Jeff Hardy: Next WWE champion?
After the Survivor Series pay-per-view in November, this is what I wrote about Jeff Hardy: “I think the company has finally realized that he is ready and able to take it to the next level, and I would love to see a Randy Orton-Jeff Hardy title program.”
Obviously, I have gotten my wish. When I wrote that, however, I was thinking that an Orton-Hardy title match at either Royal Rumble or No Way Out would be a good bridge to the real money program – Orton vs. Triple H at WrestleMania.
But after watching Raw the past two weeks, I think the long-term plan – if indeed it was to pit Orton against Triple H for the title at WrestleMania – needs to be changed. I think Hardy should win the WWE title from Orton and headline WrestleMania as the champion, either in a singles match with Triple H or a triple-threat match involving Orton.
In a development that few could have predicted, Hardy has become the hottest act in WWE, and the company should give him the ball and see how far he can run with it. His feud with Orton has made for compelling television, highlighted by Hardy’s death-defying moves on the past two episodes of Raw.
Until Hardy’s recent surge, his once-promising career appeared to have been derailed by personal problems as well as the company’s glass ceiling. Like many observers, I believed he was the next Shawn Michaels when he arrived in WWE in the late ’90s. But after a while, I actually thought Matt Hardy surpassed his brother as far as potential and marketability simply because he was more dependable.
Now 30 years old, Jeff Hardy seems to have gotten his act together. He is carrying himself like a main-eventer and the fans are responding to him like one. More importantly, WWE is pushing him like one. That push should include a title run, even if it’s a brief one.
The key in this equation is Triple H. There’s no question that he is going to be involved in the main event at WrestleMania; it’s just a matter of who his opponent will be.
Triple H versus Hardy would make sense from a story line standpoint. They had formed something of an alliance a couple months ago, and then Hardy defeated Triple H to earn a shot at Orton’s title. Plus, it is believed that Triple H wants to turn heel soon, and nothing would generate more heel heat for him than turning on Hardy and feuding with him over the WWE title.