At the time, Matt and Jeff had already established themselves as one of the top teams in WWE, but they embarked on solo runs in 2007. Jeff, who won the Intercontinental Championship in September, entered the world title picture at the end of the year and started feuding with WWE Champion Randy Orton. Though he lost to Orton at WWE Royal Rumble 2008, the company continued to push Jeff. But in March, he got suspended due to a violation of WWE’s Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy. This setback came shortly before WrestleMania 24, and Hardy had been rumored as one of the favorites to win the Money in the Bank Match.
Speaking on the Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt was asked whether the rumors were true. He confirmed it as “Matt Fact” and explained that the company was ready to roll with Jeff as a main-event star. Matt credited Freddie Prinze Jr., who as on the writing team at the time, for some of Jeff’s creative before he recalled that his brother failed a drug test during an international tour in Mexico, so the plans changed.
“Matt Fact. Yes, he was,” he said. “That was the plan, that 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.’
“It was around the time too when he was starting to paint his face again, if I’m not mistaken, and they started leaning into stuff that was very Jeff Hardy-ish, and Freddie Prinze was kind of leading that charge in many ways. 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 back or whatever it was, but he did end up getting popped on a drug test.
Matt then recalled how Jeff told him about Vince McMahon’s reaction to the failed drug test. When the WWE Chairman called “The Charismatic Enigma”, he used some colorful language to illustrate his frustration. However, after a lengthy discussion, everything was “kosher” as Jeff apologized.
“One of the things I remember he told from the story is like Michael Hayes had called him at home and said, ‘Hey, what is going on here? I can’t believe, we did all this,’ and whatever. He said, ‘Vince is gonna call you in just a few minutes, alright, so be ready to answer the phone.’ Then I guess Vince called him, and Jeff’s like, ‘Hello?’ And he’s like, ‘What the fuck have you done?’ That was his greeting right from the beginning. I guess they talked it though, and at the end of the conversation, Jeff said they spoke for a while, they seemed to be kosher. Jeff just apologized and regretted making that mistake, but it was what it was.”
When asked to describe how he felt about Jeff failing the drug test, Matt stated that it was a sad and disappointing setback. But he also emphasized that while Jeff has had addiction problems, these issues aren’t a reflection of his character.
“It was very sad, disappointing,” Matt said. “But also he’s a human being, and he’s had issues throughout his life with that, so 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.”
Matt was also asked whether he thought Jeff could still be a top guy in WWE at the time, given the failed drug test and other incidents. He noted that, with wrestling, you never know how politics will play a factor in situations like this. Matt emphasized that Jeff was still quite popular, and fans continued to support him, so the level of his success depended on how management felt.
“I don’t know. I mean politically, in pro wrestling, you never know what an event like that, how much it’s gonna set you back, or if you’re gonna be given another opportunity, or whatnot,” Matt said. “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 just willing to give him another shot.”
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