Embedded is the main event of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's pay per view that was held Sunday, March 13. The match was defending champion Sting versus Jeff Hardy. The video is 10 minutes long, but the actual match itself lasted only 90 seconds. For those who haven't followed this, the story coming out is that Jeff Hardy was in no condition to compete and has since been sent home from TNA.
Nothing is known for certain yet, but if this is true it is yet another drug-related setback in Hardy's career, and the first one to play out live on pay per view.
Hardy started his career in wrestling in WWE in the mid-90s as an "enhancement talent," i.e., a guy who lost all the time to make others look good. It wasn't until 1999, after forming a tag team with his brother Matt, that Jeff truly got a chance to shine and show how talented he was.
Jeff had always been seen as a free-spirit of sorts. It was incorporated into his "dare-devil" type character. He took a lot of chances in the ring and it paid off. He had an uncanny charisma with the fans and people loved him.
Things were going well for him until the Spring of 2003, when he was suddenly released from WWE. It came out that WWE officials asked him to enter rehab and he refused, prompting his firing.
He stayed off the radar until the end of 2004, when he signed with TNA for the first time. He was a top draw and merchandise seller for them, while having good showings in the ring. Then, stories started coming out about him being erratic at times backstage. Then he missed a show. His explanation was so odd that people had no choice to believe him - a snake got loose in his house and he was too scared to leave. Who would make up something like that? Around the end of 2005, early 2006, his behavior got a little more erratic and he missed a few more shows here and there. He was never fired, but his contract was allowed to run out.
Hardy made his long-awaited WWE return in the summer of 2006. He was welcomed back into the hearts of WWE fans around the world. Things seemed to have changed. He did an interview with WWE magazine where he spoke of his past and how drug issues were behind him and he was ready to start over again.
Hardy worked his way up the ranks and won the Intercontinental Championship a few times, in addition to reforming his tag team with brother Matt. In late 2007, Jeff lost the Intercontinental title without warning to Umaga, then disappeared for a month. Nobody confirmed anything publicly, but it was believed that he failed a drug test, which carred a 30-day suspension for a first-time violation.
Again, he came back and worked his way up the card, getting as high as ever - no pun intended - when he received a WWE Championship match in early 2008. As WrestleMania approached, Hardy was again IC champ and looked to play a major role in the biggest show of the year. By this point, WWE's policy was now to publicly announce drug test violations, which is what they did the day after Hardy suddenly dropped his championship to Chris Jericho. On the biggest roll of his life, Hardy slipped up and received a 60-day suspension for his second violation.
Despite losing several opportunities, one thing Hardy never lost was the support of the fans, who rallied behind him when he came back. In December 2008, Hardy captured his first WWE Championship. Things finally looked like they had turned around for him. WWE gave him their full support and officially made him one of their top superstars, even though a third failed test meant he would be fired from the company.
Hardy's past issues came into the forefront when reality mixed with fiction during a rivalry against CM Punk, whose straightedge character did not approve of Hardy's lifestyle. It was one of the more entertaining rivalries of 2009, which only ended when Hardy's contract did. He chose not to re-sign with WWE, noting that he needed a break from wrestling.
Jeff Hardy's last match was in late-August, 2009. A couple days before that, Hardy had been World Champion, one of the top wrestlers in the company. September 11, 2009, Jeff Hardy was arrested for a slew of drug charges, including possession of cocaine, steroids, pain killers, and he was charged with an intent to distribute.
Nobody knows much, but those around Hardy admit that while he was arrested, there's a lot more to the story than meets the eye and that everything would be settled once the case went to trial.
With this fresh in peoples minds, Hardy re-debuts with TNA in January 2010. It's looking more and more like Hardy's critics might be proven wrong, as his case continues to get pushed back farther and farther, with the prosecuters saying they need more time to develop their case.
November 2010, Jeff Hardy is given the TNA World Championship. His next court date is in early 2011. December 2010, reports surface during the day of his first pay per view title defense that he is in no condition to compete. Rumors are flying rampant, but the match comes and goes and Hardy competed without incident.
When the story comes out, people give Hardy the benefit of the doubt. Allegedly, he was caught sleeping backstage and caused a scene when somebody woke him up. It was chalked up to exhaustion. His first child had been born just weeks before. He had also spent the two days before the pay per view flying around the nation making personal appearances.
With his past, people said, we all jumped to conclusions. A simliar incident, they said, happened a few years earlier when he was denied entry onto an airplane because he was intoxicated. Being drunk in public, I guess, isn't as big of a deal as it used to be. Nobody made much of a fuss about that and WWE didn't publicly do anything to him.
Hardy's court case is again pushed back. Newspapers report that lawyers are negotiating a plea deal for Hardy. No word yet on if he'll need to serve any jail time. He drops the title to Ken Anderson. His court date is again pushed back. He wins the title back from Ken Anderson.
In February, an ominous video starts appearing on WWE television promising that something big will happen on February 21. Rumors start that it's the WWE debut of Sting, the only big-name WCW star to never sign with WWE. WWE hears the rumors and begins putting red herrings into the next videos, creating even more hype. Sting's TNA contract had expired and nobody knew what was going on. If there were ever a time for him to sign with WWE, this would be the perfect opportunity.
The videos were not for Sting. They were for The Undertaker. TNA, realizing that Sting was very hot right now, brought him back into the fold quickly and booked him as a surprise opponent for Jeff Hardy on March 3. Sting won the championship, which brings us to their rematch on Sunday.
People don't seem to know for sure what is going on. From looking at Jeff's entrance, you can tell that he staggers a little bit walking down to the ring and almost trips going up the steps into the ring.
If Jeff was in no condition to compete, why was the match allowed to take place? Why even risk having him out there at all? None of it adds up. It's hard to hear over Sting's music at the end, but the crowd started chanting "bullshit!" and Sting can clearly be heard saying, "I agree."
Shortly after the match, Jeff tweeted, "Everything is op." Typo? Evidence that he's messed up? Whatever's going on, clearly things are not op.
As of right now, Hardy has been sent home by TNA management. There is no word on when he will be used again. I expect we'll figure out more as the days go by.