For me, and I guess a lot of other wrestling fans, Matt Hardy has always been one of the folk heroes in modern professional wrestling.
He is a born and bred competitor with a heart matched by very few whose undeniable passion for the sport elevated him to achieving a cult-like fanbase midway through this past decade.
Matt's in-ring ability and talent was only equaled by his love of his fans. A strong grasp on social media cemented his position as a hero to the underclass, the working class, and those searching for a new champion.
Or, well...this is what we're told.
I guess the reality is for 10 years Matt Hardy as been on the forefront of breaking the glass ceiling. Sadly, I must stop there. The reality again is this is also what we've been told.
Living in the shadow of his charismatic younger brother became both a gift and a curse for Matt Hardy. On one hand, the flow-on effect from Jeff's popularity and devil-may-care style of offense allowed Matt to become one half of the enigmatic Hardy Boyz combination.
The curse. Matt's reputation would survive for much of his career on the achievements of his younger sibling. If Jeff Hardy broke new ground as a singles competitor, it was expected Matt would follow suit and it would only be a matter of time until Matt Hardy was performing on that same level.
Fast forward a half decade, and the same story is still being told.
Wrestling traditionalists and alike call for the children to gather 'round and come in close.
"This story begins with a noble warrior with a cultivated pedigree. Battle tested and true, a man of honor and dignity. An uncrowned champion fighting the good fight, whether in good times or bad..."
Blah, blah, blah. Not much as changed in five years. Or 10 years for that matter. Matt Hardy is still that same guy on the verge of becoming a "Superstar" performer in the WWE. Or sadly, this is the fable we're told week in, week out.
Now at 35 years of age, he is quickly becoming a shell of his former self. Unfit, unstable, and developing an ever-increasing negative opinion of his employer, his colleagues, and his position in the WWE.
The question remains: Is it time to cut Matt Hardy loose?
Five years ago, Matt was an expendable asset to the WWE despite being arguably at his personal and psychical peak as a performer and athlete. His approach to a real life personal issue with Adam Copeland and former girlfriend, Amy Dumas resulted in his release from World Wrestling Entertainment.
The personal problems and potential locker room conflict aside, the WWE had no problems releasing Matt Hardy in 2005.
Today Matt Hardy is a broken, bruised, and out-of-shape competitor with an increasingly disapproving opinion of his situation and a growing level of volatility towards his fellow employees, matched with a limited amount of success as a singles competitor and credibility as a franchise.
This is 2010, and the WWE should have no problems releasing Matt Hardy for the second time.