|Jeff Hardy at Wrestlemania 25|
By Chad Smart
TNA signing Jeff Hardy after he was busted for excessive drug possession was a questionable.
TNA putting their World Title on Jeff Hardy while he was still waiting to make a formal court appearance was mind-boggling.
At Victory Road, TNA allowing Jeff Hardy to compete was inexcusable.
The match between Sting and Jeff Hardy lasted about 90 seconds. Had the match taken place in the middle of the show, or if TNA ran an angle to have another match take place after the Sting/Hardy match, maybe they could justify the ridiculousness of such a short title match people paid to see. Instead they went with a show recap package that lasted about five times as long as the match.
Watching the match live (while also reading the latest news about Japan so my attention wasn’t fully on the match) I was shocked at the shortness of the match. After the match as Sting was walking up the ramp to go backstage, the crowd was chanting “bullsh#!t,” and Sting acknowledged them by saying, “I agree.” This struck me as odd. A few hours after the show was over I searched the usual Internet news sites to see if there were any reports as to why TNA chose to put on such a lackluster main event.
What I found was a couple stories indicating Jeff Hardy was in no condition to be in a wrestling ring. On a wrestling message board someone had posted a video of the match along with some notes pointing out things I didn’t see upon my first viewing. Watching the video for a second time, I saw the Jeff Hardy say something to the referee before leaving the ring during Sting’s introduction. When the referee took the belt from Sting, he said something to which Sting replied, “Are you kidding me?” As Sting went for the Scorpion Death Drop, it looked like Jeff was legitimately trying to escape while Sting dragged him by the hair to the center of the ring. During the pin fall, it looked like Jeff was trying to kick out but Sting held him down. Looking at the match and noticing all of these events, I can believe the reports of Hardy not being in a mental state to have a full match.
It was only a couple months ago when Jeff Hardy showed up for a pay per view and people backstage questioned if he was fit to be in the ring. At the time, Jeff’s behavior was excused as exhaustion due to a hectic travel schedule the week before and having a newborn baby at home. What will be the excuse this time?
Whatever the reasoning, this is another low mark for TNA. I can’t believe Jeff was in perfect condition all day backstage and as he crossed the line through the entrance to the ramp his behavior changed that dramatically. If he was in no condition to wrestle backstage, there is no reason or excuse for why he was allowed to wrestle. The pay per view lineup was not promoted until three days before the show so it’s not like people had time to get really excited about the matches. Plus, the Sting/Hardy match was a rematch from ten days prior. Not exactly a money match up. I can’t see why there wasn’t time to pull and audible and change up the main event during the show.
What will be interesting to watch is what action TNA takes regarding Jeff Hardy. If they do nothing and continue to put Hardy in title matches or make him a focal part of the show, it will send the message they don’t care about a wrestler’s well being or the TNA product. Jeff Hardy should be removed from the company until his legal case is finished and then shouldn’t be brought back until he can prove he is clean of any illicit substance. If TNA doesn’t have a drug-testing program in place they need to get one implemented sooner rather than later. After Victory Road, what few eyes focus on TNA are all eagle eye to see what happens. Will TNA continue to play ostrich and keep their head buried in the sand pretending nothing is wrong? Or will management step up and take control of the company? Is TNA a professional company or is taking WCW’s motto to heart and is nothing more than a place, “the big boys play?”