This week on Between the Ropes, Matt Hardy joined Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci to discuss his recent release from the WWE, what is in Matt’s future in wrestling, the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Lita, and many other matters in his first interview since his release from the WWE.
The interview began with talk about how the show had the most female callers in its history because of Matt. Matt said that it was a win-win situation, and then Matt suggested it was because they knew that he was single now. Matt said that he was ‘just friends’ with Lori (the girl he has pictures of on his website) in order to be politically correct. Matt said that it was very interesting to hear the comparisons between Lori and Amy based on feedback from the fans. Matt mentioned that he had to increase the bandwidth on his site www.thematthardy.com.
Matt was asked to describe the last few months and he said that “it has not exactly been the most shining period of my life to say the least. It’s been very stressful, it’s been very aggravating, and it’s been very frustrating. It’s just pretty much. I’ve covered most all bad emotions as far as it goes.” He said that it was a lot to come down on him at once because he was living in a groove in life. He was living with his dream as a WWE wrestler, and he seemed to be with this great girl. Things were working out for them and they were best friends. “Then all of a sudden, you lose all of this.” He said that it was a lot to swallow, but he said that it was a good thing that he is thick skinned because he did not think that a normal person would be able to survive this because it was a big blow.
Matt was asked if he saw the release coming. Matt said that once the situation started happening, nothing really surprised him. He said that some of the things that he did at the beginning might have been rash or the correct decision. However, “after a couple months of being absolutely lied to by Amy and by Adam, who was supposed to be one of my better friends” and because of the history between all three of them, it became absurd.
Matt said that he thought the way some of the things were handled in the company were very poor. Matt said that he was surprised when he was released, but in some ways he was not surprised. Matt said that it was very obvious what the release was about. “They can say that we’re going to look at some other guys, or that we don’t have anything. It was a real bull**** thing.” Matt wondered if his release was an example of wrongful termination. Matt felt that the situation was handled very wrong because there was a situation where a wrestler who was married had a fling with a Diva. That situation was addressed and the wrestler was told to stop it without making a public scene. Matt mentioned that Adam was married, and that Matt and Amy attended the wedding. Then this thing happens with Adam and Amy, and “all of a sudden it’s okay.”
Matt mentioned that he is sitting at home and is in the best shape of his life and he has more to offer than ever and has increased his arsenal. However, he has been asked to stay away from events and is taken off the house shows. Matt said that this got him fired up. Matt said that when this thing came out, he was going to give his side because it is a personal situation and he not going to be the bad guy. Matt said that he never had any problems with Amy in their relationship. He said that he had not done anything bad to her or to justify what happened. He suggested that the office should have talked to him and told him what not to do at shows instead of keeping him at home. He did not think that he needed to be kept away from Wrestlemania because he had some appearances scheduled. Matt felt that the WWE took the cheap way out in this situation by releasing him.
Matt was asked about his feelings for coming out with the information. He said that you probably will not hear anything from Adam and Amy about the situation to justify what they have done. Matt mentioned that because of the power of the internet, when one person mentions it, the story spreads. Matt said that some of the things might have been rash, or did not involve making the best decision. “I really don’t regret standing up for what I believe in, and what I believe is right. If I have to be a martyr and lose your girlfriend and your job because I stood up for what I believe is right . . . and I stood up for my First Amendment right to speak the truth and freedom of speech, then so be it.”
Matt was asked how he was informed of his release. Matt said that he was given a call by John Laurinaitis. They did not give a reason for the release. He said the release was “a bull**** thing. If you don’t believe me, you could listen to the crowd Monday night in Madison Square Garden.” He talked about the entire crowd was chanting ‘We want Matt’ and ‘You screwed Matt’ towards Amy.
Matt said that regardless of whether you think they drew any money, the Hardy Boys drew more money in the amount of time they were together as a team. Matt talked about having the cruiserweight title and how he made the most of it, especially with his match against Rey Mysterio Jr. Matt mentioned that the Mattitude and V1 gimmicks, which were his ideas, and they were successful. Matt said that he did not think he ever dropped the ball when given the chance. Matt talked about how they made the angle with Kane work no matter how absurd it seemed.
Matt said that he loves the WWE. He said that everyone busts their asses and they work hard. He has nothing bad to say about Vince. Matt said that Vince allowed Matt to move to Smackdown. Matt said that he appreciated being brought back to Raw when Amy returned from her neck injury. Matt said that Vince didn’t have to move him to Raw, but Vince still did it. He had made his relationship as important as his character. Matt said that he had a great time in the WWE and it provided him with a good lifestyle and made him financially secure. However, at the end it was in real poor taste.
Matt was asked if he expected his character to change when he was moved to Raw. He said that his character was held back on Raw. When he returned to Raw and turned on Amy, they returned to the gorilla position and people complained about Amy’s performance. Amy cut a promo on the people who criticized her. Vince was there and that got Amy in the doghouse and as a result, it got Matt in the doghouse. It took a few months for them to get in the angle with Kane. Matt said that he sacrificed his career on Smackdown to come to Raw to be with Amy, it was Amy’s actions that hurt him on Raw.
Matt mentioned that he will be ‘free’ on July 11th. On May 14th and 15th, he will be in England. On August 27th and 28th, he will be at Wrestle Reunion II in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As soon as July 11th comes, he will be everywhere. Matt said that this has motivated him to be better without the WWE.
Matt was asked if he was told not to work with TNA by the WWE office. However, he never received a call from the WWE about it. Matt said that he had a lot of people from Raw, Smackdown, TNA, and in Japan contacted him about the situation. He said that he has been good to everyone.
Matt mentioned that there were only four or five guys who contacted Edge while he was recovering from his neck surgery and Matt was one of those people. Matt said that when you think about what they did for each other in the business to help make each other’s careers to see Adam be such a rotten person. Matt thinks that Adam had an agenda with Amy the whole time.
Matt said that he would never think about doing anything with a significant other that he was close with, even after they break up. In the locker room, it was taboo. Matt said that his relationship with Amy made them the poster couple in the locker room to see people who got along. Matt said that Adam was taking advantage of the situation when Matt was out with his injury to start his relationship with Amy. Matt said that he was suspicious at times, but Adam blatantly lied to him.
Matt was asked about how the people in the locker room will react to Amy and Adam. Matt said that any bad treatment that they get will be ‘deservingly so’ because it was in such poor taste. Matt was asked if he knows of any heat from the office. Matt said that the office is closing its eyes hoping that it will go away. Matt wondered what kind of message it sends when you have one of your most loyal employees, who was with the company for eight years and was out due to injury once. While that guy is out with an injury, you have another guy being pushed who was married for six months, on his second marriage . . . three months when this stuff happened. Matt said that he might not have handled things perfectly, but how many people would handle that situation perfectly? Matt expected someone to come to him to discuss the matter instead of not booking someone because of perceived problems. Instead Matt was released. What does this decision do for morale because you have a guy who is loyal to a girl, but she gets together with a married guy and screw over this guy and they release the guy? Matt was asked about the morale in the locker room and he said that while he has not been in the locker room, he has heard from a lot of people who said that the situation is bull****.
Matt was asked about his reaction to the chants towards Lita. Matt said that he was grinning from ear to ear. Matt said that “there is no place like MSG.” Matt said that he “appreciated the hell out of” anyone who supported Matt Hardy at Madison Square Garden. Matt was asked about the support that he has received from workers in the company, people on his website, and in attendance at shows. When you really believe something you need to stand up for it.” He appreciates that people are not turning a blind eye to it. Matt stands up for what he believes. It is hard for him to say something besides the truth because that is who he is.
The host suggested that the last time someone had so much support from the workers and the fans was after the Survivor Series in 1997 with Bret Hart. Matt said that hearing the chants on Monday night “made me feel like a Bret Hart”, but he knows that he is not in the same category as Bret. Matt said that he hated the way Bret’s career ended without a sendoff. Matt never got to the point where he could get that opportunity.
Matt said that there were ideas for him to work at Wrestlemania and other things after Wrestlemania. He said that he has some skills available and he was in one of the top angles, but now they have nothing for him and they focus on the newer guys.
Matt was asked about what he was going to do for his character upon his return to the active roster. He said that he was fighting for the love of his life (in the storyline) at the time that he was choke slammed off the stage by Kane. After going through the surgery, he lost everything since Lita was married to Kane in the storyline. The surgery meant everything that he lost and he would think about the physical and mental scars that he suffered at the hands of Kane. Upon his return, his motto would be “the scar will become a symbol.” He was going to become a vigilante character like the Punisher or the Crow. He would not let the bad things that occurred to him happen to innocent people. He would be like an angelic Diablo. He would destroy the wrongdoer in the situation while standing up for the innocent person. Matt said that he had made vignettes. He turned them in to the WWE to give the ‘professional people’ a concept. Matt said that it was ironic that this storyline actually became his life. Instead of losing Amy to Kane in the storyline, he lost Amy to Adam. On top of that, he lost his job. Not only did he lose the love of his life, his health, and his job. Now the scar will become a symbol.
Matt said that he is ready to go, and he has been cleared since the beginning of March. Matt was asked if he would be able to co-exist with Adam and Amy. Matt said that he would have been a professional. He is still able to socialize with Amy. Matt has absolutely nothing to say to Adam. He would have done his job. Matt said that he would have had no problem going to Smackdown, and would have enjoyed it.
Matt said that he started with the company in March 1998. Matt said that he and Jeff made tag team wrestling cool again. Matt said that there were so many things that he could still do with the WWE. It is the best place to wrestle, but it is not the only place. Matt said that he wants to give back by contributing to the business and teaching younger guys.
Matt was asked if he enjoyed the tag team work or the singles work. Matt said that he enjoyed both. Matt said that they started by focusing on the tag team aspect. He enjoyed working together as a team when they started because their dream was to become tag team champions. Matt said that while Jeff might have been considered the breakout star of the team, he was proud of his singles work because people underestimated what he could do. He said that he had good matches with Rey Mysterio Junior for the cruiserweight title and Chris Benoit for the U.S. title. If Matt was given time, things could have been awesome.
Matt was asked why the WWE never got one hundred percent behind him to see if Matt could run with things as a singles guy. Matt suggested that it might have been because of his size or the perception that Jeff was the breakout star and they could not break that perception. Matt suggested that he was too nice of a guy and didn’t cut enough people’s throats. “Maybe I just tried to do the right thing. Maybe I tried to work hard for the business instead of stepping on other people to get to the top.”
Matt was asked how political things were in the WWE. Matt talked about Amy Weber and he said that Adam poured a Bloody Mary on her. Then there is the thing with Adam and Amy, and he did not get reprimanded for either thing. Matt said that you need to keep people in check and even if you are doing something good, you cannot be allowed to go out of control. Matt would rather invest in someone who is dependable and will do the right thing.
Matt was asked about his options on July 11th. Matt said that he has talked to people at TNA, Ring of Honor, and in Japanese companies. Matt said that the most natural thing for him to do is work for TNA. He might not want to team with Jeff, but would not mind being associated with him. Matt said that he wouldn’t mind facing Jeff Jarrett (quote about cult). “There has never been a fanbase. There has never been a cult, loyal following like the following of both of us together.” “Put us together and there is something special there.”
Matt said that he watches anything he could get his hands on because he loves the business, including Ring of Honor and TNA. Matt said that the TNA pay per views were better than the WWE pay per views in November, December, and January. They might not have the star power or the smoke and mirrors of the WWE, but “as far as guys going out there working and busting their asses in real hot matches, they have had some solid shows. There are a lot of younger guys and there are a lot of contributions that I think I can make to help make the place a much better place.”
Matt said that he believes in karma and he would hate to be in Adam’s shoes because he is in store for a lot of torture.
Matt was asked about his fans. He said that he is a down to earth guy. He does not think that he is better than anyone else. He will stop to sign autographs because he knows how they might react because he would have reacted the same way if he saw his favorite wrestler in public. He does not mind taking a few seconds for the smile on a fan’s face.
Matt said that the people who support him so passionately are people who he has met over the years. He wants the people who meet him at events to feel special, and make them feel like he is a friend of theirs. “Without them there would be no me.” It is these people who buy the t-shirts and other merchandise and make you into a star.
Matt was asked about people he would like to get in the ring with once he is able to sign somewhere. He said that he read A.J. Styles’ comments about how he thought it was stupid of the WWE to release Matt. Matt would love to wrestle an hour with A.J. Matt talked about Abyss and how he saw the match with Jeff. Matt wants to incorporate a more realistic style in his work, like there is in Ring of Honor. Matt mentioned that Paul Heyman said that the wrestling that is being presented is like the ‘Attitude’ style, and it is time to change into a new cycle. Matt talked about how the WWF looked for ‘the next Hulk Hogan’ to take over and not try to change things.
Matt was asked about Paul Heyman and how his character might have benefited from Paul’s involvement on Smackdown. Matt said that he is a fan of Paul Heyman’s writing and his wrestling mind. Matt said that when he first met Paul and Paul told Matt that the crowd reaction “was the biggest thing since the nWo”. Matt said that was Paul trying to build up the morale. Matt was asked about how Paul must feel not being involved with the creative team. Matt said that Paul has a lot of talent, but he thinks the WWE cannot control him. Matt said that the WWE is very controlling. There is not a lot of room to get out of line.
Matt was asked about how the company changed in his seven years in the WWE. Matt was asked about how promos are currently scripted. He said that it is a totally different atmosphere from when he started. Matt said that there was only one writer, Vince Russo and he had Ed Ferrara help him. Matt talked about how Steve Austin was told what to talk about. Matt said that if he knew then what he knows now, it would have been awesome. Matt said that if you put a lot of words in a wrestler’s mouth that they would not normally say will not work.
Matt said that it was frustrating because he had some things to do with the Version One character. Matt said that Stephanie is a workaholic and follows in Vince’s footsteps. Matt said that he was doing something in the back and he said ‘Matt Hardy Version One’, and Stephanie stopped and told him that it would not get over.
Matt said that he enjoyed the Matt facts, but eventually creative tampered with it. He was able to get a lot of things over. Matt said that he felt that he should have been turned babyface when he lost the cruiserweight title to Rey. He would not have lost the cockiness of the character instead of a straight babyface. Matt said that the only way you learn is by making mistakes. If you have a new talent that is green, and you tell him what to do, they will never be able to think on their own, do things on their own, and make mistakes on their own. People will not be able to learn.
Matt was asked if he was going to promote shows again. Matt said that he enjoys doing that. He enjoys making a living by wrestling, and he loves the business. He wants to have a brotherly; team atmosphere in the locker room gives a good feeling because you have everyone trying to be successful.
Matt was asked about what he has heard from Jeff about TNA. Matt said that ‘Jeff is Jeff’ and Jeff enjoys being there. Jeff has been renewed as far as being motivated. Matt said that Jeff is probably happiest with the schedule with TNA. Matt was asked if he sees TNA being able to take the next step. He is not aware of all of the details with TNA, but there needs to be competition. If TNA puts on a good show, it will make the WWE put on a good show. It will give the boys another place to work. Right now, things are a monopoly. Matt said that there are a lot of wrestlers who are deserving of spots, but there are a limited number of spots.
Matt was asked if he were able to go to TNA and could succeed there, how it would help others. Matt said that it is up to the person’s preferences. Do they want to work on television or work a few shows in Japan and make more money. If the schedules and money were the same, it might be easier to compare.
Matt said that he has a lot of things for him to do between now and July 11th. Matt said that in the WWE, it was complete tunnel vision, but now he is able to do some things outside wrestling. “All the stuff could have went down, the Adam/Amy situation, the WWE release. I could have sat back, and cried, and moaned, and balled up and died, but you cannot be like that. You have to pick up the pieces and move on.” He could have cried, moan, rolled up in a ball and died. One day, he might be back in the WWE. Right now, he has achieved his original dream for him and his brother to be in the WWE, become tag team champs, and become successful. He achieved a lot more than he expected and he has a lot more to do. He wants to be successful and motivate himself. He wants to be able to make his life better than it was when he was with the WWE.
Matt was asked if Vince McMahon called him tomorrow and asked him to come back to the WWE, would he go back. Matt said that he would probably go back, but what are the chances that it will happen. Matt said that he will not sit back and bury the company like some people in his situation probably would. Matt said that the WWE provided him with a lot that he would never have. Matt said that his only gripe was the way things were at the end. Matt wondered if the way he handled things was a reason to be released.
Between the Ropes airs every Wednesday from 10:00 p.m. until Midnight on 740 The Team in Orlando, Florida with Brian Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci. Check out www.betweentheropes.com to listen to the live stream of the show every week. Archives of past interviews with Paul Heyman, Terry Funk, Rob Van Dam, Tully Blanchard, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, A.J. Styles, Jerry Lawler, Bobby Heenan, Steve Corino, Shane Douglas, Elix Skipper, Harley Race, Bubba Ray Dudley, and many more people in the world of professional wrestling can also be found on www.betweentheropes.com.