Jeff Hardy has topped himself.
Last night, at TNA's Victory Road PPV, the main event was his rematch against Sting to try to win back the TNA World Title he lost on TV a week and a half ago when Sting returned. Hardy was in slow motion getting to the ring, almost fell down walking up the ring steps, and looked vacant when there was a close-up of his eyes. Before the match started, Eric Bischoff came out to announce that the match would be no DQ. He talked to Sting off-mic, and it's not clear if they were just pantomiming a dispute as planned or doing so while talking over Hardy's condition. When the match started, he stalled by teasing throwing his shirt to the crowd before dropping it to the floor, then finally engaged with a visably pissed off Sting, who hit him a few times and then manuvered him into position for the Scorpion Death Drop, which he then hit for the win in just under 90 seconds. The pin looked as if it may have been forceful and Hardy popped up right after. The crowd and announcers weren't sure what to make of it. As Sting walked up the ramp, a fan said something (presumably a complaint about the match's length/lameness) to him and he clearly replied "I agree. I agree."
At first, in his live PPV report, Dave Meltzer at F4WOnline.com wrote that he thought it was a sign that Sting is more broken down than he was letting on, but this wasn't the case, as he corrected himself with this short post:
The 1:28 main event was more due to them being concerned about Jeff Hardy wrestling than Sting wrestling.
Yup, once again (and that was far from the only time) Jeff Hardy was "in no condition to perform" (wink wink, nudge nudge) in a PPV main event. This time, instead of working a regular match, his opponent clearly wanted nothing to do with someone he couldn't trust his body with and called an audible to end the match immediately without having to risk his safety.
Today, Meltzer posted that Hardy was pulled from the Impact tapings tonight and tomorrow "stemming from whatever it was that happened at last night's PPV" (WINKING! NUDGING!). He does think it's possible that given the booking history of Vince Russo et al, there COULD be an attempt at a worked shoot mixed in to everything, but I doubt it, though given the timing (Hardy's next hearing on his drug charges is this Wednesday after many continuances) it makes a certain kind of sense.
While it's good that TNA finally did something, they acted way too late. Let's take a look at some of the warning signs:
- He was fired by WWE in 2003 for refusing to go to rehab. He had an embarrassing series of performances leading up to being released. Most memorably, there was the PPV match where he forgot to knock Rico Costantino off the top rope. Time stood still until Rico audibly screamed "C'MON JEFF [GOSHDARNIT]!" and decided to do a klutz spot, losing his balance on his own while finally Hardy popped up on the other side of the ring and started to shake the ropes there. During the same period, he also had a match on Raw with a visibly furious Triple H where he blew just about every spot he tried .
- His previous TNA run (which started not long after being fired by WWE) was a mess a he'd constantly show up in no condition to perform or not even show up at all.
- He was arrested on drug possession and distribution charges two weeks after leaving WWE. Something that isn't mentioned often enough is that this would have gotten him fired if it happened before he left. Since he had been suspended twice for failing drug tests and an arrest on drug charges is punished the same as a test failure, it would have been his third strike, which is punished by termination. His brother Matt inexplicably claimed that reports about him bailing his brother were wrong even though other wrestling sites were given this information by the police department that arrested him.
- After CM Punk cut a promo on WWE TV referencing the arrest, he shot an incoherent video for his brother's subscriber-supported online reality show where he accused Punk of taking Ambien while scratching his nose and seemingly bragged about his own drug use.
- Then he returned to TNA on the same day he was indicted on the drug charges.
- During this run, he has been "in no condition to perform" on multiple occasions including one where he was nearly stripped of his title and pulled from a PPV main event. Also, on one of these occasions, his condition may caused him to miss his mark on a chairshot and give Ken Anderson a concussion.
- His brother Matt was released from WWE after a long line of bizarre behavior that included being taken off the Fall European tour for "being in no condition to perform" and putting up a number of strange YouTube videos (described by Paul London as "pilled-up talking") and Tweets where he had babbled incoherently while the pupils of his eyes just happened to be so tiny there were barely visible.
- The aforementioned video from "The Matt Hardy Show" was also first exposed to the masses around this time (and many people are still under the impression it's from when it was uploaded on YouTube by a third party, but it's not).
- Matt was signed by TNA and made his "surprise" debut in a match where he was described as "glassy-eyed" and "sluggish." I'm sure that the brothers being around each other more often just did wonders for them. Ahem...
- After agreeing to a plea bargain on the drug charges, one side (think for a little while which side would be the most likely) pulled out and the case was continued until this coming Wednesday.
- Now, TNA finally sent him home after he was in such bad shape that his PPV main event was ended in under 90 seconds while his opponent was clearly disgusted by the whole situation.
After the jump, you can see a video of last night's match via YouTube.