It is undeniable at this point. Jeff Hardy must definitely feel lucky that his reckless behavior hasn’t seriously hurt anyone so far. He repeatedly put himself in jeopardy outside the squared circle after making his career with a high-flying, reckless style. Hardy seeking expert help for his out-of-control antics is more important than any risky moves he would perform in a wrestling ring.
Hardy, who is currently contracted with All elite wrestling after a lengthy career in WWE and TNA, was arrested Monday in Florida on three counts total. The most popular was DUI, his third offense since 2018. According to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Hardy’s first blood alcohol reading was 0.294. Another person drew 0.291. Both are more than three and a half times Florida’s legal driving limit of 0.08.
AEW President and CEO Tony Khan announced on Tuesday that Hardy was suspended from work without pay after resuming contact with him more than 24 hours after his arrest. Khan said the promotion would support Hardy in his treatment of “substance abuse problems,” and Hardy said he’s open to getting help. The statement also said he could only return to AEW if he successfully completed treatment and remained sober.
The video of Hardy’s arrest is Posted by TMZ. From the dashcam of a Florida Highway Patrol vehicle, three officers pointed guns at Hardy to get him out of his vehicle. Hardy was initially unable to maintain his balance when he was interviewed by the police and told that he was in Florida for a “brain scan”. While we can’t listen to Hardy with extreme drunkenness, why would he struggle if his brain needs to be tested? Hardy admitted during a field sobriety test that he repeatedly shot Fireball, a cinnamon whiskey.
Jeff’s tag team partner and real-life brother, Matt Hardy, post on twitter about the incident. Matt Hardy wrote: “Glad to hear the news about my brother yesterday. “Recovery is not a linear process and I will continue to do whatever I can to keep my brother healthy. Good health and wellness is of the utmost importance to Jeff, his wife, his children and our family at this time. Matt is also signed to AEW, debuting in March 2020, while Jeff made his first appearance for the company a few months ago after leaving WWE at the end of 2021.
The Hardys are up for pre-order for this Wednesday episode of AEW Gunpowder in a three-team ladder match against The Young Bucks and Jurassic Express for corporate card titles. The likely outcome is that Jeff and Matt won the AEW World Tag Team Championship, which will begin as champions in a fourth major US promotion. Jeff’s arrest also led to an episode of the popular YouTube show AEW Being an Elite shelved. The vignettes to exaggerate the ladder match are definitely part of the episode.
Hardy has a well-documented past with drug and alcohol problems. In 2009, he was arrested for drug trafficking when a house search discovered a lot of substances, including 262 Vicodin prescription pills and 555 ml of steroids. He was booked with DUI in 2018 and 2019, as well as being charged with public intoxication in 2019. At TNA’s March 2011 pay-per-view, Victory Road, Hardy wrestled in the main event against Sting for the corporate world championship. TNA cut the match to 90 seconds after determining Hardy was too drunk to perform, with Sting forced to hold Hardy down to pin.
The only silver lining that gets Hardy caught is his willingness to seek help before he causes irreversible damage. He has the opportunity to grow and be healthy. The problem of drug and alcohol abuse has been rampant in professional wrestling for decades and has resulted in dozens of premature deaths of performers. Earlier this year, Tamara Sytch, better known by her stage name Sunny, was charged with the death of a 75-year-old man in the DUI.
Hardy is considered a revolution in professional wrestling. Hardys’ long-standing feud with Edge and Christian, as well as Dudley Boyz, has inspired many of today’s WWE and AEW performers to pursue careers in professional wrestling. The double stunt repertoire that Hardy brings to American mainstream wrestling has its mark across the industry. All of that is still true.
However, Hardy shouldn’t struggle again if his lifestyle is filled with extraneous things outside the ring. He will be 45 years old in August and hardly has the capabilities of a shrewd teenager who made his WWE debut in 1994. He will likely be away from television for months – if he does return – to receiving substance abuse treatment. AEW has invested a lot of time in rebuilding Hardys as a tagging team, and any plans available to Matt and Jeff are on hold. Even if Hardy does return, his eyeball style in the box should be tweaked and Khan should be hesitant to put him in high-risk matches, like ladders and cages. In the end, Hardy better learns his lesson before it costs his career or something worse.