Jeff Hardy Left WWE In 2009 After Losing To CM Punk

Jeff Hardy left the WWE in 2009, exiting as a legend in the ring and a future WWE Hall of Famer.

The Charismatic Enigma was a fan-favourite, with the crown always behind the former WWE Champion, no matter what.

He quickly became one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, selling more merchandise than John Cena at his peak.

In bemusing fashion, this is exactly when Jeff Hardy left the WWE. After a rivalry with CM Punk in the summer of 2009, Hardy’s contract expired.

He neglected to sign a new deal, walking out of the company at the peak of his powers, leaving a huge hole in the Smackdown main event.

Jeff Hardy Left WWE In 2009 After Feuding With CM Punk

Jeff Hardy left WWE after losing a “Loser Leaves WWE” Steel Cage Match against CM Punk, in his bid to regain the World Heavyweight Championship.

This came at the end of a heated feud between the two world champions, dealing with CM Punk‘s straight-edge lifestyle and the drug and alcohol issues that have plagued Jeff Hardy for his entire career.

It was one of the best feuds of the year, and began with CM Punk cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Hardy, soon after he became champion.

Most “loser leave town” matches in WWE are used for storyline purposes. Sometimes they are used to give a wrestler some time off, maybe due to burn out. Other times it’s used for them to switch brands, as their time on Raw and Smackdown may have come to an end.

There are many reasons to book the match and most of the time, the losing party comes back soon after, maybe even with a change of gimmick.

However, this was real for Jeff Hardy. This would be his final match in WWE for 8 years, as he took some time off from the WWE and let his contract expire.

This was puzzling, as he was at the top of his game and finally winning world championship titles, something he had worked his entire career for.

In the past year, he had become WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion and even main evented Summerslam, also against Punk.

Hardy was dealing with a series of injuries that left him in serious pain, and needed to be dealt with.

However, the former WWE Champion knew that if he stayed in WWE he would not be given the time to heal, as he would not let himself miss out on more main events and being top of the card.

This was the driving force for him to call time on his WWE career and leave the company.

Hardy was dealing with a neck injury, from two herniated disks and Restless Leg Syndrome, which is a condition that creates a strong urge to move’s one leg when not moving. It causes serious sleep problems, and affected his mental health.

This grouping of injuries made life hell for the Charismatic Enigma. It has been attributed to his relapse, and his drug and alcohol use continued until 2022.

His exit was an emotional affair. Fans were crying in the audience, begging their hero not to leave. This was made worse on the next episode of Smackdown when Hardy’s music hit, and he appeared to be back, just a week after leaving.

However, it soon transpired that it was CM Punk, dressed in Hardy’s attire and face paint, mocking him and the fans while gloating about his huge victory.

This was not the first times fans said goodbye to the Rainbow-Haired Warrior. WWE fired Jeff Hardy in 2003, shortly after facing The Rock in one of his final TV matches in the company.

Jeff Hardy Joined TNA Instead Of Returning To WWE

Fans may have expected him to return to the company within a year or two, but that would not be the case.

Jeff Hardy debuted for TNA on January 4th, 2010 as one of the new big signings under the Hulk Hogan regime.

In TNA, he enjoyed great success, but his addition reared it’s ugly head on multiple occasions, especially during his ‘match’ at Victory Road 2011 against Sting.

The pair were set to face off in a dream match for the TNA World Championship, pitting the WCW legend against a former WWE Champion.

However, Hardy was so intoxicated on an unknown substance that he barely knew where he was. He stumbled around the ring, pretending to throw his shirt into the crowd for a number of minutes before Eric Bischoff, then an executive in TNA, came to the ring to call an audible.

He told Sting to just pin Hardy and get out of there. Sting obliged, visibly angry as he hit his Scorpion Death Drop and pinned the former WWE Champion in seconds.

Fans chanted “bullshit” as Hardy was carted away, to which Sting stood in the ring with his TNA belt shouting “I agree! I agree!”. It was TNA’s darkest moment and exactly the thing Jeff Hardy left WWE to avoid happening to him.

He returned to WWE in 2017 after 8 years away, but he was older, slower and WWE simply could not trust him to carry a main event programme with his issues lurking in the background.

He has struggled with drug and alcohol ever since, currently doing a stint in rehab after a drunk-driving incident while signed for AEW.

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