Earlier this year, I debuted an exclusive weekly column entitled WWE's Pushed to Punished, which covered the careers of rising WWE Superstars who eventually met their downfall. My latest edition, and presumably final, came this past April when I recapped the triumph and tragedy of former ECW star, Elijah Burke, otherwise known as TNA's D'angelo Dinero.
However, in light of recent events, I have decided to renew my series for five more editions with a fresh batch of subjects to analyze. This time around, I look to review the rise and fall of the controversial internet star and recently unemployed, Matt Hardy.
Three years ago, Matt Hardy began his fast track on the rise to the top of the WWE, returning from a crucial surgery at WrestleMania 24 and making an impact by causing former foe and tag team partner MVP the Money in the Bank Ladder Match following a memorable Twist of Fate off the ladder. A short month later, Hardy captured his first United States Championship from the lost-reigning champion in SmackDown history at Backlash, a title in which he would hold for a solid three months.
In the midst of his championship reign, Hardy was sent packing to the watered down ECW brand after top names such as Kane and CM Punk were also victims of the landscape-changing 2008 WWE Draft. Here, the man who shall not die was truly given his chance to shine.
After winning the prestigious ECW Championship in the first-ever Scramble Match at that year's Unforgiven event, Hardy would go to to successfully retain his gold on numerous occasions before dropping the strap to the then-undefeated Jack Swagger in early 2009.
Although the returning Christian was originally planned to be revealed as the culprit behind Jeff Hardy's recent unfortunate tragedies, the rumor was leaked on the internet hours before the Royal Rumble broadcast which forced Creative to change directions and put his own brother Matt behind the attacks instead.
For the next several months, Matt Hardy began to display his true potential as main event talent in WWE, as his heel turn was one of the best things that ever happened to him. After defeating his broken brother on two occasions, one being on the Grandest Stage of Them All at WrestleMania 25, Hardy was a shoe-in for winning his first World Championship upon his move to Raw that April.
Unfortunately, the age of Mattitude as WWE Champion came to be, as his career took quite a few turns for the worst after injuring his wrist in his "I Quit" bout with Jeff at Backlash. Hardy's in-ring role was toned down a bit due to this injury, but by the time it finally healed, he was subsequently sidelined indefinitely due to his appendix bursting during a Triple Threat match on WWE Superstars in late June.
With Creative losing all faith in the injury-prone Matt Hardy, the former ECW champ was eventually traded back to SmackDown to reunite with Jeff, erasing all logic about what the two fought over earlier in the year and turning back face in the process. Despite this, the reunion was short-lived, as the Enigmatic Jeff Hardy departed from the WWE at the conclusion of his feud with CM Punk in late August.
Most hope was lost by this point for the once-considered rising Matt Hardy, as he was amounted to nothing on Friday nights without his brother Jeff by his side. Besides a lackluster teaming with The Great Khali and competing in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 26, Hardy was once again reduced to enhancement talent.
However, it seemed as Creative invigorated their interest in Hardy, as he became engaged in a fueled rivalry with then-Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre for a number of months. Due to this, Hardy was considered a strong candidate to emerge victorious in SmackDown's Money in the Bank after a rumored heel turn in order to feud with Christian, but neither came to fruition.
For the remainder of his tenure with WWE, Hardy was sparingly used, eventually posting insane videos on his YouTube channel, demanding he be released. That October, Hardy was finally granted his release, where he served his 90-day no-compete clause before following his brother's footsteps and making his way over to TNA at the start of the new year.
At TNA's Genesis event, Matt Hardy went on to defeat Rob Van Dam in quick fashion, later revealing himself as the latest addition in the Immortal faction. Behind the scenes, officials were pleased with how Hardy's work ethic and attitude began to improve backstage, which was evident during his solid contest with AJ Styles at Victory Road.
Although Hardy's heel turn seemed to be working for himself and his stock being rising, his character was never able to recreate the same magic it had while in WWE. Jeff Hardy's drug issues overshadowed Matt as a whole this past March, leaving Cold Blood irrelevant.
Only a short while later, Matt removed himself from the active roster due to a rumored critical sickness he had endured, losing a good amount weight in the process. With a rumored return in the works for both Hardys, Matt's DUI arrest this past weekend cost him that chance, his job in TNA Wrestling,and his apparent state of mind.
Over the course of the past few days, Matt has since posted more cryptic videos and tweets on his Twitter page, blaming his recent misfortunes on a "ghost" haunting his home. His "haters" so to speak have reached an all time high, disappointed in Hardy's recent actions.
Just yesterday, TMZ reported Matt Hardy unknowingly fell down the stairs, being found by a close friend and being rushed to the emergency room. In my opinion, Matt Hardy really needs to get his life back in shape in order to ever be taken seriously again, personally and from a business standpoint.
From a different perspective, Matt Hardy has much lost potential, dropping the ball on himself on a few occasions. Sure, WWE contributed, but Matt lead his own downfall in more ways than one in addition to the numerous injuries he has sustained.
Personally, I surely hope Matt Hardy can get much better soon and resume his beloved wrestling career. A return to WWE is out of the question due to the recent events, but I've been proven wrong before.
Please, don't use the comment section to trash Matt Hardy, and to be fair, don't use it to support his actions either. Instead, respectfully voice your opinions on the piece as a whole with your thoughts on the matter.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and make sure to stay tuned for future editions of WWE's Pushed to Punished in coming weeks! But hey, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. GSM out.