WWE Rumors: Former Champion Reportedly Close To Returning To Ring

New rumors suggest that Friday Night SmackDown superstar Jeff Hardy might soon be returning to in-ring action, close to 10 months after the veteran grappler initially suffered a serious knee injury.

On Saturday, PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson (via WrestlingNews.co) reported that Hardy was spotted backstage during this week’s episode of SmackDown, and is expected to show up as well for next week’s episode. While it isn’t clear whether the former WWE Champion will be taking part in any televised segments or matches, Johnson speculated that he will be sticking it out on the blue brand once he gets cleared to wrestle. This, however, is far from a confirmation of the 42-year-old wrestler’s brand affiliation, as the possibility remains that he may be moved to Monday Night Raw ahead of his official return, as pointed out by Sportskeeda.

While multiple reports have hinted that Jeff’s brother, Matt Hardy, might be leaving WWE once his contract expires on March 1 to possibly join rival promotion All Elite Wrestling, it appears that the younger half of the Hardy Boyz will remain a part of the company’s roster for the next several months. In order to make up for the time he missed due to injuries, WWE reportedly delayed his contract expiration date by several months, which means he likely won’t be able to leave the promotion until late 2020 or early 2021.

In addition to his knee issues, which required him to undergo surgery, Hardy has also been beset by multiple legal woes since his last in-ring appearance in April. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, he was arrested in July for public intoxication after officers found him passed out on a stairwell in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In October, he ran into further trouble with the law when he was arrested in his home state of North Carolina for allegedly driving while impaired.

Hardy’s backstage presence on this week’s Friday Night SmackDown was not the first sign this month that his return to the ring may be imminent. Also citing rumors from PWInsider, Wrestling Inc. wrote on February 10 that he was scheduled to visit WWE’s Performance Center so that company officials could check the progress of his recovery, which was originally expected to take six to nine months. The outlet also made mention of the SmackDown star’s issues outside the ring, noting that in January, reports suggested that Hardy was working with WWE officials and addressing his “personal health” in the aftermath of last year’s arrests.

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