Couture's Championship Profiles: WWF Lightheavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy
By James E. Couture
Jan 25, 2007, 10:13
Folks, it's the man who's so captivating, you might get Stockholm Syndrome reading this, me, James E. Couture. Since I've picked up Jeff Hardy in my WWE Fantasy Team, the Mighty Jim's, I've thought many a time how weird it is to see Jeff continually pulling out wins as a singles champion. It wasn't always like that, no, it wasn't like that at all. And so, I present to you one such occasion, the oft forgot Lightheavyweight Title reign of Jeff Hardy!
The WWE didn't always treat it's Cruiserweights like crap. No, prior to the historic Invasion of 2001, it treated it's LIGHTHEAVYWEIGHTs like crap. Often the Lightheavy Champ would go weeks or months without being seen on television, without a peep (or Cadbury creme egg) from the announcers. But in mid-2001, the WWE totally recommitted to pushing the Lightheavyweight Title, and they weren't even kidding this time!
"Yes, we felt it was our duty to uphold the proud tradition of Scotty Too Hotty, Gillberg, and Men's Teoh...Taka Michinoku? Who's that?" -Jim Ross, sound byte from grand opening of "Good Ol' J.R.'s House O' Ribs", 2001
Jeff Hardy had failed to wrest the Lightheavyweight Title on previous occassions, most notably beating the Unstoppable Essa Rios only by DQ, after being ironically screwed by Lita.
But June 7, 2001 was a different story. Hardy, recieving a title as a reward for showing up to the arena only 32 minutes late (a new record!), took on hot old comer Jerry Lynn. In a tremendous match featuring an arabian powerbomb, and probably Jeff Hardy's three "guarenteed-in-every-match" moves (the jawbreaker, Whisper in The Wind, Swanton), Hardy upset Mr. JL and the Lightheavyweight Title he had heard so much about.
"I was really proud of Jeff. I'm....I'm sorry. I'm a little choked up. I promised myself Matt Hardy will...not....CRY!!"
-Matt Hardy, "Bullsh_t: The Mighty Mantaur Story", Lifetime Network, 2004
But, like his Intercontinental Title reign before it and his Hardcore Title reigns to come, it was to be more Mr. Bob Backlund than Original Bob Backlund. After losing to Kurt Angle in the King of the Ring tournament, after 17 days as champion Jeff Hardy brought it to heights it hadn't seen in months, defending at the King of the Ring Pay Per View against X-Pac Sucks, er, X-Pac (it just comes out). After a hardfought match, in which Hardly saved his title with the ol' foot on the ropes trick, Jeff pulled out a victory. But it was all for naught, as that Lightheavyweight Rope Trick led to X-Pac getting a rematch the next night on Raw. The leader of X-Factor (the one with Albert, not Multiple Man) was not to be denied. The 1-2-SyxxPacKid was Lightheavyweight Champion.
Still, Jeff Hardy had successfully padded his resume, which now totals out at reigns with 5 different WWE Championships, without getting anywhere near something resembling a World Title. Bravo, Jeff. Aim low.
Well, until Eddie Murphy co-stars in a movie with someone besides himself in a fat suit (Trading Places 2, perhaps?), I am, in fact, James E. Couture.
And hopefully Jeff Hardy will move over to SmackDown! so he can win their 3 lesser titles and be King of Midcard.
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