Hardy cites Sting, The Ultimate Warrior, and Shawn Michaels as his childhood inspirations to wrestle. He started on World Wrestling Federation (WWF) television as a jobber—a wrestler who consistently loses to make his opponents look stronger. His first WWF match was against Razor Ramon on May 23, 1994 in Youngstown, Ohio, with Randy Savage mentioning on commentary, "Welcome to the big time". His ringname that night, Keith Davis, was the name of Razor's scheduled jobber, who backed out on short notice. Gary Sabaugh, who had brought Hardy in a group along with Davis, suggested him to agent Tony Garea, who agreed after Hardy claimed he was 18 (he was in fact, only 16). The next day, he wrestled under his real name against The 1–2–3 Kid, and the match aired on the June 25 episode of Superstars. He occasionally wrestled as a jobber as late as 1997 (including a match against Rob Van Dam during the ECW "invasion" storyline that had Hardy billed as being from Virginia instead of Cameron, North Carolina) before beginning his first major run in 1998.