Jeff Hardy’s drug suspension
Well, we know now why Jeff Hardy, perhaps the hottest wrestler in WWE over the past few months, dropped the Intercontinental title to Chris Jericho last night on Raw. Hardy has been suspended for 60 days by WWE for a second violation of the company’s drug policy, wwe.com reported this morning.
This is a devastating blow to the career of Hardy, who seemingly had turned his life around after battling with personal issues in the past. He had finally become the main-event-level wrestler that many observers thought he was destined to be when he entered WWE with his brother Matt a decade ago.
Hardy, who was the odds-on favorite to win the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXIV on March 30 and was likely to get a run with the WWE title at some point this year, now won’t even be on WWE’s biggest show.
One of the main reasons for Hardy’s recent ascent was his daredevil-like style, which naturally raises the question of whether the toll it has taken on his body has anything to do with the drug policy violation. In an Associated Press story, WWE spokesman Gary Davis would not say what drugs were involved.
“My body feels weak in a lot of places,” Hardy told me in an interview last January. “I know I’ve got herniated discs in my neck and my back, which isn’t extremely serious — they could lead to being serious. I’ve got [bone] chips in my elbows. I can’t wrestle a match without getting my ankles taped because they feel like they’ll shatter on me. Recently, I think I got a chip in my right kneecap, which is really starting to bother me.”
WWE has been criticized by fans and some pundits for not putting the title on Hardy at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January or making him part of the WrestleMania main event. But, in hindsight, WWE absolutely made the right call. How embarrassing and disrputing would it have been to have the WWE champion or a WrestleMania main-eventer suspended three weeks before the event?
Hardy now will have to rebuild his reputation again from square one. The big question is whether WWE will ever trust him enough to give him a run on top. Recent history suggest it’s not impossible. We need to look no further than current WWE champion and WrestleMania XXIV headliner Randy Orton, who has had his own issues in the past. And a few months ago, TNA brought in Scott Hall — whose alcohol and drug problems are well documented — and booked him a a pay-per-view main event, which he no-showed and then ended up back in rehab.
Hardy’s setback has definitely put a damper on what is always the most exciting time of year for WWE. But WWE and WrestleMania are bigger than any one individual, and the show will go on and likely be a huge success. I just hope that Hardy can eventually overcome his demons.