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   Wed, April 23, 2003



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COMMENT





Hardy\'s parting a sad statement on industry
Mat Matters Editorial
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling


When you are young, the world is your playground. If you are lucky enough not to be tied down by family, a job, school or other responsibilities, anything and everything is possible. It is a time to explore. It is time to experience what the world has to offer. It is a time to find out who you are, what you want out of life and what it is going to take to make you happy day to day. Along the way to self-discovery, we all make mistakes. We all walk down paths only to realize they have taken us somewhere we really don\'t want to be. Time to backtrack and scope out other avenues.

At a mere 26-years-old, Jeffrey Nero Hardy was a true WWE superstar with an appreciative fan base and the skills to pave a bright future for himself in the business. All that came to a crashing halt Tuesday when the WWE quietly announced they were \"severing\" their ties with him. In business speak that means they canned his butt. The WWE, a glutton for bad press, buried the surprise news on their official site in the briefest of brief statements that shed no light on the situation and therefore propagated the kind of rumours and gossip which drives the company completely nutso.

Yesterday\'s announcement wasn\'t a shock to the system. The writing was on the wall. Stories of Hardy regularly showing up late for live broadcasts and skipping out on house shows had been circulating for quite some time. The fact that his mentor angle with Shawn Michaels vanished without a trace and he was yanked off WWE television and pay-per-views until recently pretty much signaled that there was an extreme breakdown in the business relationship he had with the WWE. Not that Hardy was really going anywhere. Like most of the young talent in the WWE, he was being overshadowed at every turn by the veterans or those who wield political power behind the scenes. The company that once publicly berated its rival WCW for relying solely on veteran talent, is now doing the exact same thing years later.

With Hardy\'s departure the question remains...did he knowingly sabotage his own future or did the WWE not give him a chance? It could be that the always evasive truth can be found somewhere in the middle of those two answers. Certainly by now, you would think that Jeff Hardy would\'ve had a major and auspicious stint as an Intercontinental or Cruiserweight Champion in the WWE. Though the prospect seems like a no-brainer, the situation never really materialized. Hardy surely won his fair share of solo titles in the WWE but he never held onto them for a great deal of time. None of the reigns were memorable or of historical proportions. Maybe it was his size. Maybe it was the injuries. Maybe it was his rumoured inconsistency as an employee. Whatever the case, it never truly seemed like the WWE handed the ball to him with any kind of confidence whatsoever.

Hardy\'s approach to wrestling was also a career killer. Nobody that young can wrestle such a death-defying, high-risk style and expect to be walking...nevermind wrestling...ten or so years down the road. The human body can only take so much abuse. Just ask Bret Hart, Steve Austin or Ultimo Dragon. Unless Hardy somehow slowed things down or changed his style it was inevitable that he was going the way of Mick Foley. Tag team wrestling could\'ve curtailed some of that but in their infinite wisdom, the WWE elected to break up one of the most popular tag teams to ever hit Titanland. With that decision out of his control, you have to know that Hardy\'s outlook couldn\'t have been favourable at all. It also might\'ve been where Hardy\'s rumoured dissatisfaction with wrestling industry took root.

Having talent spin their wheels in dead-end storylines with no promise of really climbing the ladder, is a sure fire way to choke the life out of any dedication and enthusiasm your younger employees might have. However, that doesn\'t give someone the right to just flake out on their professional responsibilities. Pro wrestling is such a team-based enterprise that one broken link in the chain can have disastrous affects on everyone else involved from the person who is scheduled to work with you, to the producers of the show, to the writers and bookers who are forced to make last minute adjustments. If Hardy had become disillusioned with the business he should\'ve taken some time off, weighed his options and returned with a firm decision on his future. This is what may have ultimately transpired in the last week or so leading up to Tuesday\'s news.

Whether he signs up with another promotion or finds his way into a musical career, Jeff Hardy and his fans can take comfort in the fact that he gave his all in a WWE ring. The excitement, exuberance and total insanity the high-flying daredevil from North Carolina brought with him (even though he wore stockings on his arms and played to the female crowd too much) will be missed especially by an infirm and shallow Raw roster. The lesson Hardy may learn now that those who are older and wiser have in the past is that even though you may have given your blood, sweat and tears to the business, it is not an industry that looks after its own when the curtain falls. Fans remember and respect the sacrifices. Promoters often don\'t.


Here is some more of your feedback regarding the last Mat Matters editorial: Game\'s over for WWE\'s chump champ.

I agree completely with your article.  I have been an avid wrestling fan for about 20 years now, however, in the last year I have strayed from watching PPV wrestling as Triple H\'s involvement with Stephanie has been pure selfishness when it comes to the wrestling industry.  I hate hearing about how hard individual wrestler\'s work to try to get to the top but yet somehow are always avoided when it comes to the WWE\'s crown. Triple H\'s involvement in maint event cards is hurting the wrestling industry and until he is put at a lower level I refuse to watch.

\"fudge16\" (A disgusted wrestling fan)

First of all, why does everyone always get all over HHH?  Because he\'s dating Stephanie?  Likely.  Because you need something to write about?  Probably.  Because your favorite wrestler doesn\'t have the title instead?  Bingo, major one there I think.  Granted, the necrophilia angle has definitely got to be one of the lowest points in \"The Game\"\'s career, but he has proved time and time again (even after his quad injury) that he is that damn good - and is one of the best in the business today.  I totally agree with what Mr. Yeti73859 says.  People didn\'t do this to Hogan or Flair.  Plus, what you said in your column - implying that Triple H being champion, is why the ratings are down - is so far off, it\'s not even funny.  Plus Hunter can turn it on and have match of the year candidates whenever he wants. Think of just some of the excellant matches he\'s in.  -Royal Rumble 2000 streetfight against Cactus Jack -Wrestlemania X8 match against The Undertaker -Survivor Series 2002 elimination chamber match (with a crushed trachea i might add) Those are just a few.  Plus, I thought when he and Stephanie took over, that whole period, was really good tv.    Think about it. 

Brett Carruthers

Booker T should dominate professional wrestling the way Austin did. He has the charisma to be both colorful, and very menacing. He should be Number One right now. I hope things start to change soon.

I got really sick of Austin the last 2 or 3 years too. I was tired of seeing him win match after match. Talk about skin color issues, why did the Rock never beat Austin, until Austin\'s very last match at Wrestlemania? That wasn\'t fair either.

Amanda

Triple H is the reason I don\'t watch RAW any more. He is the reason Y2J, Booker T, Chris Benoit, RVD, Kane have hit the \"glass ceiling\" in the WWE. He is the reason over-the-hill performers Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels are back. He is an embarrasment to the WWE and the stockholders should hold Vince and Linda accountable for RAW\'s ratings. He is the reason the WWE has lost me as a fan because they continually try and pass this man off as a champion when he is only a broken down backstage politician.

Tim Trainor