What better way to say goodbye to the year 2010 than to count down the 10 biggest stories of the year in professional wrestling?
This 10-part series is designed to do exactly that, and each installment will be dedicated to the stories that fueled the very Internet fodder that makes the dirt-sheet media world go round.
No. 9. Fun with Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy forged a career in professional wrestling the hard way.
With help from his brother, Jeff, the Hardy brothers' rough road to professional wrestling started in a backyard of all places.
Through the humble beginnings of a backyard pro wrestling promotion, the undeniable passion the brothers had for pro wrestling would eventually translate into an opportunity to be featured in the biggest pro wrestling company in the world.
The rest, as they say, is history. In 2010, so was Matt Hardy's WWE career.
One of the bigger stories of the year 2010 involved a series of bizarre events that illustrated a slow erosion of Matt Hardy's physical health, mental health, and eventually his life's work.
With his role as a veteran mid-carder solidified, and a future as an agent all but guaranteed, Matt Hardy's growing frustrations with WWE could no longer be contained.
Following the departure of Jeff Hardy in 2009, WWE chose to remind its viewing audience of the drug problems that have plagued Jeff Hardy (and continue to do so) for much of his wrestling career.
Stinging promos by CM Punk, where Punk was continuously booked to lash out publicly against Jeff Hardy's drug abuse, had begun to take their toll on Matt Hardy. Events following the departure of Jeff Hardy had appeared to be a catalyst for Matt Hardy's increased hostility towards WWE.
It wouldn't be 100 percent accurate to point to one single event as the cause of Matt Hardy's ultimate disillusionment with the fed. Jeff Hardy left. Longtime friend of the Hardy's, Gregory Helms was fired. Matt's ho-hum position with the company as a singles wrestler did not qutie agree with the passion he had for the wrestling business since his adolescence.
The unforgiving day-to-day grind that is WWE certainly didn't help.
It was becoming painfully obvious that Matt Hardy had had enough with, what Jim Ross once described as, the wrecking lives leader in sports and entertainment.
As the second half of 2010 dragged on as it did for Matt Hardy, circa WWE 2010, Matt Hardy would use his affinity for social networking to broadcast an unmitigated meltdown en route to his imminent release from WWE.
Web videos and twitter updates from Matt Hardy were nothing new. In fact, such access and availability to his fanbase was what made Matt Hardy one of the more popular wrestlers on the otherwise curmudgeonly and jaded Internet wrestling community.
What was so bizarre about Matt Hardy's string of online activities in the months leading to his release was the content of these web escapades.
With every click of the refresh button on a web browser, inquiring minds could see updated examples of Matt Hardy both directly and indirectly expressing resentment towards his then current employer.
Links to shoot interviews featuring embittered former WWE wrestlers (including Hardy's aforementioned friend Gregory Helms), and live blogging about a TNA pay-per-view via Twitter were just a couple examples of Matt Hardy basically begging to be released from his WWE contract with content detrimental to the fed.
The increasingly bitter tone in Matt Hardy's sentiments towards WWE coincided with Hardy's visibly deteriorating physical health.
In fact, Hardy's physical shape had gotten so bad that he was pulled from a WWE tour of Europe, an incident which served as the beginning of a climax to an ugly exit that had become nothing short of an inevitability.
The pinnacle of the online onslaught from Matt Hardy came in a rather alarming video response to a news story featuring Matt Hardy himself.
The news story, by the PWTorch, reported that Hardy had been 'sent home' by the WWE during a recent tour of Europe due to being in poor physical condition.
Using semantics to his advantage, Hardy publicly and vehemently refuted these reports of his demise with video entry No. 73.
Seemingly in an altered state while filming proof that he was still technically in Europe (it was later confirmed that Hardy was pulled from the tour as opposed to being sent home), Matt Hardy's attempt at laying waste to reports of his demise had only fueled further speculation on his physical and mental health.
The incidents stemming from the WWE's tour of Europe signaled the point of no return for Matt Hardy and WWE. Following the controversy, Matt Hardy's anti-WWE sentiments only grew stronger and seemed to be eating away at him from the inside out.
Now, Matt Hardy wasn't just taking his frustrations out on the WWE, he was going after anybody who dared to have an opinion about him.
With rabbit ears intact, Matt Hardy responded to comments made by his ex Lita as well as former WWE doormat Paul London.
Hardy's continuing efforts to be released from his WWE contract, albeit unprofessional, were eventually rewarded when Hardy was released from the WWE in October 2010.
The release, by this point, was no big surprise. However the circus-like events and storylines leading up to it created one of the more talked about pro wrestling divorces in recent memory.
Top Ten of 2010
9. Matt Hardy released