Substance abuse is a problem that professional wrestling has dealt with for many years. Although it isn’t as prevalent in the industry today as it was in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, substance abuse has ruined as many careers as injuries – if not more.
The life of a wrestler is long, hard and lonely with time spent on the road while also taking bumps on a nightly basis. Some can’t deal with this and get hooked to one substance or the other to help with the nights spent in a hotel and the daily bruises a little easier.
Drugs and substances like alcohol, painkillers, steroids, HGH, oxycodone and cocaine have been prevalent in the industry for decades and ruined countless careers. Quite a few of the wrestlers in this article had their lives tragically end because of substance abuse.
5: Jeff Hardy
Jeff Hardy started off as a tag-team wrestler but his popularity saw him eventually rise to the main-event. Jeff is a once-in-a-lifetime talent and could have ascended to the main-event slot sooner and could have stayed there longer if it hadn’t been for his well-documented issues with drugs and substance abuse.
Jeff rose to fame as part of Team Xtreme along with his brother Matt and quickly became a fan favourite. He went on to facing The Undertaker for the World Championship in a ladder match on Raw but was released soon after in 2003 because of erratic behaviour, drug use and refusal to go to rehab.
Hardy eventually signed for TNA but his drug problems continued. He famously main-evented 2011’s Victory Road PPV completely hopped up on drugs to the extent that Sting had to end the match within 2 minutes with a Scorpion Death Drop because Hardy was completely out of it.
He returned to WWE between 2006 and 2009 where he rose to the main-event briefly before asking to leave to heal up injuries.
Jeff could have been a bonafide main-eventer for WWE but his drug problems and arrests have always held him back. In WWE’s current PG Era, they simply can’t trust Jeff to stay clean, which is one of the reasons why WWE isn’t getting him back.