Matt Hardy talks with Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com about this stage of his career, why he thinks he’s better than even before, life after the WWE and why this past year has been so much fun for him. Plus, Matt talks about teaming with Jeff Hardy again, being back in the ring against Team 3D in over a decade and still working in TLC matches. He also gets into the the current tag team landscape in wrestling, working against the Briscoes and the Young Bucks, TNA going forward, his goal of working behind the scenes in creative for a promotion, working for Maryland Championship Wrestling and losing his title following a low blow from former WWE creative team member Kevin Eck along with his thoughts on the WWE and what he thinks is missing right now.
This is the most fun I’ve had in wrestling because there’s no pressure, there’s no stress. And I’m not afraid to tell people no. If someone says “we want you to do this” and I’ll go that’s OK, I’m not interested. There’s people that contact me all the time with decent offers and I’ll go I’m not interested. I really am my own boss and it’s nice. I know there’s guys I talk to here and there with WWE and sometimes I hear about the stresses or the pressures or I even think about when (CM) Punk left or the deal when (Alberto) Del Rio left. I was like man, it can be such a pressure cooker there, so stressful. Trust me, I know there’s no power like their TV and it’s great to perform in front of those audiences and just be a part of that WWE machine but there’s just such a stress and there’s such a pressure that comes with it and there’s so much politics. Now, I do some really cool stuff. It’s not as glamorous as being in the WWE, but the fact of the matter is I’m having fun and I’m still being able to do what was my dream as a child and that’s be a professional wrestler. And I’m still making fantastic money. I have no complaints on that end.
On TNA having better TV lately but having to overcome their bad reputation:
You’re right, they do have a very bad reputation. I can tell you this too — I pride myself on being a good ambassador for whoever I’m working for currently right now. I’ve done things where I’ve been bitter or hurt or angry and been negative. Man, I’ve learned to just stray away, turn completely away from that stuff because anything that is negative is just corrosive. It’s ultimately bad for you. So when I was with Ring of Honor, I knew I had some good stuff coming up on TV or the stuff I was doing with Adam Cole or other stuff it was easy to endorse that and people were like “oh my God, that’s cool, I’ll check Ring of Honor out”. I have a huge chunk of that WWE fan base that watched me for those 12, 13 years who would say “OK cool, I’ll check out this Ring of Honor”. With TNA now, it’s still hard to convince some people. There are people who have tuned in to see the Hardy’s and they’re like I love these matches that you’re having, but it is an uphill battle to try and convince people that this place is going to be different. I can’t really say that it is in the long term. They’ve tried hard and my relationship with them has bene great. As I’ve said before, I’m not under contract with them. I have a great more or less handshake, verbal deal, relationship with them right now where I do their big stuff. I told them to keep me in the loop going forward and I’m totally cool with working with them. I hope they really do have their head screwed on straight and I hope they try and give wrestling fans and the wrestling industry the best product possible and do a smart, no nonsense product and do their own thing but really stay true to the wrestling in the ring.
On teaming with Jeff again:
Yeah, I think as long as we’re both doing this stuff — I feel like Terry Funk now, we’re the old guys still going and doing crazy stuff. As long as Jeff and I are actively wrestling, I’m sure there will be a point where we team. People always love stuff we do when we’re together. Jeff is amazing as a singles star on his own. He’s unbelievably great. He’s better now that he’s even been from a psychology and story-telling standpoint, no doubt. And I have a pretty good grasp on who I am but it’s always just magic when we’re together. There’s something special about when we’re together and fans love it. There’s that nostalgia effect that people get into. Man, these are two guys who started as enhancement talent, doing jobs for the big stars who pursued their dreams and they stuck together and they made it. Then they innovated all these crazy ladder and table matches and took them to a whole new level. People love seeing that success story come back together and they always will.