AEW star Jeff Hardy looks bad during his tag team match against Young Box with his brother Matt in the company Twice or nothing Sunday PPV. The seemingly straightforward explanation, at the time, was that he had just jumped into hell, mainly due to an eye-popping stunt show in a match with Derby Alin three weeks ago. But after pulling Jeff out of the follow-up episode of AEW Dynamite On Wednesday, Matt revealed that his struggles in the match were as emotional as they were physical, adding in his podcast on Friday that Jeff was “running in the smoke” of the match because he was “almost knocked out.”
Matt explains (starting near the 5:10 mark) that Jeff can’t really remember the match, they don’t know exactly when the injury could happen. This in itself is frightening, but after the actors’ reaction became clear that Jeff himself was not significantly involved in the danger:
“He doesn’t remember the match at all after that incident, so thank God Young Box The Young Box and I and I were — he was literally a pot throughout the match that he was instructed to do. He was supposed to. So at the start of the match he was really terribly knocked out, considering he still did what he did and did quite well to do what he did. It’s so funny that he’s still such a great athlete and good at what he does. If you look at what Swanton does on the stairs, he still does it perfectly, and he doesn’t realize he has to do it until he’s told he has to. “
Here’s a look at that Swanton. Remember Hardy is 44 years old.
If there is a concern that a person may be hurt, it is not something he should be allowed to do. As an observer without any wrestling experience, I admit I didn’t accept anything more than “Jeff doesn’t look like he used to.” But for those who are more adept at business, the problem is obvious. Retired wrestler and Impact Wrestling producer Lance Storm, in his own podcast on Tuesday, shared how worried Jeff was when he watched the Hardis vs Young Box match:
“She is lying dead on the mat, and she looks like a corpse. And the doctor is examining him more, and the boys are wrestling, and he’s lying there as if he’s a corpse, and I’m really worried. And then they have to shout at him and tell him to stand up and come here to do things. And then he did (whispering in the air) and he made a mistake as he climbed the top rope three times, and that’s the easiest way to get to the top rope – from the inside. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hope he doesn’t commit suicide.’ And then his condition got worse, and he kept climbing the rope for more stunts and like that, I couldn’t enjoy this match because I was just scared to death this guy was going to die. “
Storm connects to a similar situation in his career at the moment, when his tag team partner William Regal suffered which was later confirmed due to injury in a match against Ken and Rob Van Dam in WWE. No way out In 2003. In this case, however, Storm found a safe way to move forward without interrupting performance:
“I saw Regal’s face go blank, and when Kane covered him I thought, ‘I don’t think Regal is right’ …and I just look at Regal and I think, ‘There’s something wrong.’ And I just grabbed his hand and pulled him like two legs so I could tag. And I just said (why), ‘I’ll be there until I know if he’s OK.’ And we’ve completely changed the match, and I’m just here. “
Matt’s discomfort at describing Jeff’s injury is a window into the “show must go on” determination among many wrestlers. That Hardis is in the twilight of their careers, and that this could be one of their last chances for a really good match on such a big stage, increases the pressure to continue. That is why doing something like a storm should not be on them. Rick Knox was the referee for the match, and his non-storeline job was to make sure the performers were safe and to communicate information to the producers behind them if they weren’t. Dr. Michael Sampson, who works as AEW’s Ringside Physician, is also responsible for Jeff’s situation. That AEW had already dealt with a hardy connection controversy two years ago, when Matt was cleared to run a match too fast after a bad batch, meant they should have been better prepared to take action.
Wrestling is terrified by CTE, and anyone involved in any sport or performance, including the risk of head injury, should be well versed in the dangers right now. A PPV in particular that included a huge tribute to Wayne Hart, who was killed during the 1999 WWE PPV by a poorly planned stunt that cost the company $ 18 million to settle an unjust death lawsuit – a horror. This seems to be an example of negligence on the part of AEW. The widespread notion that wrestling is all “fake” means that they can probably avoid the scrutiny of the NFL or NHL team if a player tightens it when shocked. But ignoring the danger that Hardy was in is pretty real.