or Scott Hall 2.0
Something I've been seeing a lot of lately on TNAsylum is strong opinions on what TNA should do about the Jeff Hardy situation. It's the general consensus that he needs to be reprimanded like nobody's business, but that seems to be where the opinions start to differ. Some people think he should be fired, others think he should be kept off TV until his legal problems are over and eventually be brought back as a babyface.
As is often the case, I find myself somewhere in the middle.
I am not a Jeff Hardy fan. Never have been. Never will be. While he's had his share of great matches, I've always thought he was overrated as a performer. And then there's the other stuff...
Let's be completely frank here. Jeff Hardy is a self-destructive flake and a career fuck-up. He's also pretty obviously a drug addict. I question how much passion he really has for this business, and after Victory Road I think everybody is seriously questioning his ability to be a professional and do his job -- something I was questioning on 1/04/10 when he first showed up.
TNA were stupid to put as much faith in Jeff Hardy as they did and even stupider to put the world title on him. Knowing his history, they should have had at least some idea that it would blow up in their faces, but, proving that they learned absolutely nothing from the Scott Hall debacle (both of them), they did it anyway.
TNA, what on earth made you think this would work out for you?
Every time Jeff Hardy has reached the top of the ladder in the wrestling business in whatever company he worked for, he's found a way to sabotage himself. Every. Single. Time. Did you honestly think this time would be any different? WHY? If this guy were still in WWE, he'd be on his 5th or 6th strike by now and would almost certainly have been fired (again).
And believe me, I would not venture to disagree with anyone who says Hardy should be fired after his latest blunder -- I just don't believe for one second that it's going to happen. I give Dixie Carter credit for a lot of things: saving TNA from going out of business, growing the company (albeit slowly) for almost 9 years, etc. But one thing I find extremely frustrating about her is that she doesn't seem to have the stomach to make the hard decisions (ex. making much needed roster cuts), even when anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together can see they need to be made.
Dixie Carter is not going to fire Jeff Hardy. Why? Because he makes the company money. Therein lies the problem. At what point is the money this guy makes TNA not enough for them to overlook things like what happened at Victory Road? Is he going to face any consequences for that other then being sent home from TV for a few weeks? He hasn't so far, which leads me to wonder what the hell company management is waiting for.
I'm not saying Jeff Hardy doesn't do big business. I'm not saying he doesn't draw ratings, or move merchandise, or put asses in the seats. But the guy is a liability. He's proven countless times that he can't be relied upon. He's had any number of opportunities to straighten himself out and he refuses to do it to this day. For all intents and purposes, he's Scott Hall 2.0... but don't even get me started on that dirtbag.
So the question is what to do about Jeff Hardy? Does he need to be punished? Yes. Did he seriously embarrass the company and let his fans down? Yes. Will he do it again if given enough rope to hang himself? If history is any indication, yes. But does he make the company a lot of money? As much as it pains me to admit it, yes.
Hardy is a liability TNA doesn't need, but he's also a cash cow they clearly don't want to get rid of. They want the revenue he brings in, but the last thing they want is another incident like Victory Road, and as long as they continue to foster an environment backstage where such a thing is even allowed to happen in the first place, they can't guarantee that won't happen again.
In my opinion, they need to give Hardy an ultimatum...
Get help or get out.
Lay down the law for God's sake. Sit down with this guy and tell him that you don't give a rat's ass whether he thinks he needs help or not. Either he completes a thorough and extensive rehabilitation process followed by a long probationary period where he has to prove that company officials can trust him and that he can stay clean, or show him the door. If he can't offer the company some real assurance that he won't have another meltdown the second they put him in a critical spot, then kick his unprofessional ass the hell out.
Would it mean that they could potentially miss out on a lot of money. Yeah. Does it need to happen anyway? Yeah. But will they give him this ultimatum? Probably not.
This is one of those hard decisions I was talking about earlier. I may have a lot of issues with Vince Mcmahon, but one thing I like about him is that he is no pushover. When he has to make an unpopular decision which won't really benefit anybody, but needs to be made anyway, he does it.
Say whatever you want about him, but do you think for one second that Vince Mcmahon would have ever stood for something like this? Had the Victory Road debacle happened under his watch, Hardy would have been suspended immediately, and someone backstage would have been made an example of and future endeavored, quite possibly followed by Hardy himself. His company would miss out on a lot of money by doing this, but that's no reason to tolerate unprofessional horse shit like what Jeff Hardy did.
I'm reminded of the Jack Nicholson character from A Few Good Men. At the end of that movie, he has this great monologue where he tells Tom Cruise's character that, while Tom may not like the things he's done, somewhere deep down inside, Tom knows that these things have to be done regardless. Vince Mcmahon is that person in WWE. TNA has no one like that, and they need one badly.
TNA, Ms. Carter, you made this mistake with Scott Hall and it blew up in your faces. Learn your lesson this time. We all know you're not going to fire Jeff Hardy for what he did at Victory Road. But if he isn't at the very least severely punished, if you don't lay down the law with this idiot for his own good, there's going to be nothing stopping him from doing it again. And he will.