Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WWE/TNA Tales: The Rise and Fall of Jeff Hardy and Other Sombre Cases

When I began watching wrestling in 1998, I was relatively new to the sport when World Championship Wrestling began exploiting Scott Hall’s demons on television.

Hall was a longtime alcoholic and at times, WCW would allow Hall to wrestle intoxicated. Despite the fact that it ruined Hall's marriage to his wife Dana, Eric Bischoff and WCW Management allowed Hall to continue his destructive antics.

The angle disgusted thousands of fans to a point where his wife Dana wrote a letter about Scott and his employer.

Flowing with emotion and anger, Dana pleaded with WCW to end this angle and claimed that Scott’s alcoholism ruined their marriage, future, and future with his kids.
Dana asked that Scott’s friends help him overcome his addiction for the sake of their kids.


Because I hadn’t reached the age of six yet, I found Hall’s antics to be slightly humorous but creepy to a point where I would rather play with my NWO action figures than to watch the show live.
When WCW folded in 2001, I found a new love in The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian, and The Rock. Goldberg, Sting, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan were a thing of the past in my eyes.

Unlike WCW, the WWF apparently well thought out and organized to a point where I grew to love the WWF more than the WCW in three weeks compared to the three years of WCW.

As the WWF began to focus on the storytelling and entertainment portions of the show, I missed the allure of five-star matches.

That’s when I stumbled upon Total Nonstop Action and the Phenomenal AJ Styles. TNA was a worthy alternative to the WWF and gained my viewership back in December 2005.
I wanted wrestling.

I found myself watching TNA every week and if you would’ve asked me which was the better, TNA would’ve been my choice with little hesitation. That’s when things took a turn for the worse in 2010.
Like I’ve stated before, Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan made their debuts in January 2010. With them, they brought Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, and Mr. Anderson. All former members of the WWE, but Hardy stood above both.

Hardy was a three time World Champion in the WWE and popularity reached a point to where fans chose him over the Undertaker. Simply put, Jeff Hardy was the imperfect version of John Cena.

The not so smooth move set, rock star look, and personal demons made Jeff Hardy a fan's dream. Hardy’s merchandise sales reached a point where he was almost rivaling Cena himself.

That’s when the stress of the WWE lifestyle caught up with Hardy and he decided to take some time off from the WWE.
Before Jeff left, he was inserted into a feud with rising heel, CM Punk. The contrast in lifestyles and Hardy’s personal problems made the feud the best of the WWE’s PG Era.

When it was all said and done, CM Punk came out on top and Jeff Hardy took his leave of absence.
A police raid and the antics of the WWE cemented Hardy’s signing with TNA.

Hardy returned to TNA and became one of the company’s top faces in a short time. Hardy was an instant success. Remaining a constant contender for the World Title and completing a successful heel turn.
Jeff was apparently becoming the face of TNA until December 2010. Numerous dirt sheets reported that Hardy arrived to TNA Final Resolution intoxicated.

The dirt sheets wrote themselves into a corner with some stories stating he was and others stating he wasn’t.

The IWC blew the story off as a misunderstanding until the ending of the Victory Road PPV. Set to take on Sting for the TNA World Championship, Hardy entered the arena as normal but as the competitors stood in the ring, it was obvious something was seriously wrong. Hardy’s eyes were glazed over and Hardy seemed as if he was out of it.

Sting ended the match in 90 seconds while the stories of Hardy’s antics soared throughout the dirt sheets.
Like most predicted, the rumors informed fans that Jeff was under the influence. Hardy was exiled from the Impact tapings and removed from storylines.

Hardy is apparently in rehab treating his alcohol and drug addiction.

In a strange twist of fate, Hardy was subject to the same antics of Scott Hall 13 years earlier. Besides the alcoholism and substance abuse, there was one common factor in both cases: Eric Bischoff.

Bischoff allowed Hardy to enter a match under the influence like he allowed Hall to a decade before. Despite the blame game, both sides were at fault.

Scott Hall and Jeff Hardy should’ve cared about their well-being. Eric Bischoff should’ve done the same and ruled out the money aspect of his actions.

Despite all of the commotion and rumors, one thing for sure, Jeff Hardy fell out of grace with his actions. Weeks later, I found myself discussing Hardy with a friend on a Social Networking site.
Covering the whole nine yards, we found the perfect angle for Hardy if he were to return to the WWE.

Beating the odds

Each year, millions struggle with the problems of substance abuse and alcoholism. The sad aspect of this is, only a number of them overcome the odds and kick the addiction.

Some relapse, while others suffer from health problems and eventually lose their battle from an overdose.
No matter how we twist or turn it, each addict has a choice.

Like Hardy, Eddie Guerrero, Lance Cade, Chris Benoit, Mr. Perfect, British Bulldog, and Chris Adams all suffered from an addiction to drugs. Each was loved by fans worldwide and all lost their battles in the end.
With the numerous deaths in the wrestling business, a human success story is needed at the time.
Jeff Hardy could return to the WWE a recovering addict and become a success. The angle would reek of brilliance, as every fan loves to see a wrestler overcoming the odds.

Jeff Hardy has a choice.

Each wrestler will face the strenuous schedule of a being a pro wrestler. The time away from family and the multiple bumps and bruises along the way can play a major role in saying yes or no to drugs.

Like Edge said, ignore the smoke and mirrors because being a pro wrestler does hurt.

Jeff Hardy is just one result of the multiple things that can plague a pro wrestler.

Get rid of the stigma of addiction to be a sober success.

Wasn’t born an angel but he still tries to fly

It seems as if TNA will utilize the storyline proposed here. As a lifelong fan of Jeff Hardy, I hope it works out for the Charismatic Enigma.

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