The Controversial Decision: Evaluating Jeff Hardy’s Heel Turn in TNA

The Controversial Decision: Evaluating Jeff Hardy’s Heel Turn in TNA
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On a recent edition of his “My World” podcast, Jeff Jarrett discussed the career of Jeff Hardy in TNA/Impact Wrestling and signing him for his first run.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:


On Jeff knowing how to get over: “And that’s another thing that is — you hear old-timers through the years, I think I remember Dick Murdoch saying something to the effect, Wahoo McDaniel on a car ride. Guys that know how to get over? You’re not going to deny them, period. We’re using that theme a lot, get over; Jeff was one of those guys who knew how to get over and stay over. So finishesm matches, high spots, did not affect whether he wanted to be there or not. The outside forces that he was dealing with, that affected him. Obviously pretty bad.”

On whether he was in favor of turning Hardy heel in 2010: “I could probably think of — well, yeah, I just thought of one. But when Hulk came in, to his defense he came in with all the power. If he kept things exactly the way they were, I know from his — I would assume from his brain space, he would go, ‘Well, they don’t need me here. They don’t need this or that. So I’m going to make a bunch of changes.’ And Dixie encouraged it from the beginning, I always thought Hogan’s best role would be an ambassador out validating what we were already doing. We were having success, we were profitable, but we needed a louder megaphone, a louder spokesman, a more well-known one. But Hulk came in; what made the brand different? One of the things was the six-sided ring. ‘Get rid of that.’ You know, he dogged me on some promos who, for the lack of a better word, as we’ve joked in this podcast, in a lot of ways I was one of the faces from — not a talent, from a business perspective of the brand.

“Well, Jeff Hardy is someone that we brought on board. Obviously WWE, massive lineage, but — and we haven’t really even got into it. God rest his soul, Don West, he could talk for days. And when we would strategize back at the office and go out on live events and the way Don would meticulously get into the DNA of the strategy of how we were going to sell things, Hardy was always at the tip-top. Kurt would sell a lot of t-shirts and merchandise, but everybody would love to have a picture with Kurt Angle in the ring. Me, I’m going to sell 20, 25, 30 guitars at a high level. So sell some meet and greets, and I’m maybe selling the 8x10s in the program and I’m kind of the face of the brand and all this. Don had Jeff plugged in everywhere in that merch, down to his wristbands and trinkets. He would say, ‘All right, we got three or four trinkets from Jeff Hardy. We got three or four skews of t-shirts. We got to create this mega kind of grand thing of, ‘Hey, can we do a limited number of photo ops with Jeff during intermission?’ And that’ll help us sell t-shirts, but we can only do 30.’ I mean, he was amazing on his strategy to monetize things.

“There was not even a close second that Jeff was our merch mover. Period. It’s even silly, I mean, I could go on and on about that. You know, I was recently telling a story about when I looked at the SKUs, when the Fiend was red hot, it was the Fiend and others as far as selling merch off of the active roster, I’m sure Cena is 10 to 1 right now selling merch. But Jeff was that needle mover. And when they came in, I understood that Hogan and Eric wanted to do things differently because in a lot of ways, that may validate their high salaries and paychecks and all that. But creatively, I thought, ‘Okay, you’re going to make Jeff Hardy — I didn’t want to call him a heel. Let’s call him an antagonist. What will he do to antagonize his protagonist? What’s Jeff going to do to make people either hate him or resent him or angry or whatever it is?’ That’s just not in Jeff’s character. And I’m not saying real life, I’m talking about his persona. So Conrad, I thought it was from a business perspective, a horrible decision. But at that point, I was on the outside looking in. And from a creative perspective, I ran the play to the best of my ability. I was worried about live events and internationals, but creatively I went right along with it.”

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Jeff Hardy’s Impactful Career in TNA/Impact Wrestling: A Look Back

Jeff Hardy is a name that resonates with wrestling fans all over the world. Known for his high-flying moves, charismatic persona, and unique style, Hardy has left an indelible mark on the wrestling industry. In a recent episode of the “My World” podcast hosted by Jeff Jarrett, the career of Jeff Hardy in TNA/Impact Wrestling was discussed, shedding light on his impact and the decisions made during his tenure.

One of the key points highlighted in the podcast was Hardy’s ability to get over with the audience. Jarrett mentioned that Hardy was one of those rare talents who knew how to connect with the fans and stay over. Regardless of the finishes or high spots in his matches, Hardy’s dedication to his craft and his understanding of what it takes to be successful in the industry were evident. However, it was the outside forces and personal struggles that affected him the most.

The discussion also touched upon a pivotal moment in Hardy’s career when there was a debate about turning him heel in 2010. Jarrett expressed his concerns about this decision from a business perspective, as he believed it went against Hardy’s natural character. He felt that Hardy’s persona was not suited for being an antagonist and that it could potentially harm the brand. However, as Jarrett was on the outside looking in at that point, he had to go along with the creative direction set by Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff.

Another significant aspect of Hardy’s impact on TNA/Impact Wrestling was his merchandise sales. Don West, a key figure in the company’s merchandising strategy, recognized Hardy as their top merch mover. From t-shirts to wristbands and trinkets, Hardy’s merchandise was strategically marketed to maximize sales. West even suggested limited photo ops with Hardy during intermission to create a sense of exclusivity and drive t-shirt sales. This emphasis on merchandising showcased Hardy’s popularity and the value he brought to the brand.

Throughout his career, Hardy has consistently proven himself as a fan favorite and a top draw. His unique style and willingness to take risks in the ring have made him a beloved figure among wrestling enthusiasts. Despite facing personal challenges, Hardy’s dedication to his craft and ability to connect with the audience have solidified his status as one of the industry’s most iconic performers.

As fans continue to follow Hardy’s journey, it is clear that his impact on TNA/Impact Wrestling will be remembered for years to come. From his high-flying maneuvers to his charismatic presence, Hardy has left an undeniable legacy in the wrestling world. Whether he was a face or a heel, his ability to captivate audiences and generate merchandise sales made him an invaluable asset to the company.

In conclusion, Jeff Hardy’s career in TNA/Impact Wrestling was filled with memorable moments and significant contributions to the industry. His ability to get over with the audience, his impact on merchandise sales, and his dedication to his craft have solidified his status as a wrestling icon. As fans, we can only look forward to what the future holds for this extraordinary performer.