Jeff Hardy became WWE Champion by capturing the gold at Armageddon 2008. But things played out much differently than originally planned, and Matt Hardy offers up some insight about what happened.
During his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt spoke about his brother’s main event run fourteen years ago. Original plans called for Jeff to win the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 24. But a failed drug test for Jeff derailed those plans.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
Freddie Prinze supporting Jeff’s main event run in 2008: “Matt Fact: Yes, he was. That was the plan. He was gonna win this Money in the Bank briefcase, and I think at this point, they had pulled the trigger and decided they wanted to try and turn him into the champion. I know Freddie Prinze had been given this edict, like ‘Get Jeff Hardy ready for the championship.’ That’s like around the time too when he was starting to paint his face again if I’m not mistaken. They started leaning into some stuff that was very Jeff Hardy-ish, and Freddie Prinze was kind of leading that charge in many ways.”
Jeff failing a drug test: “But yeah, Jeff was in Mexico on an international tour, and at some point there, he ended up taking something, some sort of pill or substance for, I don’t know if it was his back or whatever it was, but he did end up getting popped on a drug test, and one of the things I remember he told me from the story, Michael Hayes had called him at home. He said, ‘Hey, what is going on here? I can’t believe you did all this,’ and whatever. He said, ‘Vince is gonna call you in a few minutes, so be ready to answer the phone.’ Then I guess Vince called him, and Jeff’s like, ‘Hello?’ He’s like, ‘What the fuck have you done?’ That was his greeting right from the beginning. I guess they talked it through, and at the end of the conversation, Jeff said they spoke for a while, they seemed to be kosher. Jeff apologized and regretted making that mistake, but it was what it was.”
His reaction to Jeff’s setback: “It was very sad. Disappointing, but also, he’s a human being, and he’s had issues throughout his life with that. It doesn’t mean that he has a terrible content of character. It means that he has addiction problems, obviously. So just very disappointed, especially when he had so much good stuff going on professionally in his life at that time. So it was a very sad and disappointing setback for him.”
Whether he thought Jeff would make it back to the top after the failed drug test: “I don’t know. Politically, in pro wrestling, you never know with an event like that, how much it’s gonna set you back, or if you’re gonna be given another opportunity. I felt like, at this point, he was still gonna be insanely popular and insanely over, and people still wanted to see him perform. So I guess it basically would end up coming down to how management reacted to him once he came back, and to see if they were willing to give him another shot.”
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