Retro column from 2011 – Jeff Hardy incident at Victory Road

The following column was published by John Canton of on in March of 2011…

TJR: Thoughts on Jeff Hardy on TNA last night
By John Canton

In case you missed it, Jeff Hardy showed up in no condition to perform during the main event of TNA’s Victory Road PPV last night. He ended up losing his World Title match to Sting in a “match” that went about 90 seconds. The word last night was that Sting refused to work with Hardy because he was unsafe due to being intoxicated or on some kind of drug. I’m not going to speculate on what it was. I saw it, though, and he was not working or anythiing like that. He was on something.

Today we see this report at, which is a reliable source, saying: “We’ve heard from numerous sources that the decision was made to send Jeff Hardy home from this week’s set of Impact tapings.” What that means is TNA is taping 3 weeks of TV in the next three days. Jeff Hardy won’t be on any of those shows. I agree with the decision. This is just a start of a whole can of worms being opened, though. There’s the bigger picture.

I’ve always liked Jeff Hardy. This is not a knock on him as a performer. I paid money to watch him perform many times through the years. He deserves my money because he worked his ass off to perfect his craft and he did a great job of it. One of the best North American wrestlers in the last 15 years. I say that with all the sincerity in the world.

Then there’s Jeff Hardy the person. I don’t know him. I’ve heard things. I’ve read things. What I know is he’s been a pro wrestler for over 15 years now and as a wrestler you owe it to your paying fans (at home, at the building, etc.) to show up in a condition to perform. To not do that is a display of unprofessional behavior. Come on Jeff. You’re in your mid 30s. You should know better than to be wasted or on some drug on a live PPV. I realize that he lives a certain lifestyle. To each their own. However, you signed the contract to work for a company and if you act in a unprofessional way it’s on you. It’s not the image you should want for yourself or your company. I also think TNA could have changed the main event. Have somebody “take him out” mysteriously earlier in the show and make it a three way with RVD & Anderson or something. There’s always a way out. Sticking an inebriated dude out there in the PPV main event is irresponsible. You’re risking his health, you’re risking Sting’s health and who knows what else.

It should also open TNA’s eyes that they need some kind of drug testing policy that leads to a punishable offense. Having one that doesn’t lead to punishment is merely a joke. Far too many wrestlers have died young because of drugs. I’m not saying Jeff’s going to die. I’m just saying fans are sensitive to it and wrestlers are too.

I’m sure some are going to think it’s a “worked shoot” or something like that. I don’t think so. It was what it was. A wrestler that showed up to a PPV main event in no condition to perform. A damn shame.

Below is the video. It might get taken down. I don’t know. But if it’s still there watch it and see for yourself. It was an embarrassment. Listen to Sting at the end: “I agree! I agree!” He was talking to a fan that was sharing their disappointment. When Taz said, “Nobody expected this” he was right except it wasn’t a storyline.

This should be an eye opener for TNA in a lot of ways. For the sake of their owners, management, employees and fans I really hope that it is. I love pro wrestling. I respect everybody in the business. I have friends in the business. It’s not an easy life. It’s difficult in a lot of ways. I try to have fun with it as a fan, but when I see stuff like this it makes me sad. That’s not the “sport” that I love. This is not about bad booking or being ridiculous, which is something every promotion from WWE to TNA to WCW and son can be guilty of. We’ve all seen bad stuff, yet we’re still here watching. Because it’s a passion of ours for one reason or another. What TNA called their “main event” last night was an absolute embarrassment.

Dixie Carter, I believe you are sincere when you say you want what’s best for your fans. I believe you when you say you care about the people that work for you. Prove it with your actions. You have the power to change things. Use it. There’s no better use of power than to use in a positive way.

A proud (most of the time) pro wrestling fan,
John Canton
Twitter @johnreport