When I was a kid in the 80’s I watched wrestling religiously. In high school I grew away from it. One night however in the late 90’s I landed on the station playing RAW and I saw these two guys wearing baggy cargo pants and that initial image made me stop and watch. They were different. Of course we are talking about Matt and Jeff Hardy.
The Hardy’s drew tons of money in the 2000’s and were over like Austin and Rock. I have always been a wrestling fan and always pretended to wrestle on my trampoline as a kid but the Hardy’s made me want get into the business for real. They were from North Carolina like me, and they were about my size, so I said if they can do it then so could I. Call me a mark if you must. I tried out for the first season of Tough Enough and as luck would have it I was selected as one of the cast members. We met a lot of the big names during that experience. We walked in one day and saw 2 ladders standing on the ring and on the ladders were Jeff, Matt, and Lita. When I told them I was from NC, Matt called me “Carolina Blood” and that felt pretty cool to have something in common with those guys that nobody else in the room could claim.
Fast forward to April 22, 2003 when Jeff Hardy was released from WWE for drug use, no show’s and a fleeting desire to give his all. That was the first of now many bumps in the road for the Hardy’s.
•May 17, 2005 – Suspended by TNA for no-showing the Hard Justice PPV
•December 11, 2005 – Suspended by TNA for no-showing the Turning Point PPV
•March 11, 2008 – Jeff is suspended for a wellness policy violation
•September 17, 2008 – Nashville International Airport incident where it is said he appeared to be intoxicated
•September 11, 2009- Arrested in his home for possession of pills, narcotics, and steroids
•March 14, 2011- Jeff vs Sting match at Victory road where Jeff was obviously intoxicated
It’s known Jeff has had some vices. He’s had substance problems for a long time and has denied the need to go to rehab. Most abusers do. Being on the road in the wrestling business, especially at the level the Hardy’s perform at does bring wear and tear on their bodies that it’s not made to endure and it’s understandable that one would seek relief from that.
On to what happened recently that made me write this. Matt Hardy’s got fired firing from TNA. On August 20th, 2011 Matt tweeted he was taking time off from TNA. Later that day he put his Corvette into a tree. The police gave him a DWI and while he was not drunk the officer had reason to believe he was under the influence of some substance. I believe it. Have you seen the video on YouTube of both Matt and Jeff in the late night diner, maybe a Waffle House, going off on CM Punk?
They both are in bad shapeand it’s not just alcohol. Jeff keeps rubbing his nose and Matt’s face looks like his latest mug shot. It’s a sad thing to see. These are the guys that made me want to get into this business. Now here they are making me glad I’m out of it. Why is it “stars”, and I use that in parenthesis for a reason,become addiction hounds? Why is it that when popularity grows everything becomes about excess? It happens in more than just in wrestling. It’s almost human nature.
I’m not trashing Matt or Jeff. When I saw Matt’s mug shot I noticed how humble he looks. Matt’s YouTube channel is full of “look at me” moments and here he is looking like a homeless man. I hope we don’t have yet another tragedy in wrestling. I’ve personally known 5 people in the business to die from some sort of substance abuse. Matt has been saying for a couple years he is going to reinvent himself. I assume he’s only talking about his in ring persona but I hope both Hardy’s can reinvent their personal lives, gain some self discipline and ditch all the negativity that surrounds their lives.
-This was written by former WWE Tough Enough contenstant, Chris Kaliber, who wished to have his piece written on the SSP. Big thanks to Mr. Kaliber!