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. 4. Jeff Hardy Indicted on Drug Charges
Shortly after making his shocking debut with TNA Wrestling, after reportedly giving WWE a verbal commitment of returning to the Fed, Jeff Hardy was involved in yet another news-making headline just days later.
The wildly popular wrestler, whose career saw a rise to the next level of superstardom on the strength of a white-hot babyface run in 2009, has struggled with drugs throughout his career.
Always the free spirit whose 'throw caution to the wind' mindset makes him so fun to watch in the ring, Hardy has struggled with his share of drug problems.
Suspended for substance abuse twice after failing health and wellness tests with WWE, and battling similar problems during his first (and apparently his second) run in TNA, Hardy's decorated career is a testament to his immense talent because a featured program featuring the charismatic enigma always comes with its share of risks.
After splashing onto the scene in surprising fashion, at the conclusion of an awful X-Division cluster you-know-what inside the confines of a glorified playpen during the short-lived revamp of the Monday Night Wars, Hardy's year (much like his career) would go on to see nothing but twists, turns, ups and downs.
Following his indictment in January 2010, Hardy would go on to capture the TNA Heavyweight Championship just eight months later at TNA's Bound for Glory pay-per-view.
TNA was indeed taking what many felt was an unnecessary risk by putting their most important title on the embattled star. In fact, not only did they put the title on him, they created a new championship belt to fit his likeness (crack pipe not included).
With the impending trial being postponed on multiple occasions, the story of Hardy's indictment didn't seem to be much of a story.
Despite facing stiff penalties, for charges of trafficking in opium, two counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver a controlled substance, maintaining a place for a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, Hardy's lingering court case remained in limbo as months would pass by with no relevant developments.
Suddenly, however, developments of Hardy's drug trial have resurfaced to add to a busy news season in professional wrestling to end 2010. On Dec. 28, 2010, the Fayetteville Observer reported that Hardy would plead guilty to drug charges stemming from his arrest in September 2009.
Details of the guilty plea were kept under wraps by all principles involved in the ongoing trial, however it was recently reported that Hardy would be entering a negotiated plea come January and his lawyers "anticipate a resolution for this matter."
It is unknown at this point whether Hardy will face any jail time, and with Hardy being a first-time offender it is likely he will avoid any jail time, however the developing stories of a wrestling star of this caliber could result in an unprecedented prison sentence of a top wrestling star.
Never has modern day pro wrestling seen a star of Hardy's stature actually face a lengthy prison sentence, especially while still employed and (somewhat) in his prime years.
With Hardy's indictment and subsequent reports of his guilty plea making this story a major news item of 2010, Hardy's Jan. 20 sentencing holds potential for an even bigger story with the multiple-time world champion facing serious punishment.
Top Ten of 2010
4. TNA Champion Jeff Hardy Indicted on Drug Charges