Reported by Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com
Stylin' & Profilin' #2: Congratulations Jeff Hardy!
On Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 12:03 AM EST Congatulations Jeff Hardy!
By Mike Klubnik, Wrestleview.com
March 31, 2008
Reported By: Mike Klubnik of WrestleView.com
Congratulations Jeff Hardy! You had won over your biggest critics and had the majority of them clamoring for you to be placed in the main event at Wrestlemania. That’s right, Jeff. The hardcore “smark” fans who think they know everything about the wrestling business were now cheering you on! Smarks were starting to toy with the idea (and actually feel comfortable with it) of letting you stand side by side with John Cena as the biggest babyface in the biggest wrestling promotion in the industry. These same smarks were praising your work and raving about your progress as a worker. It appeared you had finally “got it” in the ring. Fantasy bookers were even calling for you to win the WWE Title at Wrestlemania. Just to clarify, and put this into perspective, I feel the need to remind you that Wrestlemania is the biggest show in the wrestling industry, and only comes around once a year. The Wrestlemania main event is traditionally used to shape the direction of the WWE in the coming year. Again, I feel the need to clarify something. The WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion in the industry to date, and the majority of wrestling fans were practically begging for you to be involved in the headline match at this show. Has that sunk in yet?
Congratulations Jeff Hardy! After spending the majority of your career being considered nothing more than a “spot monkey”, someone who simply performs high risk moves for the sake of doing them, you had seemingly learned how to add a little bit of depth to those moves. You were no longer jumping off ladders and the top rope simply to draw a big gasp from the crowd. Your moves were calculated, contrived, and usually used in context with the current storyline you were involved in. The case in point being when you jumped off the top of the Titantron onto Randy Orton to end RAW a couple of weeks before the Royal Rumble. You teased the spot, and made it seem to be more than just a high risk move designed to awe the crowd. You made it clear during that episode of RAW that you were going to get even with Randy Orton for re-injuring your brother. The end result was a dramatic, shocking moment on WWE programming that left even the most hardcore wrestling fans breathless.
Congratulations Jeff Hardy! In 2003 you were released from the WWE for a variety of reasons ranging from “burn-out” to refusal to enter drug rehab. After bouncing around in the abyss that is TNA and the independent circuit for several years you found your way back to the WWE in August 2006. Sure, most people thought you were just going to bounce around the mid-card before flaming out again, but you proved everyone wrong. You had staying power. Not only did you have staying power, but you proved that you could become a wrestler capable of doing more than jumping off of ladders! The result was a push to the top of the card, a permanent fixture in the Intercontinental Title picture, and even a main event push that culminated at the 2008 Royal Rumble. You were, in fact, a favorite to win the 2008 version of the Money In The Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 24. Then the unthinkable happened. Suddenly, without warning, you were suspended for violating the WWE’s substance abuse policy for the second time. Just like that your main event push and title aspirations were over (or at least put on hold).
Congratulations Jeff Hardy! You taught wrestling fans why they shouldn’t invest in you.
If anything, Jeff Hardy’s suspension should be a lesson to the WWE fans more than anything else. His problems are nothing new. It’s easy to forget that back in 2003 he refused to enter drug rehab, no-showed events, was late to others, and was eventually released. He had similar problems in TNA. In fact, TNA got tired of his act too. That should tell you something when you consider that they’re still giving a guy like Scott Hall yet another chance. In all fairness to Hardy, he deserved a second chance with the WWE. He’s always been a popular wrestler, and there’s always a market for high-flying wrestlers. After all, the first time around, he was in his mid-20’s when he was first released, and perhaps didn’t “get it” yet. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eddie Guerrero, and many others have had discipline, tardiness, and drug problems early in their careers. As they got older some of them were able to overcome these problems and have borderline legendary careers. Others haven’t been so lucky, and ended up in the gutter no-showing Pay Per Views for low-budget WWE wannabe promotions.
What is most troubling about Hardy’s suspension is that it’s nothing new. It’s the second time he’s been suspended in the last year under the current WWE Wellness Policy. It isn’t about steroids (it never is with Hardy). It’s about his recreational drug use, and his decision to use marijuana, cocaine, or whatever it is he does in his free time. It would be one thing if he was trying to get ahead with performance enhancing drugs. That would at least show that he was trying to get ahead professionally. Instead it’s about Jeff’s desire (or perhaps his need) to engage in activity that is likely illegal. It shows a lack of maturity, respect, and perspective, even more so than using steroids. It also smells eerily similar to a guy who was always over with the fans and in the middle of the push of his career when he got arrested for drugs in Ironton, Ohio just weeks after winning both the WWE and ECW title’s. Rob Van Dam has shown on several occasions that it’s all about Rob Van Dam, and no one else.
So where does this leave Mr. Hardy? At this point the jury is still out, but it has been documented that Jeff Hardy doesn’t think he has a problem. So let’s call a spade a spade: Jeff Hardy doesn’t get it. Jeff Hardy really doesn’t care about his career, and perhaps most importantly, Jeff Hardy doesn’t care about his fans. He’s been down this road before and knows what the end result is. He is either going to have to play by the WWE’s rules, or he’ll be bouncing around the independent circuit and TNA in no-time. If that happens it’s a shame. Hardy had virtually every wrestling fan on the globe behind his push and calling for him to have a chance as WWE Champion (put that into perspective for a minute. The WWE Champion is the face of the WWE). He’d learned to make the most out of his abilities and apply a little ring psychology to his matches. Simply put, the WWE had accidentally stumbled on a guy who could be a draw for the company in the post-Austin/Rock era.
Maybe Jeff Hardy recovers from this most recent suspension and it all ends up being water under the bridge. Maybe Jeff Hardy permanently finds himself in the main event after his suspension. Maybe Jeff Hardy goes on to have multiple title runs and ends up being the biggest draw in the post-Austin era. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think it’s more likely he goes the route of Rob Van Dam and walk away so he can do what he can play by his own rules. Either way, as far as Jeff Hardy is concerned, after I finish this article, I no longer care about him anymore. I figure, why should I? He’s been given a second chance and nothing’s changed. He’s proven what a lot of people have thought but kept to themselves in recent months: Jeff Hardy only cares about himself, so why should the fans really care about him?