Matt Hardy, alongside his brother Jeff, had some legendary battles with Edge and Christian when the four men were first rising to stardom in WWE. But the early chapter of their respective careers could have followed a drastically different path if the company listened to one of Matt’s ideas.
On the debut episode of Podcast Heat’s The Extreme Life Of Matt Hardy, Matt, co-host Jon Alba, and Jeff, who appeared on the show as a special guest, looked back on the legendary ladder match at WWF No Mercy 1999, where the Hardys battled Edge and Christian.
Though this bout turned out to be one of many clashes between the electric teams, Matt recalled how, at the time, he pitched the idea of having the four men join forces in a “Version 1” stable. He also expressed his agreement with Vince McMahon’s decision to have the two teams shake hands after their instant classic at No Mercy because it showcased the respect the competitors had for each other.
“…I think Vince knew that myself and my brother and Edge and Christian were gonna be extremely respected,” said Matt Hardy. “People dug our work ethic, and we did something, we did some groundbreaking stuff the night before, so he did that call to like shake hands and like have a mutual respect for one another, we were a mutual respect society. And I think that was the correct call.
“And going forward, I actually pitched initially…my idea was to have us together as a group and work against DX. And I wanted our group to be Version 1 of the Hardys and Edge and Christian. And that’s initially where I came up with the Version 1 concept.”
To elaborate, Matt described how he thought the quartet could be seen as the first version of the prototypes of the new wave of wrestlers. But with the benefit of hindsight, fans know how WWE went in a totally different direction.
“And we were like the Version 1 of the prototypes of wrestlers that you’re gonna see in the future,” said Hardy. “These guys, after what we did in that match. That didn’t end up happening, what ended up happening, obviously as you know, Edge and Christian would turn heel, and we would continue our feud and go on to TLCs and whatnot.”
This pitched stable never saw the light of day. But just over two years later, Matt Hardy used the “Version 1” idea during his run as a singles competitor on WWE SmackDown; he rose to prominence by sharing Matt Facts and expressing the importance of “Mattitude.”
The moment of mutual respect displayed by the Hardys and Edge & Christian can be seen below:
If you use this transcript, credit The Extreme Life Of Matt Hardy and h/t WrestleZone and link back to this post.