The heartwarming story of Jeff Hardy's redemption finally came to a head Sunday, as Hardy triumphantly returned to the ring to… wrestle on the pre-show against Cesaro? Ouch. Is he being punished for his brother going to AEW? Well, this is just the start of the comeback. The big money match for Hardy will eventually be against… Seamus? Oof.
Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro
Hardy and Cesaro locked up to start and Cesaro got a 2-count after an Irish whip and shoulder tackle. The pair traded side headlocks for a while and Hardy took control. After some offense, both men rolled out of the ring and Hardy took a running leap into Cesaro's arms. How sweet. Unfortunately, Cesaro rejected Hardy's loving gesture and dumped him on the barricade.
Hardy crawled back into the ring and got his head stomped and grinded under Cesaro's boot for his trouble. Cesaro choked him on the ropes and then dove feet first outside the ring and into the back of Hardy's head. A second-rope elbow drop got a two-count. Cesaro went full bully, making Hardy put himself in a headlock and giving him noogies. Be a star.
Hardy reversed an Irish whip into the corner and hit some more of his signature offense. He dropkicked Cesaro out of the ring, but Cesaro tossed Hardy into the apron a couple times and shoved him back in for a second-rope leg drop and a two-count. Some more punishment from Cesaro and another two-count. Cesaro hit some forearm uppercuts and led into the exciting abdominal stretch. After Cesaro unzipped Hardy's shirt to boost those female demo ratings, he mounted him and gave him a half dozen forearms to the face.
Is it Hardy comeback time yet? Cesaro got a two-count with a suplex and… back to the headlocks. Jeeze, there's no audience here for the heel to annoy with all the rest holds, so what is this accomplishing? Okay, now it's Hardy comeback time as Hardy hit the jawbreaker and the two traded blows. Hardy hit a reverse atomic drop and "vintage Hardy" according to Michael Cole for the two-count.
Hardy missed a Twist of Fate but went to the top rope, where Cesaro kicked his legs out from under him. Cesaro climbed the rope too to go for a gutwrench suplex, but Hardy elbowed him off and hit Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. The announcers sold a knee injury in this sequence for Cesaro. Cesaro hit some forearms and Hardy hit a backslide for two. Then, a Twist of Fate for two. Hardy slammed Cesaro and headed to the top for a Senton Bomb, but Cesaro was too quick and hit the top rope gutwrench for two.
Jeeze, this match is going on for a long time. Hardy reversed a neutralizer attempt but Cesaro hit a clothesline for two. Hardy rolled out of the ring as this 45-minute epic continued. Time for some ringside violence, which ended with Cesaro being thrown into the steps with his "bad knee" first. Hardy tossed him back into the ring. "What's Jeff have in mind here?" Cole asked. Dammit, Cole, you know damn well what he has in mind. Senton bomb. Three count.
Jeff Hardy's glorious return is off to a great start as the dozens of people who watch pre-show matches were kept in rapt attention as they lamented this match's length infringing on their snack-getting time. I rate this match two and a half meth pipes. Follow Bleeding Cool's ongoing live Money in the Bank coverage here. Watch Money in the Bank on the WWE Network.