23. Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy (I Quit Match, WWE Backlash 2009)

This (as far as I can tell) was the final match of the Hardy vs Hardy feud. Instead of ending it on a high note, this is a low note. You think of ‘I Quit’ matches, you think of the ultraviolent Rock/Mankind, Cena/JBL or Foley/Flair matches. Granted, by 2009 WWE had entered the PG Era, so there was no chance of blood or barbed wire. But you can still have other forms of ultraviolence in a PG setting! You just have to be creative…and this match is anything but creative.

I think if this bout was called a ‘Submission Match’, then much of it would get a pass (I used to think Hart/Austin at ‘Mania XIII was an ‘I Quit’ match, but it was actually a ‘Submission’ match…and that’s also very violent!). For 90% of the bout, the Hardys exchange submissions. Matt works on Jeff’s legs for the first ten minutes, but Jeff quickly forgets about that whilst executing his ‘Whisper in the Wind.’ Then Jeff works on Matt’s leg…until finally a table in brought out! Then a ladder…then some ropes…

And that’s about it. No chairs, no kendo sticks, no death defying leaps from ladders. I understand an ‘I Quit’ match should involve submissions, but at least it should involve weapons being used to batter the opponent into submissions!

The ending is laughable, ill-thought out and downright disappointing. It’s one of those ‘If you don’t say ‘I Quit’ then I will commit GBH’ endings that I abhor (John Cena’s ‘I Quit’ matches tended to end like that as well. And his ‘I Quit’ matches have a sufficient amount of ultraviolence…but the endings are usually weak). The amount of time it takes to set up the ladder, tables and ropes feels like it goes on forever…and the crescendo of boos that follow the ending sum it all up.

For a blow-off to a months-long feud, this is disappointing. I’m not sure if it was supposed to continue afterwards, because Matt Hardy broke his hand, thus putting him on the shelf for a while (and Jeff would leave WWE in the summer). But even if it was meant to end with another match (Matt had two victories over Jeff by this point in the feud), this ‘I Quit’ match should rank as one of the worst in WWE history.

They did have a second ‘I Quit’ match, in 2016 at IMPACT Wrestling. So maybe I’ll seek that out to see if it’s any better…

Hammy’s Rating: ** (out of 5)

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