The Stigma of Being Related to an Enigma
No one can imagine what has been running through Matt Hardy’s mind since that chaotic September 11? since that afternoon he walked into the Moore County (NC) Sheriff’s Office and bailed his younger brother Jeff out of jail. Feelings of sympathy and misfortune, betrayal and disappointment maybe.
Only less than three weeks removed from this tragic ordeal, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that there were questions of the utilization of Matt within the Smackdown brand five days following the arrest. An entire month spent in professional wrestling limbo, reasons having nothing to do with injury or suspension, is never good for anyone? especially when it involves someone you are related to who was once regarded as one of the premiere performers in the same industry.
It is a situation that I cannot begin to analyze. No one can accurately describe the feelings and emotions that must be coursing through the elder brother’s mind. There is something that we, as professional wrestling enthusiasts, can do? we can at least try to piece together the questions that would be running through our minds if we were walking in Matt Hardy’s shoes.
This is not a ?hangover? by any means?
Why am I bailing out Jeff?
I know this may seem very coarse and cold-hearted for me to be asking this, after all they are brothers and it is what any loyal and loving family member would do for one another. The reason I would be asking this question if I were in Matt’s shoes is this: Why am I ?physically? bailing out Jeff?
Sure you can provide the bail needed to release him from jail, but there is nothing saying that you need to do it personally. Jeff has many close friends who would be more than happy to be ?the first? to console and be the one confided in. All the while you would act as the benefactor of such tidings? helping your brother from afar.
However, since Matt chose to personally bail his brother out of jail, I?m sure this next question was rampaging through his persona?
What will my superiors think of this?
Again, I?m sure we could easily respond with his ?brotherly actions? as reasons to look at him with compassion? but with the nationwide attention this story grabbed and the appallingly lengthy resume Jeff has of unprofessional behavior, a company could easily look at Matt with condemnation.
I honestly don?t believe Matt to be anywhere remotely close to the kind of logic that Jeff possesses, however through the eyes of a nation and not its ears you are the company you keep. It’s even more difficult to disprove this old adage when your own professional status within the company is on a lower tier compared to your ever-slipping-from-the-top-rung younger brother.
This definitely serves as a great segue to a question that has been running through my own mind and I?m sure has been running through Matt’s?
Why do I still associate myself with Jeff?
Let’s be perfectly honest and deliberately frank? Matt Hardy was nothing when Jeff was not in the federation. Before you start blasting me with hate-filled e-mails about his ?Version 1.0? character, think with a little bit of clarity. What has Matt achieved without his brother in WWE?
Lower-echelon belts. Mid-card feuds sometimes bumped to lowball status. These distinctions are not because of in-ring performances or his arduous work ethic, this is because of his association with the younger, visually-flamboyant, and risk-breaking brother. One member of a highly successful tag team moves up while the partner moves down? ask Stevie Ray, Jim Neidhart, and Marty Janetty how that feels.
Again? don?t bombard my mailbox with hatred fueled by your devotion to the performers I?ve uttered. It needs to be admitted? professionally, without their tag-team partners, all four never succeeded.
So how does Matt overcome the stigma of being related to an enigma? It is actually quite simple and devilishly ingenious? banish your brother per storyline.
Imagine Matt Hardy slowly walking down the entrance ramp to the ring. No music playing to herald his arrival. He slowly ascends the stairs bearing a face showing about as much expression as a beige room. Over his staunch frame, the high-selling ?blue-red brothers? t-shirt, illustrating him and his brother in comic book-like form.
Matt Hardy stands in the center of the ring, staring into nothing and acknowledging no one. Through the camera you see eyes devoid of any compassion or empathy. Reaching over-shoulder, Matt slowly takes the shirt off and lets it slip from his fingers onto the mat. Methodically reaching into his pocket, he grabs for something but it is so small that no one in the audience can make it out.
From the sparks emitting from his fingertips, it is realized it is a cigarette lighter. Dropping to one knee, the elder brother ignites the visual metaphor of his relationship with his younger brother? destroying everything that bonded the two.
There is no need for interview or private discussion made for camera. There is no need for explanation or justification from Matt Hardy. All that is needed from him is a look of pure disdain and all that is needed from the complimenting cast of announcers on each television taping are reactions of bewilderment and confusion.
Arguments can definitely be made that Matt Hardy’s career within WWE will never be the same or better than what it once was. What can be said, though, is that WWE and its creative writing staff can try to make the most out of what has been dealt to them. Instead of pretending that September 11, 2009 never took place? exploit it.
Matt Hardy and his long-term involvement within WWE as a mid-card talent and potential builder of younger talent might be appreciative of it.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
Annoy me with your assumptions and affronts… adore me with your adulations and acknowledgements: Reality from Ringside.