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Just the good ol' boys: Matt and Jeff Hardy have worn out their welcome

I remember back around 1997 or 1998, I ended up catching a tag team match on either Superstars or Shotgun Saturday Night. I don't remember who ended up winning the match but the team that lost immediately caught my attention.

They were The Hardy Boyz, brothers from North Carolina, who reminded me a lot of one of my favorite tag teams growing up, The Rockers.

Both teams were young, wore colorful outfits, and were high-flying risk takers. Hell, they each had one guy with blonde hair and one with brown.

I even went on to claim -- infamously amongst my friends -- that Jeff Hardy would go on to be the next Shawn Michaels.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat right. Jeff was definitely the more successful of the two, having held the most prestigious titles in WWE much like "The Heartbreak Kid" and also in TNA. But also like Michaels, "The Charismatic Enigma" has battled substance abuse.

Now Matt seems to have gone down the path that HBK's old partner, Marty Jannetty, went down. Much like Jannetty, Matt was seen as being the more technically sound of the two. But he was always overshadowed by his brother and tag team partner.

Substance abuse also became a problem for the former Rocker and after several bizarre YouTube videos and now a DWI arrest, it's become apparent that the same demons are latched onto elder Hardy's back.

Let's take a quick look down memory lane.

Anyone watching the WWE during the Attitude Era remembers the insane matches that The Hardy Boyz had with Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz.

The Hardys started their feud with the Canadian tag team in 1999 when they were both competing to have Terri Runnels as their manager. The Terri Invitational Tournament (TIT, get it?) culminated with an awesome ladder match at that year's No Mercy where the brothers from North Carolina came out on top.

WWF First Tag Team Ladder Match, No Mercy 99 (via 2000andjon)

The following year the boys from Dudleyville entered the fray and the three teams had one hell of a ladder match at WrestleMania 2000. But the feud was far from over and the stakes had to be raised. Thus the TLC Match -- Tables, Ladders, and Chairs -- was born.

They took the feud -- and the TLC concept -- to WrestleMania X-7 and helped make that event one of the best in history. The Hardy Boyz were extremely popular but like almost every popular tag team, the split was inevitable.

They split in the next year but by 2003, Jeff was gone from the WWE, fired for behavior many believed stemmed from from substance abuse.

He absconded to TNA for a couple of years and became one of their top stars. Matt stayed in the WWE but failed to gain any traction until it became revealed that his off-screen girlfriend, Lita, had been engaging in an affair with Edge while Matt was on the shelf with an injury.

Matt took to the internet and instantly became a sympathetic character but the airing of dirty laundry earned him a pink slip. Perhaps sensing the chance to turn this real life animosity into an angle -- or perhaps wanting to avoid a Hardy Boyz reunion in TNA, maybe both -- Matt was hired back and began "crashing" WWE events in an attempt to exact revenge on Edge.

It was a hot angle and culminated in a cage match that Matt won at Unforgiven 2005. At least, it should have culminated that way. Perhaps in an attempt to bury Matt, he once again faced off against Edge in a Loser Leaves RAW match on the company's return show to the USA Network. He lost and was sent off to the B-show.

There he languished in the mid-card until 2010 when he was released for any number of things: lack of direction for him, weight problems, rumored substance abuse issues.

Meanwhile, his brother had returned to the WWE in 2006 and became one of the company's top draws, much like he had in Orlando. It seems his success and ability to keep his vices in check in TNA was enough to convince Vince McMahon to bring him back.

He ended up scoring three world title reigns -- two with the World Heavyweight and one with the WWE Title -- in his second stint with the company. He lost a Loser Leaves Town match to CM Punk, not because the WWE wanted him gone but because his contract was up and Jeff wanted to take some time off from the business. Many assumed a return to the company was in the cards.

But for whatever reason, Jeff went back to TNA and a year later, brother Matt joined him. Since then, it's been a downward spiral.

As stated above, bizarre YouTube videos where both brothers seem to be inebriated have made them the laughingstock to some and a pity case to others. 

In March, Jeff showed up to wrestle Sting in the main event of Victory Road completely drunk, stoned, or both. He hasn't been seen since. Three months later, TNA suspended Matt. Their official story is that he was showing up tardy to events.

Now, after a DWI arrest, Matt finds himself without a job. Jeff might find himself in the same boat soon. While TNA might worry about losing one of their top stars to the WWE, I wouldn't think that McMahon's company would risk any public relations disasters Jeff could pose.

Hopefully this is the end of the road for The Hardy Boyz until they get themselves some help. Jeff has reportedly refused to go to rehab which is why he hasn't made a return to the TNA ring. Matt has legal issues he's going to have to deal with but a stint in rehab wouldn't be the worst thing for him either.

It will be a sad ending for a tag team that helped revitalize the tag team ranks in the late 90s alongside Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz.

But it's an ending that needs to take place.

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