We met Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestler Jeff Hardy, the Charismatic Enigma, in his dressing room before a recent match at NYCB Theatre at Westbury.
Why did you train for TNA?
It's just more alternative and it's just different and I'm a different kind of cat and I can be more of the enigma that I want to be with the music and with the art and just the professional wrestler in general. I can be a better one. There you can be limited in what you can do. Here I have more free like I can express my spirit more.
How old were you when you won your first championship?
I want to say I was 21 years old. I was 20 or 21 I believe, and we beat The Acolytes, Bradshaw and Ron Simmons. They used to destroy us week after week and eventually in our hometown, Cameron, N.C., we beat them on "Monday Night Raw." I think it was like one of the coolest moments of my career.
At what age did you start to wrestle?
I started wrestling professionally, I did my first television match at 16, but I was wrestling at country fairs and national armories when I was 14. But 16 I would say I pretty much started my professional career because that was my first match at WWF at the time and here I am still jumping off ladders.
What inspired you to become a wrestler?
There's a certain art form to it and like back in the day when I would see Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, Sting -- especially the Ultimate Warrior and Sting -- with the face paint and just larger-than-life characters.
I was obsessed with it and then I learned more about professional wrestling and how the beauty that does exist in it is truly an art form. I just became obsessed with it and I said this is what I have to do.
And now, here I am. Now when I paint my face I'm thankful every night that I have a chance to be truly who I am professional wrestling and that I'm really proud of what I evolved into.
If you weren't a wrestler what would you be?
I think I would be running a landscaping company. I probably would be cutting a lot of grass, weeding a lot of edges. I was doing that before I made it in professional wrestling. I tried to make it in motor cross, but I became an amateur and that's a tough sport and becoming a professional. But I would probably say landscaping.
What is your relationship with your brother like now?
My brother Matt and I, we have a great relationship. He's currently doing some Ring of Honor shows. So he's been on TV. I think that comes on Saturdays and he's doing good there. And working a lot of independent shows. So he's staying busy. He's pretty much his own boss. But we still stay in touch.
How did you come up with your ring names?
Actually the Charismatic Enigma, I think it was Matt's idea originally. And then there was a time when I was called Rainbow Warrior. But originally my first time in TNA is when I started using the Charismatic Enigma, and then it wasn't used much when I was in WWE. But now when I'm back here in TNA it's really the Charismatic Enigma.
Did you wrestle when you were a kid?
When I was a kid I wrestled my high school amateur wrestling in junior year. It was just one year and I was already kind of professional wrestling -- I finished third in the state championships.
I was in great shape, it's a tough sport, but the athletic director said I couldn't wrestle anymore if I continued to get paid for being a professional wrestler. It would be like going to the NFL and coming back and playing high school football.
Why did you like to do art?
Art has always been my claim to fame. In school I was always straight As in art all the time. Not so much with math and science, but art was always my deal and it still is.
To this day there's nothing I love more than being at home with a blank canvas. I have this vision in my head, that I just start with it and most of the time it changes throughout the process of it. Same thing with my face -- I have this idea and these colors but all the time it changes.
It really turns out to be something cool and I think that's what I love most about seeing the finished product which was created, and especially my paintings at home.
We read you used to play football. What position did you play and what's your favorite team?
When I played football I was fullback and linebacker, and I would have to say my favorite professional team is the Seattle Seahawks.
Who are your enemies in WWE and TNA?
In WWE for a little while my brother was my enemy, but at the same time it was cool because brothers fight and we had our chance to fight in WrestleMania. It was pretty awesome.
Here I would say Ken Anderson has been my enemy. Right now the biggest enemy is every member of Aces and Eights for sure, and Bully Ray right now for the most part is my biggest enemy.
What is your favorite tattoo and what does it mean to you?
Right now my favorite tattoo is probably the snake that's going down my side around roots. I'm a plant-life lover. I love to landscape, I love to plant trees and watch them grow and I would probably say all of my root system that goes all the way up my arm is my favorite.
And I do have this one that's Japanese for health -- that was one of my first tattoos I got. That's pretty special because I worship health and hope to have it for a long time. But all my root system I would say is my dominant favorite.
What is your favorite wrestling move?
You would think I'd say the Swanton bomb, but I think as far as the move goes and the name goes I would say Poetry in Motion, which is the Hardy Boys' tag team move, where I jump off Matt's back -- it's just such a cool name.