The decision to give Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship belt took place during a creative team meeting two weeks before the pay-per-view match at Armageddon. Vince McMahon first brought up the idea, which caught most of the creative team by surprise.
Ever since Rob Van Dam’s drug possession arrest in July 2006 (who held two major title belts at the time) and all the drug related suspensions of September 2007, McMahon said they could never put a major title on someone who was at a high risk of being suspended because all of the creative team’s major storyline plans would have to be overhauled not to mention that it would set a bad example.
At the creative team meeting two weeks ago, Stephanie McMahon was the only one to challenge Vince’s idea of giving Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship, bringing up his own doctrine of a wrestler at a high risk of getting suspended receiving a major belt setting a bad example to the talent. Vince acknowledged the doctrine, but said in the short-term, his plan could work if Jeff handled the opportunity properly.
With WWE’s rule of publicly releasing names of talent who fail drug tests putting enough pressure on them as it is, strapping the title on Hardy isn’t going to make people say that they can fail a test with no punishment.
If somehow there is a relapse on Hardy’s part before his title run comes to an end, McMahon made it clear he’s immediately dropping the title as a failed drug test would of course mean the termination of their world champion because it’s would be Jeff’s third strike. McMahon said Hardy getting fired while champion would send the ultimate message to the locker room.