Jeff Hardy was last seen in WWE over seven years ago, when he lost a steel cage match to CM Punk only days before getting arrested for drug trafficking, an incident that essentially ended his WWE career. Nonetheless, fans of The Charismatic Enigma have been clamoring for him to make a return ever since. This is despite the fact Hardy started wrestling for Total Nonstop Action only a few short months after his WWE departure and remains a top star for that company to this day. Even with TNA out of the picture, there is a decent question as to whether or not WWE would ever even allow Hardy to return, regardless of how loudly or for how long fans have been begging him to make a comeback.
The truth is, while Hardy was able to become wildly popular at certain points of his career, other parts of Hardy’s saga remain embarrassing both to himself, and to the WWE Universe in general. Considering even some of the good sections of Hardy’s career were marred with unfortunate moments, its possible WWE wants their fans to forget about Jeff Hardy altogether. That might be a little harsh, but keep reading if you want to learn about 15 things in particular WWE definitely wishes you would forget about Jeff Hardy.
15 He Started As A Backyarder
Arguably the most important message fans hear during WWE television is one the company has been pushing for decades: don’t try this at home. Despite this phrase being repeated ad naseum throughout history, dozens of fans have nonetheless copied their favorite wrestling moves in their own backyards, usually haphazardly and with unfortunate results. Two particularly famous backyard wrestlers were none other than The Hardy Boyz, Jeff and Matt, who started their careers in their own Trampoline Wrestling Federation, which was exactly what it sounded like.
The Hardy Boys weren’t the only backyard wrestlers to turn into top superstars and chances are they won’t be the last. This doesn’t change how dangerous and poorly thought out their decision to do backflips off their trampolines was and neither WWE nor TNA would want to highlight this information, considering how damaging it could be to their younger viewers.
14 He Wrestled on Raw When He Was 16
The world is also impressed when someone manages an incredible achievement at a younger than usual age. That said, there are certain things in this world that require a certain level of training and experience that youth generally doesn’t allowed and attempting these things too young is often viewed as foolish and dangerous. Therefore, WWE doesn’t often advertise the fact Jeff Hardy made his debut for the company when he was only 16 years old, performing under the name Keith Davis against Razor Ramon on an early episode of Raw.
Hardy lied about his age to get the job, although his performance that night would earn him several more, so you’d expect someone at WWE would have double-checked his ID along the way. Additionally, he only went by the name Keith Davis because he was a last minute replacement for another jobber named, you guessed it, Keith Davis. With an inauspicious debut that also manages to embarrass the company, don’t expect Hardy ever to pop up on a list of superstars who changed the world from day one. In fact, it would be a long time before Hardy had any effect on wrestling, because…
13 He Was A Jobber For Over 5 Years
Although wrestlers don’t need to win every single match to become a legend, it would help if they at least won a couple of them on their way to superstardom. It would take Jeff Hardy four entire years to figure this out, or at least that would be how long it took before WWE gave him the opportunity to prove himself, as he went 1994 to 1998 without ever cleanly winning a match in the company.
Jeff was such a disposable jobber he wrestled under a variety of different names, including the aforementioned Keith Davis, his real name, and Ingus Jynx. Jeff’s biggest profile job during this era was against Rob Van Dam, during RVD’s brief WWE stint that fueled his whole damn show persona down in ECW. Jeff was virtually nameless at that point, however, and it wasn’t until he and his brother received further training and signed full-time WWE contracts in late 1998 that their careers actually become something WWE could be proud of. Of course, there were still some mistakes along the way, including…
12 He and Matt Were Managed By Michael Hayes
One criticism Jeff Hardy has consistently received throughout is career is that despite his wild popularity and flashy move set, he was never that special a performer when it came to his work on the microphone. The usual solution to this problem is a manager and though Jeff would eventually outgrow them, his early career was filled with men and women helping do the talking while he and Matt wowed in the ring. The first such manager was Michael Hayes and though Hayes is a WWE Hall of Famer, he didn’t really fit The Hardyz mold, to say the least.
Hayes had been working for WWE for several years prior to managing The Hardyz, performing as the heel announcer Dok Hendrix. The union didn't really make much sense and The Hardyz fired Hayes only a few months after their relationship began, and WWE has mostly ignored the fact he lead them to their earliest success as a result. And speaking of that success…
11 He Won His First Title at 21
Michael Hayes and The Hardy Boyz may not have been a match made in heaven, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t at least a little bit of value to their partnership. The Hardy Boyz won their first WWE Tag Team Championships in June of 1999, defeating The Acolytes with Hayes assistance. Though The Acolytes would win the titles back less than a month later, the win remained historic as The Hardyz first taste of gold and for another reason related to Jeff in particular.
Having wrestled his first match on Raw at only 16, it should go without saying Jeff Hardy started his career earlier than the average wrestler and thus his successes began at an early age, as well. Jeff was only 21 years old when he won his first championship belt in WWE, thus making him the second youngest champion ever at that point, trailing only The 1-2-3 Kid by a manner of mere months. Both men would later be eclipsed in this feat, although Jeff has an even greater claim to fame with another title…
10 He Was the Youngest Intercontinental Champion Ever
Despite five years of jobbing, once The Hardyz were placed into the spotlight, they almost instantly became huge stars, both as a tag team and as solo competitors. Jeff was standing out due to his daredevil antics and trademark enigmatic charisma, which is how he earned the right to challenge Triple H for the WWE Intercontinental Championship during the height of the Two-Man Power Trip in 2001. Hardy improbably defeated Triple H for the title on an episode of SmackDown, and at only 21 years old, Hardy therefore became the youngest Intercontinental Championship in WWE history.
Triple H reclaimed the title from Hardy four days later on Raw and it would be over five years before Jeff had another run with that particular title. Nonetheless, by even holding the belt at all when he was as young as he was is an accomplishment in and of itself, and a sign that Hardy was primed to become a superstar from the start. Of course, this whole episode also makes Triple H look weak and glorifies a person who would later embarrass WWE, so this particular achievement of Hardy’s is glossed over in recent company retrospectives about the Intercontinental Championship.
9 He Held the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship
Typically, any championship victory by any wrestler is a reason for fans of that wrestler to rejoice. Whether the company’s top prize or merely a midcard placeholder, a superstar winning a championship belt means the company has plans for them, at least in the short term and it’s rare fans would have any reason to complain about that. However, winning a title can indeed be a bad thing if it pigeonholes the people who won it into boxes they don’t want to get stuck into, as was often the case with the short lived WWE Light Heavyweight Championship.
The wrestling landscape has changed over the past few decades to allow smaller superstars to win the biggest titles WWE has to offer. Not ten years ago, however, such a thing was an incredible rarity and being marked as a lightweight was an easy way for a wrestler to say goodbye to their chances as a future World Champion. Jeff Hardy was one of the few to break this trend, as he briefly held the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship in 2001, defeating Jerry Lynn for the title on an episode of SmackDown. Perhaps part of what saved Hardy from being trapped with a reputation as a little guy was the fact he only held the title for three weeks before losing it to X-Pac.
8 He Was the Last Defending European Champion
We may have spoke too soon about championship victories always signifying something great for a wrestler, as less than one year later, Jeff was back in the exact same scenario where winning a belt hurt him more than it helped him. Hardy defeated William Regal for the European Championship in late 2002 and, this time, the problem was that the belt didn’t really mean anything anymore, and it was time for the company to get rid of it in the first place. Hardy became the last person to defend the title two weeks after winning it, putting it on the line in a unification ladder match against Rob Van Dam.
The ladder match between Hardy and RVD was as good as fans would have expected it to be, but many were still sad to see the European Championship go, as pointless as it was becoming during the belt’s dying days. Giving the title to Hardy could have revitalized them both had WWE wanted to do so, and yet for whatever reason, the company chose to kill off the title and Hardy’s momentum in one fell swoop.
7 Rico Called Him Out Live on Pay-Per-View
Practically every human being alive has made a mistake on the job and that goes double for people who work in live entertainment. Pro wrestlers constantly have to adapt to the physical limitations and accidents of their co-workers, with some better at handling these pitfalls than others. Given the nature of live TV, the only solution is to ignore it and move on, but sometimes the mistakes are so big and drastic that fans find them almost impossible to ignore. Jeff Hardy made a mistake like this in the opening match of Survivor Series 2002, teaming with The Dudley Boyz against Rico and 3-Minute Warning in an elimination tables match.
The cameramen on hand were wise enough not to put a spotlight on exactly what the problem was, but fans knew for a fact there had to be a problem of some sort as Rico stood on top of the turnbuckle, teasing a splash through a table that could end the match, and dancing…and dancing…and dancing…until ultimately he had no choice but to yell “Come on, Jeff, god damn it!” so Hardy would finally take his cue and prevent Rico from going through with the move and winning the match. Even if Rico could have used better judgment in his word choice, it’s hard to argue he was at fault in this scenario and Jeff remains responsible for the embarrassing exposure of the business this spot infamously became.
6 He Was Linked On Screen With Trish Stratus
Team Extreme are looked back upon as one of the most popular stables of the Attitude Era, and they were, despite the fact the “team” consisted of only three people: The Hardy Boyz and Lita. Throughout much of Team Extreme’s tenure together, Matt and Lita were in a relationship and although Jeff never disapproved of their union, he often became a third wheel as a result of it. Matt lost his status as the only Hardy brother to find love when Jeff started hanging out with Trish Stratus, gradually forming a short lived on screen relationship that rarely gets brought up today.
Jeff and Trish continued to date on TV for several few months near the end of Jeff’s first WWE run. The duo would interact with Matt and Lita on multiple occasions, with the two implying Trish was negatively affecting Jeff, slowly turning him into a heel for the first time in his solo career. WWE probably wants fans to forget all about this because it never went anywhere, not to mention the fact it complicates the legend of Trish Stratus. More importantly, however, is the reason it was scrapped so quickly, which has more to do with Jeff’s personal life, so while we’re on the subject…
5 He Refused To Go To Rehab in 2003
The WWE Talent Wellness Program wasn’t created until 2006, but that doesn’t mean the company didn’t occasionally drug test their superstars like any other organization, especially when there were signs said talent might have a problem. In 2003, Jeff Hardy was missing shows and acting increasingly erratic, causing the company to suggest he attend a rehab facility. Jeff refused and was understandably released from his contract as a result.
Hardy would continue to deny he ever needed to go to rehab even after he returned to the company and admitted his drug problem had been getting the better of him during the end of his last run. He even boasted about the matter himself on an episode of SmackDown, but the WWE Universe was less proud of Hardy than he was of himself at the idea he was above treatment. Perhaps this entire list would be a moot point had Hardy accepted that first offer of rehab and cleaned up his act, leading to a future legend that made any negatives about his career irrelevant. Instead, the boast stands as a cautionary warning that Hardy may never actually defeat his demons, since he refuses to seek help in doing so.
4 He Wrestled One Horrible Match for Ring of Honor
WWE is getting increasingly warm to the idea of advertising the matches their superstars work for smaller promotions, especially the independent company Ring of Honor, which has been mentioned by name several times on both Raw and SmackDown. Stars like CM Punk, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and plenty of others, started their careers or built their legacies in RoH, and though WWE still doesn’t necessarily promote this fact outright, they no longer hide from it when discussing the full story of their top stars.
Things are a little bit different when it comes to Jeff Hardy’s stay in the largest indy in America. Hardy only wrestled one match for Ring of Honor, and it was more memorable for the crowd response than anything else. Hardy wrestled as Willow the Wisp, defeating Joey Matthews and Krazy K, only for fans to chant “You got fired!” Hardy never spoke out about the incident, and WWE is probably thankful not many fans know about it, considering how soon after being a top star Jeff had managed to completely embarrass himself.
3 He and Matt Accidentally Destroyed Joey Mercury's Face
Jeff’s second run with WWE was even more successful than his first and was filled with memorable and exciting moments, hence why it hasn’t come up much on this list. One moment in particular nobody wants to remember, however, came only a few months after Jeff made his big return, at which point he had reunited with his brother Matt and was again competing for the Tag Team Championships. The Hardy Boyz wrestled three other teams at Armageddon 2006 in a ladder match for the titles and, although The Hardyz lost the match, they were responsible for the most gruesome and unforgettable spot of the night.
Matt and Jeff Hardy broke Joey Mercury’s nose by seesawing a ladder into his face, shattering his orbital bone and causing him to bleed, as Matt Hardy would later say, “like someone went to the sink and turned the faucet on.” Mercury eventually recovered and The Hardyz were never particularly blamed for the injury, nor should they have been. Nonetheless, the accident itself was so gory and brutal that WWE probably doesn’t want fans thinking about it and they definitely don’t expecting that sort of thing to happen in the company ever again.
2 He Was Arrested For Drug Trafficking Weeks After SummerSlam 2009
Once Jeff made his comeback in 2006, he was on the fast track for true stardom, as fans were responding to his high flying, show stealing antics louder than ever before. Even during the rise of stars like Randy Orton, John Cena, and Batista, wrestling journalists at PWI called Jeff the Most Popular Wrestler of the year in 2008 and 2009, and these claims would be hard to argue. Hardy rode his popularity to one WWE and two World Heavyweight Championship wins, the last of which ended only weeks before his departure from the company.
Despite all of these accolades, it’s unlikely Jeff will ever be welcomed back to WWE and as embarrassing as they were, the items on this list have yet to truly touch upon the full reason why. Jeff Hardy was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking on September 11, 2009, weeks after SummerSlam and days after requesting time off from WWE. Hardy’s house was raided by police, who found hundreds of pills, steroids, cocaine, and various other drug paraphernalia. Hardy eventually pled guilty and served jail time over the arrest, and WWE has seemingly been out of contact with The Charismatic Enigma ever since.
1 He Ruined Victory Road 2011
WWE doesn’t really care about anything that happens outside of WWE and therefore this list generally ignored anything Jeff did outside of that company unless it was particularly embarrassing, as well. Despite a long standing policy not to acknowledge TNA, one incident in particular that even WWE officials had to have heard about and shake their heads at was the main event of Victory Road 2011. Victory Road is one of the top Pay-Per-Views of the TNA calendar year, with this show set to be headlined by Jeff Hardy challenging Sting for the TNA World Championship. The match only happened in the most general sense of the word, as it lasted precisely one minute long, and left the crowd proclaiming “bulls---,” with even Sting forced to admit he agreed with them.
The cause for the negativity was the fact Jeff apparently showed up to the event drugged out of his mind and completely unable to compete, causing Sting to end the match as quickly as possible lest, he put both Jeff and himself in danger. Regardless of the fact this took place outside of WWE doors, even Vince McMahon must have been a little embarrassed to hear about this, as Jeff was at one point one of his top stars too. Hardy truly made a joke out of an entire industry at Victory Road and the event remains the reason we think WWE might not care so much about the specifics, and just wants us to forget about Jeff in general, instead.