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The cost of Jeff Hardy’s TNA ratings is Jeff Hardy

What’s the old saying…Shame on me once, the jokes on me; Shame on me twice, the jokes on you?

Jeff Hardy; the joke is officially on you.

We all remember the first time an “unfit to wrestle” Jeff Hardy was allowed to go out to main event a pay-per-view.  In fact, it was just 3 months ago that a similar situation took place.  It was December 5th, 2010 at TNA’s Final Resolution event.  Jeff Hardy successfully defended his title against Matt Morgan at the show, but it was all the news that came out while the actual event was going on that sent shockwaves through the wrestling world.

According to reports, Jeff Hardy showed up in no condition to wrestle whatsoever.  He was deemed “unfit to perform” by multiple people backstage, with one report even stating that Hardy was found sleeping on a couch in the back.  Many officials scrambled to attempt to rewrite the show and have Jeff Hardy drop the belt to Morgan that night.  There was even a plan in place that would have saw Eric Bischoff announce Hardy was injured on the tour overseas. The main event would have then been Matt Morgan vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Ken Anderson for the vacant TNA World Title.

Hardy eventually met with TNA officials prior to the show and ensured them that he was healthy.  Hardy stated that he was simply exhausted from doing TNA shows in the Middle East, flying home to North Carolina to see his newborn baby for one day, flying to Michigan for an appearance at a monster truck show, and then flying to Orlando for the pay-per-view the day of the event.

Just days later, independent promoter Bill Behrens released a shocking report stating that Jeff Hardy’s drug use was an “open secret” around TNA. Behrens also discussed Hardy’s chair shot to the back of Ken Anderson’s head in October, which sidelined Anderson with a severe concussion and wound.  Anderson could have potentially taken legal action against TNA for allowing a wrestler who is unfit to wrestle in the ring with him in the first place.  Since this happened, TNA has banned unprotected chair shots to the head.

Fast forward just a few months to last night’s TNA Victory Road pay-per-view.  Hardy was once again scheduled to face off against Sting for the TNA World Title in the main event.  With nearly 30 minutes left to go in the show, the highlight package aired of Sting returning to TNA and taking his belt just 10 days earlier.  Hardy’s entrance music hits first and it plays for nearly 30 seconds before Hardy comes stumbling out of the curtain.  When trying to get into the ring, he clearly falls up the steps.

Sting makes his entrance followed by Eric Bischoff.  Bischoff goes off on some tangent about how it’s unfair to Hardy that Sting was able to prepare for their previous battle, thus, costing Hardy the belt.  Bischoff says that, to even things up, this match would now be a no-disqualification match.  Fair enough.  Sting punches Bischoff and sends him to the floor.  Hardy’s next move was to aid Bischoff.  Well, Hardy’s forgot this cue.  Instead, Hardy barely bent over to check on Bischoff and pretty much just pushed him out of the ring.

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The bell rang and Hardy spent the next minute toying with the crowd by teasing tossing his shirt to a fan.  Sting clearly was getting agitated with Hardy’s actions.  Hardy eventually just drops the shirt in the ring.  The wrestling begins with Sting on the offensive.  There were a few punches, a kick, a scorpion death drop, and a quick pin which Hardy seemed to be doing his best to kick out of.

88 Seconds.

Match Over.

The crowd was stunned.  Mike Tenay and Tazz had no idea what happened.  Sting had his arm raised by the referee as the chorus of “Bullshit, Bullshit” rang in from the crowd.  The look on Sting’s face was one of pure embarrassment and disgust.  As Hardy threw a tantrum in the ring, Sting made his way up the ramp.  As the credits began to roll, the crowd’s chants of “Bullshit, Bullshit” had stayed steady and a close up shot of Sting heard him clearly saying, “I’m sorry.  I agree.  I agree.”

VIDEO:  Watch last night’s Jeff Hardy vs. Sting Main event match and judge for yourself:  http://wrestlechat.net/video-jeff-hardy-vs-sting-from-tnas-victory-road

Shortly after the show went off the air, reports leaked out that the main event was cut short because of major concern about Jeff Hardy’s “state of mind” backstage.  Furthermore, Sting simply didn’t want to do any work with Jeff Hardy while he was in the condition that he was in.  And, honestly, who can blame Sting?  He can barely stay healthy as it is.  The last thing he needs to do is put on a 30-minute match with a clearly unfit Jeff Hardy.

Today, more news comes out that TNA once again thought about reshuffling the card but decided against it last-minute.  And, get this…TNA officials are reportedly “angry, upset, and embarrassed” that the main event played out the way it did.  Really?  You don’t say….

Maybe Hardy’s mind was on his upcoming court date on March 21?  Let’s not forget, the guy is already in some extremely hot water after his arrest in September 2009 which took place after police used a search warrant on Hardy’s home and found 262 Vicodin prescription pills, 180 Soma prescription pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a residual amount of powder cocaine and items of drug paraphernalia were found in the search.

Here’s what I don’t get.  This isn’t the first rodeo with Hardy and him clearly having some personal demons to tackle.  The guy has clearly had a drug problem, has a court case which is currently being fought, he damn near ends Ken Anderson’s career, just about ruins TNA’s final pay-per-view of 2010 and yet, TNA continues to put Jeff Hardy in their ring.

It’s time that Dixie Carter and TNA step forward and demand that Jeff Hardy get the help that he desperately needs.  What will it take for TNA to begin looking at Jeff Hardy the person and not Jeff Hardy the name and wrestling ratings draw?  Is it going to take Jeff Hardy overdosing on prescription medications and being found unconscious in his home one morning?  Is it going to take yet another wrestler being severely injured by Hardy in the ring?  Does the 3-strike rule apply for Hardy, meaning that he still has one more pay-per-view to put in jeopardy before punishment and help becomes necessary?

It’s time that wrestling takes a backseat.  TNA owes the fans and, more importantly, their own roster to see that Jeff Hardy is taken care of.  If they don’t want to foot the bill, there are a few people up in Stamford, Connecticut who have a program in place to see that hardy is taken care of.  Whatever the case, if I were any TNA talent who was scheduled to work a program with Jeff Hardy, I’d be demanding a storyline change or my immediate release.

Why?  Because TNA has made it clearly that the drawing power of Jeff Hardy is much greater than that of his own mental and physical well-being.

And that is absolutely disgusting.

Brett Clendaniel is the owner and managing editor of http://www.WrestleChat.net.

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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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