Jeff Hardy contract with TNA up in Feb. 2013; will he stay with the promotion?

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Although the product we see on television has improved greatly over the past few months, there's still a great deal of upheaval at the offices of Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Contracts have been coming up and because the company has been trying to find ways to save money, wrestlers have been leaving and/or the possibility of as much has been far greater.

Ric Flair is out, Matt Morgan is presumably gone, Velvet Sky has left and there are unresolved issues with the contracts of Bully Ray and Devon. One would think both will re-sign but Ray has reportedly been unhappy with ongoing negotiations and there may not be justification for Devon's cost.

Another name to pop up now is Jeff Hardy. His contract doesn't run out until February of next year but as Dave Meltzer points out in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended), Hardy is in an interesting position and may be getting ready to take dates outside the company come early 2013:

Jeff Hardy's contract expires in February. It's a ways off but it's also significant on a number of levels. The description we've gotten of Hardy is he's always clear-headed at the shows. He's described as having made an amazing turnaround by nearly everyone with the exception of the one hiccup where they pulled him from TV with that food poisoning story. But there is a question as to how happy he is in TNA. The deal is that Hardy really is the biggest star in the company with the exception of Hulk Hogan, and that includes Sting. And when it comes to merchandise sales, nobody in the company is even close. ... For what it's worth, and anything this many months away in this business probably means little, there have been indie promoters told that dates on Jeff and the Hardys together would be available in February.

Meltzer notes that Hardy is the most popular guy at house shows and is easily the most over babyface on the roster but the problem is TNA hasn't been treating him that way. That's true, too, considering Hardy is currently just a bit player in the Bound for Glory Series and hasn't ever been strongly considered as a guy who could win it. In fact, he has no real storyline he's attached to other than the Series.

It's really quite amazing that Hardy has maintained his popularity for all this time, considering how little he's been pushed by TNA as of late. That's a problem in and of itself. He's the most over guy on the roster but he's not being treated as such, which hurts his value elsewhere. Would WWE have him back? That's hard to say, considering the two strikes against him for failed drug tests in the past.

He seems to have done well in TNA since they turned his return into a storyline and made him earn everyone's trust after the disaster at Victory Road last year. Perhaps he's finally gotten his shit together and if that's the case, he's a valuable asset in the pro wrestling world. Don't be surprised if there's a sudden turn of fortune for him on TV later this year.

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