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TNA Impact Wrestling Needs to Do More Than Fire Matt Hardy

Matt HardyThe popular joke question to ask is how much does it take to get someone fired from Impact Wrestling? Turns out “do everything Matt Hardy has done since signing” is the answer, seeing as he was given his walking papers Saturday after receiving a DWI in response to a single vehicle car accident where he slammed his Camaro into a tree.

The reaction has been that finally, Impact Wrestling has started taking care of its lax attitude regarding drugs. Yeah, that’s like lauding the police department for taking care of a serial rapist after the twelfth victim. But it’s a step in the right direction, right? Well yeah, until you read reports saying that his brother Jeff will be returning to television at Thursday’s tapings in Huntsville.

Meanwhile, Kurt Angle is still on the roster with no repercussions stemming from several incidents, the most recent being a charge in North Dakota where he was found with his car off road in an embankment while intoxicated. Reports have been published that Impact has regular drug testing and yet no action is taken on any positive test. All of this makes firing Hardy look like a Band-Aid on a hatchet wound.

As a kicker, there was speculation arising from the fact that Hardy had changed his Twitter bio to “Matt no longer has boundaries.. And plans on becoming what I’m destined to be..” BEFORE the accident, which lends credence to the theory that the DWI and the drug use that was associated with it had nothing to do with the firing.

Let’s face it, Hardy has not been a model employee for any company, even if you subtract the drug usage from the equation. His capacity for complaining about his employers in public is legendary. It’s wholly possible that Hardy was let go because the suits at Panda Energy and maybe even Dixie Carter herself were tired of his shtick. If that’s the case, and his accident was a coincidence, then what does that say about Impact’s management? Take all the drugs you want, and even get popped for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, and that’s fine, but annoy us and you’re gone? That’d be unbelievable if true.

That being said, even if the firing was in response to the DWI (and for now, that’s the most logical and true explanation), I’m not so sure Impact looks good here at all, especially if his brother Jeff shows up in Huntsville on Thursday “in no condition to perform”. I’m going to read like a broken record sounds here, but if Impact Wrestling wants to play with the big boys, they need to act like the big boys in regards to committing to a safe, drug-free workplace. In their own field, the market leader has a Wellness Policy.

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Whether you think WWE enforces that policy selectively or whether it’s misplaced is irrelevant. People get popped under that policy, whether it’s a star like Rey Mysterio or an otherwise nameless referee like Mike Chioda. Again, I’ve written about this before, but it’s federally mandated by OSHA that the workplace needs to be drug-free.

Again, this means mandatory drug testing and suspensions for failures. This means wrestlers get sent to rehab if they’re recidivist drug offenders. This means a structure is put around these men and women, and those who have the temerity to show up to work clean and sober don’t have to fear for their lives trying to handle someone drunk or stoned out of their minds.

It doesn’t mean looking the other way when you’re found in your car drunk in Grand Forks. It doesn’t mean bringing someone back after they were sent home for showing up to work stoned without any rehab. And it certainly doesn’t mean waiting for the fourth or fifth offense to fire someone who causes a major black eye to the company. Matt Hardy getting terminated wasn’t even the least Impact Wrestling could do to combat his self-destructive behavior as an employee of their company.

Let’s not pretend otherwise just because they finally got off their asses and did something when their hand was beyond forced.

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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