The Evolution Of Team Xtreme: The Hardy Boyz Through The Ages
News broke yesterday that delighted Attitude Era wrestling fans everywhere when it was announced that the Hardy Boyz would soon be returning to the WWE.
The brothers first appeared in a WWE (then WWF) ring as a tag team in the late nineties, although their debuts actually came against established acts in 1994, where they were used as enhancement talents, with Jeff working under the name Keith Davis, which sounds less like a name you would associate with a WWE superstar and more like a regular you'd find in a working men's club in the North of England.
Jeff was technically not even old enough to professionally wrestle in the above match, falsely claiming he was 18 when he was in fact only 16. So before he could even buy a pack of cigs, he was getting thrown around on Monday Night Raw by Razor Ramon.
Similarly, Matt took a pasting off veteran Nikolai Volkoff on his debut as well as staring at the lights for the likes of Raiden from Mortal Kombat wannabe Hakushi before the brothers arrived full time in 1999, first under the wing of Hall of Famer and Fabulous Freebird Michael P.S. Hayes and then everyone's favourite part time vampire, Gangrel as 'The New Brood'.
It wasn't long before a rivalry with Edge and Christian was established, most notably with a show stealing performance in the final of the 'Terri Invitational Tournament' (or TIT for short. The Attitude Era was such a classy period) where the two rookie teams squared off in a tag team ladder match for the managerial services of Terri Runnels.
The match saw both young teams receive a standing ovation and elevated to superstardom within the company, especially when The Dudleys inserted themselves into the feud a few months later to begin one of the most memorable, violent and death defying tag team feuds in WWE history.
Since their table, ladder and chair theatrics dropped jaws in arenas across America at the turn of the century, the Hardy Boyz have become one of the most beloved pairs in pro wrestling (sports entertainment, if you're reading, Vince), whether that's as a team, single stars or as 'broken' brothers in TNA, where they have recently left, as per Matt's tweet, yesterday.
My stint with @IMPACTWRESTLING was DELIGHTFUL. EXCEPTIONAL talent & locker room. A great, respectful team that worked hard in tough times.- #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 28, 2017
I wish @IMPACTWRESTLING all the best going forward, especially the INDUSTRIOUS talent. I hope they're all treated with respect & fairness.- #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 28, 2017
So, as the next chapter of their career begins, we take a look back at 'Team Xtreme's' evolution over the past two decades.
Early days in OMEGA Championship Wrestling
Getting ready to do some early jobs in the World Wrestling Federation
More questionable fashion decisions, under the stewardship of Hall of Famer and Dog The Bounty Hunter look-a-like, Michael Hayes
Making their mark with Edge and Christian at No Mercy 1999
Adding tables to the mix with the Dudleys at the 2000 Royal Rumble
Team Xtreme. Solid outfits, all round...
Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Oh my...
The brothers went their seperate ways for a few years, with Matt becoming 'Version One' while Jeff headed to TNA...
Images: WWE, TNA
Reunited as WWE World tag team champions, in 2007...
Just less than two years later, Jeff would win the big one...
Only for Matt to cost him the title just over a month later...
The brothers would both leave WWE within the next year, eventually turning up in TNA, where things gradually became more and more batshit mental...
But no amount of face paint, masks and umbrellas could compare to 'Failed Magician with Sweeney Todd's hair', Broken Matt Hardy...
And of course, his 'Brother Nero'...
It's been a very long, very, very weird path, but it'll be good to have you back, lads.
Oh, and just for good measure, here's the best ever gif of Matt Hardy...
Featured Image Credit: WWE