|By Raj Giri||July 30, 2012 | Comments|
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second and final part of our interview, where Hardy discusses changes in the business from the Attitude Era, scripted promos, if wrestlers are punished for getting themselves over, if he signed with TNA too soon, if he's done wrestling full time and much more.
WrestlingINC: Obviously, you were a big wrestling fan growing up. Do you remember when you started watching wrestling?
Matt Hardy: Yeah, I was somewhat of a fair-weather fan, I would say, early on, all throughout my life. But, right around WrestleMania IV, I watched with my brother Jeff hardy, obviously. We actually made a bet on who was going to win the WrestleMania IV title tournament. I actually picked 'Macho Man' and after 'Macho Man' actually won, we tuned in the following weeks and I've never turned back since then. I've been a huge fan since WrestleMania IV.
WrestlingINC: Did you ever get to meet Randy Savage?
Hardy: Yeah, I sure did. We actually met a Randy a couple times as we were just going to work as extras at WWE for the TVs.
WrestlingINC: Who were some of your favorites growing up?
Hardy: Obviously, 'Macho Man' Randy Savage just because he was the first guy I was really drawn to and I think he was one of the top guys in the company at the time and his finishing move was a flying elbow drop off the top rope. For me, I thought it was really cool. A lot of guys did moves that seemed more boring. There was the Hulk Hogan leg drop. 'Macho Man' always flew off the top to do his elbow drop and it was very exciting.
Obviously, growing up in North Carolina, I was a big Ric Flair fan. I dug him, he was from Charlotte. The Four Horsemen were very cool. I was a big fan of the Freebirds as well. It was very ironic that later on, I'd work with Michael Hayes. When I first started wrestling and Jeff and I were on a trampoline, I actually emulated Michael Hayes and the Freebirds to a degree with the way my character wrestled, dressed and acted and whatnot.
WrestlingINC: So, when you got the call, even as an enhancement talent, to go to WWE, what was that feeling like?
Hardy: It was exciting. We actually went the very first time with 'The Italian Stallion' Gary Sabaugh and we did shows for him all across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee. We'd work Thursday, Friday, Saturday and sometimes for free. But, as long as we would work all his shows, he would take us to WWE every few months when he got the opportunity to. So, we were really excited. The first time walking in the dressing room and just seeing the guys you've grown up watching on TV. They're real human beings and they're interacting. Actually, getting to see that every superstar was actually a human being was a pretty amazing feeling.
WrestlingINC: Was there anybody that gave you any advice during that time that really stood out?
Hardy: There wasn't really anyone that gave us an overload of advice. But the one thing I will say, the first time me and Jeff went up, we both wrestled Scott Hall/Razor Ramon and he was really good to both of us. The first night, he wrestled Jeff and Jeff was only 16. He had to lie about his age and move his birthday back by two years and he kind of banged Jeff's knee on the pole when he was doing a certain move in the match. He checked on him the next day and the day after that. All the Kliq guys, especially Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were really cool to Jeff and I in the beginning. Jeff has his hair cut like Vanilla Ice, they actually called him Ice. They always knew the Hardy Boyz and the Ice guy. So, they were really cool to us overall.
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