Matt Hardy is equally contemplative on the now barren event grounds near Reliant Stadium. Walking the floors, Matt's attention shifts skyward, again by an unusual connection that seems to draw him to his brother at all times. The spurned elder Hardy shrugs off his disdain and moves along.
Family that ‘preys' together, 11:02 p.m.
Chillingly serious, Matt Hardy fixes himself a brooding ground in a vacant ring. Kneeling before the turnbuckle, Matt turns the squared circle into his bizarre altar. There is no prayer, however, only intended prey.
"I've always been the responsible one, the one who kept him out of trouble," Matt muttered of his brother. In just three days under Extreme Rules, the angst ridden Hardy could again be responsible, this time for endangering Jeff's career.
Diaries: Intro | Day 1 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
Photos: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
Dueling Diaries Video Gallery
More on Hardy vs. Hardy at WrestleMania
WWE.com explores infamous "Brotherly Betrayals"