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#1 Posted on 27.4.03 2009.04 Reposted on: 27.4.10 2013.26
In a way, I'm glad it happened
Pick your jaws off the floor. One of the biggest Jeff Hardy fans said that. While I'm not thrilled about it and wish it was different, I am glad. There is a reason and it goes back to the Eighties.
Kerry Von Erich. Remember him? For the newbies, I will explain. Kerry was a talented wrestler back in the Eighties and early Nineties whose career has some similarities to Jeff Hardy's. However, Kerry's tale ends in tragedy, while Jeff's is still going on.
Kerry got started in the business as a teenager, even quitting school to wrestle. Pressured by family to perform. Somewhat like Jeff Hardy, wrestling dark matches at seventeen, following his older brother into the business. They both wrestled in the smaller feds at first, Kerry in Japan and with World Class, Jeff with Omega. At first, they loved it. To perform and to excel was their goal.
Then the wear and tear started to show. The constant travel and limited time off. The injuries that never had a chance to heal started to nag. The burn out showed on their faces and in the ring. Watch Jeff in the Ladder match with Edge and Christian, then watch the match with the Undertaker on Raw earlier. In one, Jeff has a fire in his eyes and in the other, his eyes are dead. In one, he's tanned and toned, the other pasty and thin.
Now here's where the stories split off. Kerry had a serious car accident in June of '86, resulting in the amputation of his foot. He wrestled with a fake foot in a boot for another seven years, taking prescription and non prescription drugs to numb the pain, always knowing he had to go on for the family. He even managed to win the IC belt from Curt Hennig at SummerSlam in 1990. Gee who else was an IC belt holder? Through it all, he kept going.
Jeff, however, stopped showing up on time for shows, then stopped showing up at all. In the Hardy Boyz biography Leap of Faith, Jeff is quoted as saying "I'll be honest - I've experimented with drugs. I've taken some pain pills. It really takes the edge off, especially when I'm really hurting, but it doesn't last." He also addresses the questions about the drastic change in his appearance by saying "I definitely don't work out like I used to, but I don't think I look bad." If what he says is true or the company line to hide a raging drug problem, who knows. After all, would a WWE approved book mention a love for vicodin?
So what happened to Kerry, you ask? On February 18th, 1993, he sat under a tree on his father's ranch and shot himself through the heart. At the age of thirty three, another wrestler gone far too soon and for all the wrong reasons.
Jeff has the chance to break the mold. He may have gotten fired from the WWE, but maybe this is the kick in the figurative ass he needed. He's been quoted as saying he wasn't as passionate about the business as his brother - now he can explore new options. Music, poetry, anything that brings the light back into his eyes.
Thanks for the memories, Jeffrey Hardy. Peace be with you and the best of luck in your future endeavors.