Senate Candidate Linda McMahon, Jeff Hardy, Umaga, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Jeff Hardy took a leave of absence in September. Ostensibly, he was going to work on an independent reality-show project, but a little run-in with the legal system intervened: charges against Hardy of trafficking in steroids and painkillers, which are pending in North Carolina, where he resides.

But WWE had scheduled a holiday release of a Jeff Hardy DVD compilation, and the company long headed by Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon and her husband Vince wasn’t about to change course. They have a lot of experience with this kind of stuff.

The Hardy DVD, reports a reader who has it, portrays that after being released by WWE in 2003 (for refusing to go to drug rehab), Hardy returned three years later all grown up and professional. According to the DVD, he has now taken time off “to pursue other interests.” I’ll say — interests like how to avoid getting 3-to-5.

The WWE contract of Eddie “Umaga” Fatu, who died last Friday, also was terminated, in June of this year, for refusing to go to drug rehab. WWE, in its website statement of condolence, went out of its way to point out that Fatu was all of half-a-year past his last WWE stint. The statement omitted that Fatu was on the August 2007 list of Signature Pharmacy customers; that according to WWE’s “wellness policy” he was supposed to have been tested four times annually since; and that somehow nothing actionable under the wellness policy apparently happened between August 2007 and June 2009.

As for the reformed, clean-and-sober Jeff Hardy, as portrayed in the new DVD, what a nice echo it is of the career and snuffed-out life of Eddie Guerrero. A long-time alcohol and drug abuser, Guerrero became a WWE champion with a back story of his faith-based victory over old demons. His fatal November 2005 heart attack was said to be a result of “past” abuses.

Of course, as my book CHRIS & NANCY reveals, Eddie’s nephew Chavo Guerrero and Eddie’s best friend Chris Benoit (who less than two years later would murder his wife and child, and take his own life) discreetly disposed of Eddie’s stash of the steroid stanozolol (Winstrol) when they were the first to encounter his lifeless body in his room at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Minneapolis.

And like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit was honored right after his death with a tear-jerker tribute show on WWE’s Monday Night Raw on USA cable.

Irv Muchnick

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