Smarked for Death – WWE on Netflix – Twist of Fate.

Oh, Matt and Jeff Hardy.  How far you two have fallen.  WWE released a DVD a couple years ago detailing the rise, fall, and comeback of the Hardy Boyz.  This DVD is now available as a watch instantly movie on Netflix.  In the years between initial DVD release and its debut on streaming, a lot has happened.  This is a look at the abyss that the Hardys fell into, one that not even Nancy Drew can pull them out of.

This documentary boils the Hardy brothers down to two things: drugs and wrestling.  These are the two most important parts of their lives, and all decisions that they have made flow out of it.  If either man had something else in life, another talent or skill, then maybe their lives wouldn’t be so tumultuous.  Follow me along on this.

Matt and Jeff want to be wrestlers.  However, due to a lack of options (or possibly ignorance) they are gifted with a trampoline and decide to train themselves.  In their backyard.  Within 10 minutes WWE tells us to not try any of this at home, but if you do you could end up like the Hardy Boyz!  Xtreme!

Matt Hardy builds an entrance, belts, promo area, and begins to “train” other wrestlers.  Matt, who will live his career as a “smaller” wrestler finds even smaller wrestlers five years his junior (oh hello Shannon Moore, what brings you here?) to “train”.  This dream, which in every other scenario should have failed dozens of times already, somehow continues and the Hardys boys and friends traveling wrestling show (ECWF) performs at a fair in front of 500 people.  500 people!  To watch a bunch of skinny non-trained wrestling kids.  Three lessons to be taken away from this.  One, Eric Bischoff may have been on the right track with his Mat Rats TV show idea.  Two, Davey Richards needs a better booking agent because I’ve seen only 100 people turn out to see him.  Three, there is jack shit going on in North Carolina at this time.

Leaping ahead and the North Carolina crew are working as jobbers in WWE.  They are being booked by classic WWE jobber the Italian Stallion.  Stallion (as I’m sure he’s known to friends) drives a group of these kids to various WWE shows in order to get their asses kicked.  Each kid is payed $150 for their match.  Stallion demands $100 of it as his driving, booking, agent fee.  The kids pay Stallion this money.  Every time.  For every match.  Because of “respect” and “learning the business” and “paying our dues”.  Paying your dues is an important thing in wrestling.  Everyone should have to come up through the independents and learn the craft.  Build a name for yourself.  Sit under the learning tree.  However Matthew and Jeffrey needed someone to tell them that paying their dues didn’t actually mean paying with cash.  Excuse me, let me call one of my friends:

“Hey, its me.  I got you a job but its a 3 hour drive for one night’s work.  You’ll be paid $150 and I’ll drive but you have to give me gas money.”

“Sounds fair.  How much?”

“One hundred of it.  Also, we’ll do this many times and I want $100 each time.”

I don’t care if Stephen Hawking is teaching me while he drives (and there’s an image), no one has $100 worth of knowledge to impart to me per road trip.

Fast forward, WWE puts some energy behind the Hardyz and pair them with a hot girl.  Instant chemistry happens and one of the biggest acts in wrestling history emerges.  Matt, goofy wrestling obsessed kid from North Cakalake, starts fucking the pretty punk girl from, well from everywhere.  Arguably one of the most popular, most loved, and most lusted women in all of wrestling history chooses to bed down with the kid who has thought of nothing but wrestling since Santa Claus brought him a trampoline.

Yet when it all explodes in the face of the wrestling world, Matt is surprised.  If a girl constantly moves around, changes jobs, changes locales, changes her hair every other day then maybe she’s not the most stable person in a relationship.  While the DVD mentions that there were many great matches between Matt Hardy and Edge that came out of this bit of real life, the fact that Hardy came out looking like a bitch while Edge began to rise is glossed over.

Post Edge feud it starts to look like Matt Hardy’s star will also rise.  He has a run with the US title and a tag team feud and championship with MVP.  This, only eclipsed by Edge, is Matt Hardy’s best storyline as a singles wrestler.  He might finally break through now that he is removed from his brother.  The best thing to happen to Matt is for Jeff to go away.  The moment he stops comparing himself to his brother is when he starts to build his own career.  However, everyone interviewed compares the two and that would take an incredible amount of effort to remove it from your mind.  Matt hasn’t succeeded in doing that yet.

Then the DVD restarts and there is a shorter, less detailed biography of Jeff Hardy.  Here’s the short version.  Jeff’s mom died while he was young, they lived out in the woods  and Jeff didn’t have a lot of friends.  This isolation combined with the lack of exposure to the outside world results in Jeff becoming a fucked up kid.  He’s weird, his art is weird, his music is weird.  Everyone starts making the leap to Jeff the artist being Jeff the wrestler, who creates art in the ring.  I’ll agree Jeff is an artist.  Not that I think his work should be up in museums or anything.  But because Jeff creates things to get his feelings out and there is no consideration of money.  Its not about selling the art or becoming known for it, but about creating something and fuck you if you don’t like it.  In that respect, I’ll agree that he’s an artist.

What Jeff Hardy also is is a drug addict.  The word is barely spoken in this video though.  Jeff has his demons, his problems, his issues.  No.  Fuck that.  Jeff is a drug addict and that is the term that needs to be used.  If Harry Potter taught us anything its that by not saying a word, like Voldemort, you give that word power.

All of the words that were spoken about Matt Hardy not an hour ago are now meaningless.  Every WWE employee says how talented Jeff is and that he is a future world champion.  If Jeff could stay clean and focused he could have been one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.  Fans love him, he takes a beating like no one else, and he makes money.  Instead, people coddle and protect him.  This has led to Jeff still getting pushed and then abandoning WWE as soon as life got hard.

And Matt went with him.  Because he doesn’t know who he is without his brother.

Classic Hardys is still some of the best tag team wrestling ever in wrestling.  However, that’s not what this DVD is all about.  Its the rise and fall of the Hardy brothers, without being called such.

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