Jeff Hardy is a mess. There’s no debating it. If you love him, that’s fine. But you can’t defend him from that statement. Dude has his problems.
Sunday night, TNA’s Victory Road pay-per-view was short one World Title contender when Hardy showed up to the event in no condition to compete. Sting, the Champion, refused to take any unnecessary risks by wrestling Hardy while he was under the influence, and as a result, the show’s main event was 88 seconds long and featured one move. Post-match, Sting was visibly upset, the crowd was audibly let down, and the TNA creative team was left standing with egg smothering its collective face.
This wasn’t the first time that Hardy’s substance abuse was a source of concern. It wasn’t the second, third, fourth, or fifth either. Because he has such an extensive history with of being unreliable due to his dependencies, one has to wonder why TNA didn’t have a contingency plan in place, or at the very least call an audible during the show to give the paying audience their money’s worth. Although the onus is on the company for not doing anything to appease the crowd, ultimately Jeff Hardy is solely responsible for Sunday’s fiasco. And, well, being solely responsible for disasters like this one is nothing new to the Charismatic Enigma.
Strap yourself in for a brief history lesson on Jeff Hardy, the wrestling luminary that could have been.
Jeff Hardy’s always been a bit of an oddball, and as a result, rumors always swirled about deviances in his personal life. The first real evidence of his drug problem made public, however, came way back in 2003. The Hardy Boyz had recently broken up and Jeff was experiencing his first singles push. Onscreen, he was paired with the WWE’s premier female, Trish Stratus. Offscreen, he found himself in hot water with WWE management due to his regular tardiness to and no-showing of events. In April of that year, Hardy was released from the company due to his excessively erratic behavior, drug habits, and refusal to go to rehab. His deteriorating ring performance, which was evident to anyone watching his matches, was also cited as a reason for his termination.
Hardy made a brief stop in Ring of Honor after his departure from WWE. After being harassed, heckled, and humbled by the ROH crowd, Hardy took a year off from wrestling all together.
In the middle of 2004, Hardy made his TNA debut. In May of 2005, the company issued him his first suspension. It came after he no-showed the Hard Justice pay-per-view, a show on which he was advertised to wrestle Raven. His suspension was lifted later that summer, and he performed for TNA wrestling for just four months before his next incident. In December of 2005, Hardy no-showed another pay-per-view event, Turning Point, and as a result, faced another suspension. This marked the end of his first run in Total Nonstop Action.
In August of 2006, Jeff Hardy returned to World Wrestling Entertainment. Just under a year later, in July of 2007, he received his first strike under the company’s newly instated Wellness Policy. Hardy was in the midst of a feud with Intercontinental Champion Umaga at the time, and he abruptly disappeared from WWE programming. After quietly serving a 30-day suspension, Hardy returned and resumed his feud with the Samoan Bulldozer. A week later, by way of an extreme display of faith by the WWE, Jeff Hardy captured his fourth Intercontinental Championship.
Just after this win, Hardy began his ascent into the main event scene. The charismatic young star earned a shocking victory over Triple H at Armageddon that year, and although he came up short in his WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, Hardy looked poised to finally make the leap into the upper echelon of the world’s wrestlers. In March of 2008, it all came crashing down. Hardy violated WWE’s Wellness Policy for the 2nd time, and as a result, he dropped the Intercontinental Championship to Chris Jericho on the March 8th edition of Raw. He was pulled from WrestleMania’s Money in the Bank ladder match, a contest in which he was heavily favored. Hardy served a 60-day suspension and received a second strike next to his name. In September of 2008, a visibly intoxicated Hardy was not allowed to board his flight at Nashville International Airport, although nothing more came of the incident.
Upon his return, WWE pushed Hardy into the main event scene despite his well-publicized off-camera struggles. From December 2008 through August 2009, Hardy was a main event player in the WWE, holding the World Heavyweight Title on two occasions. This didn’t prevent Jeff from continuing to ignore the Wellness Policy, however, and in late 2009 he received his third strike. Jeff Hardy opted to leave the company on his own accord before he was fired. Regardless, Hardy was gone from the WWE, although this was now the least of his worries.
On September 11th 2009, a search of Hardy’s home revealed 262 Vicodin pills, 180 Soma pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a residual amount of powder cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. Hardy was arrested on charges of trafficking in controlled prescription pills and possession of anabolic steroids.
Despite his pending legal troubles, Jeff Hardy returned to TNA Wrestling on the first Impact of 2010 and was thrust into the main event picture that summer. Hardy began his first TNA World Title reign this past October, and in December he was almost pulled from the Final Resolution pay-per-view’s main event after being deemed too intoxicated to wrestle. At the last minute, however, TNA decided to continue with the match as planned. Since then, Hardy has since added a second TNA World Title reign to his resume, one that we all saw Sting end a few weeks ago.
The most recent development in Jeff Hardy’s downward spiral came Sunday night at Victory Road. After embarrassing TNA by spoiling their main event, news of Hardy’s intoxication at the show spread across the internet like wild-fire. After the show, Hardy tweeted “Things are op,” not exactly an encouraging sign. Yesterday, Hardy was sent home from TNA’s Impact tapings, and thus far no decision has been made about his future with the company. Now 18 months removed from his arrest, Hardy has still yet to stand trial. He’s expected to enter a guilty plea, but the case has seen continuance after continuance. His next court date is tomorrow morning, and one has to wonder if 3/16 will be the day that America’s legal system opens up a can of whoop ass on Jeff Hardy.