By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
ET Canada interview with Matt Hardy
Host: ET Canada’s Shakiel Mahjouri
Interview available via ETCanada.com
His Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling brothers either real or fictional: OK, fictional or real, that makes it a little more tricky. I got to be a little egotistical about myself and my brother on it. I’ll put Edge and Christian on it as well. I’ll put the Dudley’s on it, and I can’t go without putting the Roar Warriors, even though they technically weren’t brothers, they were brothers in paint. So I got to put them. The Road Warriors, Legion of Doom are definitely going to always go down as it’s most likely the greatest tag team in history.
On nearly setting a viewership record on AEW Dynamite for his match with Darby Allin: It was super exciting, it was our first week unopposed, so I was very happy to be in that slot. And Darby is starting to prove to be a ratings guy because people really like him. And he gets it so much. He reminds me of my brother in so many ways as to how he sells from underneath. He gets sympathy and he’s just he’s cool. The kids like him. He’s super cool. And me at this stage of the game, being an older competitor, especially with the younger AEW audience, I am the perfect bad guy, I think, for a Darby Allin or someone like that. So I was expecting them to be big. I hoped we would break a million and do a good number. But when we heard 1.2, I was blown away and super happy, super excited. And I really think it was a good payoff because people didn’t know when they tuned in if Darby Allin was going to lose the TNT title or retain the title. And I think that was part of the charm of it.
Hardy’s thoughts on working relationship between various pro-wrestling companies: I think it’s great. I’ve always thought it was great for business. A Lot of people don’t know about this. It’s not a well-known fact. But I had been negotiating and working with the Young Bucks. And right before my brother and I left Impact to return to WWE, we were actually going to do a Ring of Honor-Impact crossover angle with the Hardys and the Young Bucks for three or four months. And we had that set. But then some things changed in their management and then ended up we’d return to would return to WWE once we ended up leaving. So I’m all down for it. I’ve always been down from it from the beginning. And I think especially considering WWE is such a massive global promotion, I think any other promotion that is up-and-coming when they work with other promotions, has it helps to add the element of unpredictability and unpredictability is what makes wrestling successful in 2021. I think more than anything else, because information’s out there, so many people see spoilers, so many people have a clue of what’s going on because the Internet is very wide and people know. So I think the more you can surprise people, you have someone show up on this promotion or someone show up on AEW or someone shows up in New Japan, I think it really adds that unpredictability to pro wrestling.
His feeling on revolutionizing cinematic matches and giving legends like Undertaker and Sting a way to go out on top: Yes, I have. My Initial mindset in doing Broken Matt Hardy in the very beginning was to look for longevity because I knew what the new kids were doing. As the style was changing in 2015, 2016, 2017, I’m like, ‘Well, I’m not 25 anymore.’ So what if I did something different, a throwback to the old days of Undertaker and Papa Shango, something a little magical and then maybe we do matches that are shot more like a movie, you know, more like a piece of cinema. And then that could conserve my body. And then I could also do a lot more cool stuff in the realm of the character. So that was my whole mindset behind doing that. And really, I want to get my brother doing it because my brother has such an addiction to doing Swanton [Bombs] and Whisper in the Winds and he wants to do everything because he’s so passionate and he feels like his fans deserve it. That he wants to give everything. And it’s like, ‘Dude, you’re getting older. They want to see Jeff Hardy, your star. You can’t beat up your body every single night.’ So that was my original mindset for even starting the whole cinematic thing in the Broken Universe. But considering it gave Taker a great match against AJ Styles, that was amazing. I love the Boneyard Match. And Sting now being in AEW and being able to do these cinematic matches where he can be the Sing of old, it feels really special and you never know what you’re going to get. I think that’s amazing. So if I did help contribute to the new era of cinematic matches, I am very proud of the fact.
His favourite cinematic match of his own and his favourite cinematic match that he was not involved with: The Final Deletion will always be famous because it was like the first major one. I knew when we did the first contract signing with Broken Matt Hardy and my brother Jeff Hardy, it was so polarizing and people were so split over it. But I knew we had something because so many people were locked in and then the Final Deletion, like it went viral over the course of a couple of days. That’s like a big deal. Looking back structurally, it wasn’t as good as some of the other things I was in. Probably my favourite match that I’ve ever done cinematically was the Apocalypto Tag Team Match from Total Nonstop Deletion. One of my favourite matches, I think that I’ve watched was the Undertaker-AJ Styles thing, because I know Undertaker really wanted to go out on a good note and he’d had a couple of matches where he was in the ring live, and I know it didn’t live up to his expectations and he was let down by them. So I’m so happy you got to go out on that high note with AJ Styles.
On what it’s like performing on counter-programming to brother Jeff Hardy: We always text each other before the shows. We go, ‘Hey, man, are you on tonight or when you are or what are you doing?’ We just kind of keep up with it. I don’t think there’s any competition any longer. I think we’re just both supportive of one another. So it’s cool. We’ve almost done it enough where there was a point where I was in WWE and he was in TNA. Or he was in TNA and I was in ROH. I mean, we’ve kind of done this before. So it’s kind of an old hat in some ways. But we’re now more than ever just supportive of one another.
On his “That 70s Show” appearance: I enjoyed that “70s Show’, we were very young, new guys, we hadn’t been put with Michael Hayes, we hadn’t changed into the new Hardy Boys with the kick-wear pants at that time. So just to get on that show and get the opportunity to perform in an acting role was so cool and we were so flattered to be chosen for it. And it was so much fun. It was an amazing learning experience and so, so many ways.
Whether he would you do “Fear Factor” again: I would do “Fear Factor” again, I had a blast doing it and I was worried like maybe they might do something with the physical challenges that might be too much for me that I can’t do. But when it came to eating or doing something gross or being afraid, I wasn’t worried about that at all. I’m good with all that stuff.
Promoting AEW Dynamite: I want to thank you and everyone else that is tuned in to AEW Dynamite, it’s an amazing, just amazing group of people. And there are so many veterans that work with so many young talents. And Tony Khan does such a great job like steering the ship. And I’m just so proud to be a part of AEW. And I feel like AEW really is the future of pro-wrestling.