Following Jeff Hardy
Following Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy was not in an enviable position at Cyber Sunday. The defiant Intercontinental Champion faced uncertainty heading into his match, unsure of who would challenge for his beloved gold. Throughout the day, Jeff showed us his unique method of preparation which seemed bizarre to many, but at the end of the night, Hardy was victorious.
12:30 p.m. -- Jeff arrives at the U.S. Bank Arena
The Intercontinental Champion has arrived. Jeff is in a relaxed mood, almost as if he is looking forward to the uncertainty that lies ahead. Tonight at Cyber Sunday, he will defend his title against any one of three challengers. He will not know who he faces until that man walks through the curtain.
"I'm a fighting Champion. I'll be ready for anything."
1:00 p.m. -- Jeff greets his fans
Jeff's high risk style has made him one of the most popular Superstars in the history of sports-entertainment. Through his career, Jeff has had many ups and downs, but his fans have stuck with him the entire way.
"My fans are my foundation. They are the source of my success. My performance is motivated by those people that have been with me the whole way. It's always nice to see them outside the arena."
1:45 p.m. -- Jeff casts his ballot
Jeff has made it clear that he is ready, willing, and able to face any of the three men on the ballot. However, with match time closing in, he has apparently decided which opponent he'd prefer to face, because he's on the computer voting away.
"I wouldn't mind facing Nitro. I already took his title, but I think my fans would love to see me kick his ass again. Beating him tonight would be icing on the cake."
2:15 p.m. -- A stroll in the park
In a few hours, Jeff will do his thing in front of thousands of fans. For the rest of the afternoon, though, Jeff wants to be alone. Right now he's walking down the banks of the Ohio River, perhaps pondering the possibilities that await him.
"I'm soaking in the silence. It helps me clear my mind and focus on the tasks at hand."
2:45 p.m. -- Jeff stops for a rest
After a long walk along the river, Jeff has stopped for a break. He's leaning on a tree, one of many that line the shore. It seems as though Jeff has is moving into another world at this point. He is completely calm, and at peace with himself.
"I am one with nature."
3:30 p.m. -- Conversation
Jeff has briefly interrupted his silence to make a phone call to his brother Matt. The relationship between the Hardys is as strong as ever, and the two talk every day. Jeff and Matt are discussing the specifics of tonight's match. Matt has been involved in Taboo Tuesday in the past, so he is a good source of advice.
"My brother has a great mind for this business. He's experienced so much, and he's seen it all. I trust Matt, and I value his opinion."
4:00 p.m. -- Monkey business
Jeff's phone conversation has ended and he's back on his journey to silence. There are several bridges which pave the path to Kentucky and Jeff has found one that he likes. There are fenced walkways which line the bridge, allowing pedestrians to pass in safety. Jeff is not in a steel cage match tonight, but that doesn't stop him from sharpening his climbing skills.
"I'm still a kid at heart."
4:15 p.m. -- Silence discovered
Play time is over. Now, Jeff is getting re-focused. He stands on the Central Bridge, looking out on the Ohio River. In his sights are the nearby Great American Ballpark, and Paul Brown Stadium. Those stadiums are empty, though, as the people of Cincinatti have converged on the U.S. Bank Arena. Jeff isn't concerned with the frenzy though, he's too focused.
"What a view"
4:40 p.m. -- In the zone
By this time, many Superstars are preparing in the locker room. Not Jeff. He's found a secluded alley a few blocks from the arena where he can be by himself. He's got his iPod with him, and he's listening to his favorite band, Pearl Jam.
"Pearl Jam always eases my mind and fires me up at the same time."
5:00 p.m. -- Naptime
In a few hours, Jeff will be in the ring and ready for action. Right now, though, he needs a nap. He's recharging his batteries for the battle that lies ahead. One can only wonder what Jeff is dreaming of in his slumber.
"I love a good nap. It's a secret key to my success."
5:30 p.m. -- Balance
Jeff has awaken from his nap. Now he's starting to get his game face on. He's found a ledge which sits some 200 feet from flat pavement below. The saying "don't try this at home" comes in to play right here, because Jeff is walking a virtual tightrope. One misstep could result in certain injury, but Jeff is a pro.
"I love testing my balance. If I can't keep it here, I'll never be able to keep it in the ring. I need to be on top of my game for a match like this."
6:05 p.m. -- Getting in the gear
Showtime is approaching, so Jeff has re-entered the arena. Many of the WWE Superstars share a locker room, but not Jeff. He has made his way to a secluded back room where he can change and prepare by himself.
"I don't need constant conversation. I like the silence of being alone. I don't need to be running around, getting fired up. My fire comes from within."
7:15 p.m. -- Last-minute preparations
Jeff has left the locker room and has found a secluded hallway to perform his last-minute preparations. Tonight, like always, he will undergo an intense stretching routine. Physicality in the WWE can produce injuries, especially with Jeff's style.
"I always stretch before my match. I need to have my full capacities, because in a WWE ring, it's very easy to get hurt."
8:25 p.m. -- Time to shine
The tag match has ended. Jeff is up next. The Intercontinental Champion is at an extreme disadvantage tonight as he doesn't know who his opponent will be. His title is at risk, but then again, Jeff's life is full of risks.
"I'm soaking up the atmosphere. I can hear the fans, they are ready. So am I. I know this could be last moment with the belt, so I'm going to savor it. I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep what's mine."
8:50 p.m. -- Victory
The night is over for Jeff Hardy. He overcame incredible odds to defeat Carlito and retain his Intercontinental Championship.
"I felt butterflies and I felt the pressure. It didn't hit me until I was out there that I didn't even know who I was facing. When I realized it was Carlito, I quickly put a game plan together, and thankfully it worked out. It was a good night."
Photos from Jeff Hardy's day
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