– Jim Ross spoke on the latest Grilling JR about Jeff Hardy’s famous ladder match with the Undertaker. The match took place on the July 1st, 2002 episode of Raw, and saw Hardy challenge Undertaker for the WWE Undisputed Championship. Hardy ultimately lost the match, but his refusal to stay down and willingness to take everything Undertaker had led to the Dead Man (then a heel) to give Hardy a show of respect in the ring.
Highlights from the discussion, plus the full podcast, are below:
On who’s idea the match was: “Well, I’m assuming somebody in Creative had the idea. I can guarantee your ass that Undertaker had a hand in it. Because he actually participated in what he did. You know, he had something to say to add to the match. And of course, Jeff Hardy was so excited about the opportunity to wrestle the Undertaker in a one-on-one match on Raw, live, that he was up for about anything. So it was a great cooperative effort by both guys. And Undertaker made Jeff Hardy a star that night. Now, that could be argued by ‘Well, he was made a star in the TLC match.’ He was. All those guys were. All those guys were. Edge and Christian, Dudleys, they all became famous off the TLC matches. And they deserved the fame. But for Jeff on his own without Matt there, without a tag environment, this was it. This was the big moment, in my view.”
On his line “Climb the ladder kid, make yourself famous” during the match: “I said that, I don’t have any idea [where it came from] — it just came to me. I was wrapped up in the match, loving every minute of it. I god-damned sure wasn’t giving backstory when they’re climbing the ladder. I was trying to get you excited, on the edge of your seat because something was about to happen. The false finishes in a ladder match are getting on the ladder. So it’s a tough match to call in that respect. Because pinfalls and submissions mean nothing. So I thought that that was Jeff Hardy’s — one of his greatest moments as a single. Even over winning a title. Dancing with the Undertaker the way he did was pretty sensational. I’ll never forget that match, it was really, really extraordinary.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.