Jeff Hardy was just one of several surprise returns on the April 12 episode of Dynamite, but his stood out.
Partly that’s because a whole lot of people have fond memories of watching the legendary daredevil wrestle over the past 25 years. Partly it’s because Jeff was coming back from the latest round of personal & legal difficulties his addictions have caused — specifically his pleading no contest to his third DUI-related charge of the past decade, and a trip to rehab mandated by the terms of his AEW suspension.
The former generated excitement, while the latter has led to a fair amount of concern for Hardy’s well-being, and some anger he’s getting another chance after repeatedly placing others at risk by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
His plea deal probably prevents anyone from addressing the impaired driving issues, but on the newest episode of his The Xtreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Jeff’s older brother spoke to those who are concerned a return to pro wrestling might not be conducive to long-term sobriety:
“This is the most work I’ve ever seen him do on himself. He had ten months. He seems different. He seems different. I don’t want to sit here and vouch for him, I don’t want you to take my word for it or take anyone else’s word for it. Watch him and follow his actions. He’ll make you a believer. I am confident that his actions, conduct, and behavior will make people a believer.
“He’s made me a believer. I’ve seen a lot of him and gotten to follow his journey and I know the work he’s put in and how dedicated he’s been to legitimately changing and trying to get his shit together once and for all. I’m so extraordinarily proud of him. He’s done great.
“Everyone was happy to see him. He’s happy to be there. It was so adorable, right before we went out, he was so nervous and so worried because he hasn’t been in a ring, at all. He came out to my house on Monday, got in the ring, ran the ropes, took a few bumps. He was worried how the people were going to react to him. Jeff is one of the few individuals who has ‘it’ and people are connected to him. When he came out and the people went nuts and were cheering and chanting, it was great, a magical moment. Really glad we got to this point and very excited to see where we go forward from here...
“Coming off his past, he has stuff to prove to people. I’m the ultimate optimist. My mentality doesn’t work for everybody, but I say, people change, give them a chance, especially if they’ve legitimately put the work in and have tried. I do that with everybody. Either he’ll prove you wrong or prove you right. I have a very good feeling about this point Jeff is at in his life.”
As he says, time will tell if Matt is right to be optimistic that this time will be different for his brother. Hopefully he is — for a lot of reasons, but among them that if Jeff proves skeptics wrong, that means he’s not driving drunk or high and putting others at risk.
Matt also talked about the match against The Firm that Jeff’s return faciltated, and said Jeff “got cleared at the end of last week to do stuff physically.” You can listen to all of his comments on Xtreme Life here.
H/t: Fightful for transcription