By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
Throughout 2008, the year I started watching wrestling regularly, I liked Matt Hardy, but I never truly declared myself a fan of his until he turned heel at Royal Rumble 2009. I was fully expecting the returning Christian to get involved in that night's WWE Championship match between Jeff Hardy and Edge, as rumored, so I was in total disbelief when it ended up being Matt Hardy. But what appealed to me the most about him as a heel was the way he carried himself and the dark persona he had. It was a real breath of fresh air for his character at that time and the most interesting he had been in years.
At the time, I didn't mind the feud between Jeff and Matt. I couldn't tell you as a sworn fact because I don't clearly remember, but I might have even enjoyed it at times. Looking back on it, though, the rivalry was an absolute mess. It had the same build as Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart from 15 years earlier with Jeff (Bret) refusing to face his envious brother Matt (Owen), and it worked in that way. But the thought of Matt burning down his brother's house in storyline (something that actually happened) was blasphemy. The feud jumped the shark at that point, but at least fans still had a hell of a wrestling match at The Show of Shows to look forward to.
I tend to give WrestleMania 25 flack for being a lackluster show, especially with it being the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania, and rightfully so. It wasn't an exceptional event by any stretch, and I've always said that its sole saving grace was obviously Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. Well, I lied. The No Disqualification match between Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy was an underrated gem on the undercard, so the next time you check out WrestleMania 25 for Michaels vs. 'Taker, be sure to catch this contest as well.
Regardless of whether you liked their feud or not, it was damn cool to see the two brothers have a WrestleMania match against each other. That's something they dreamed of for their entire lives, along with winning the World Tag Team Championship together. They already accomplished it early on in their careers, so for them to square off on the grandest stage of them all was an absolute treat. Plus, you don't need to watch the weeks of their barely passable promos to enjoy this delightful display of arduous risk taking and extreme wrestling.
If you're currently watching TNA (and I'm assuming you aren't), you'd noticed Matt does a terrific job of completely changing up his character whenever he turns heel. That was also evident in 2009 when he debuted all-new attire for this match with Jeff, showing the significance of this bout. Meanwhile, Jeff wasn't thrilled to be going up against his brother at first, but that didn't mean he was going to take him lightly or hold anything back. He went all out during this matchup, going to great lengths and putting his body through total destruction to secure the victory, as only The Charismatic Enigma could.
But did he take one risk too many? Following a brutal affair, Jeff wanted to take it to the next level. He set up two ladders in the middle of the ring, one higher than the other, and prepared to jump over the taller one so he could come crashing down on Matt with a devastating leg drop. What he didn't anticipate, however, was Matt moving out of the way. Just before Jeff could make contact as he sent himself spiraling through the air, Matt rolled to the side of the ring and dodged a bullet, capitalizing on the hurt Hardy brother by delivering a Twist of Hate in a steel chair for the win.
Having Matt going over at WretleMania was imperative in a solidifying him as a credible heel, and you knew because of how popular Jeff was that he would bounce back from the loss. Their Stretcher and "I Quit" matches were equally entertaining and got their rivalry back on the right track. Again, if you thought Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels was the only reason to watch WrestleMania 25, think again. Don't underestimate the awesomeness of the Hardy brothers clashing on the grandest stage of them all.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #27: Mr. McMahon vs. Shane McMahon, WrestleMania 17"
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