This week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown brought about a lot of confusion for WWE fans and shots from those in other promotions. The show started with an angle in which Elias was run over by a vehicle that was reportedly driven by Jeff Hardy. As the segment played out to open SmackDown, multiple stars from All Elite Wrestling took some not-so-subtle shots at everything going on.
It was an odd angle that took everyone by surprise as Jeff ended up being “arrested” after cops assumed he was drinking and driving. Fans on social media began questioning WWE for putting this angle together, as Jeff has battled substance abuse and addiction in the past.
Over the last year, Jeff was arrested on two separate occasions for driving while intoxicated and public intoxication, as reported by TMZ.
Fans weren’t the only ones on social media speaking out against this angle on SmackDown. Immediately after the opening segment came to a close, Jeff’s brother — Matt Hardy — tweeted out how happy he was to work for AEW.
Just to reiterate..
— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) May 30, 2020
AEW president Tony Khan responded to Matt and told him it was a pleasure to have him working for the promotion. Several of Matt’s followers immediately jumped on Twitter to express their disgust with the WWE angle that brought Jeff’s true-life issues to television.
Right before Matt posted his tweet, his wife, Reby Hardy, also shared her thoughts on the segment.
I’m throwing my TV out.
— Reby Hardy (@RebyHardy) May 30, 2020
It’s true that neither Matt nor Reby directly addressed the angle with Jeff from Friday Night SmackDown. They may have been tweeting out about something else entirely, but fans feel otherwise, and the timing is quite interesting.
The segment played out into something much bigger as the show went on, though.
Elias was to face AJ Styles in a semifinal match of the Intercontinental Championship tournament. Jeff had a match against Daniel Bryan in the semifinals, but neither of those took place.
Styles received an automatic bye into the finals for the title. Bryan didn’t want to accept his spot that easily, and that brought about a 10-man battle royal to determine his opponent. Sheamus won the battle royal and wrestled Bryan, but Jeff returned to distract him and cause his defeat.
WWE did not explain how Jeff Hardy could get out of police custody and return to the Performance Center by the main event. Either way, SmackDown did open with his arrest for suspected drunken driving and a hit-and-run. Judging by the reaction on social media, fans and other wrestling talents were not thrilled with any of it.