I recently spoke with Matt Hardy. In the first part of the interview below, Hardy discussed his life since rehab, how he feels physically, the return of OMEGA, WCW ripping of his name, signing with WWE during the Attitude Era and more.

Make sure to check back later this week for the second part of the interview, where Hardy talked about returning to ROH, if it would have been better to sign with TNA now than when he did, WWE adding him to their Alumni section and if he knew it would happen, his future with ROH and much more.

OMEGA's "Support the Sport" event takes place this Saturday, May 25th at East Wake High School in Wendell, NC. Hardy will team up with "Hurricane" Shane Helms to battle CW Anderson and Steve Corino. Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly are also scheduled to appear, you can get more details about the event at this link. You can also follow Matt on Twitter @MATTHARDYBRAND, and you can purchase Hardy related merchandise at shopmatthardy.com.

His life since rehab: "Life's great, man. I've never had such an appreciation for life that I do right now. I think one of the good things for me, I was on a really great show in Louisiana and traveled with Al Snow from the airport - to the show and back - one of the things we talked about is it's really easy if you're very passionate for the business that the business can become you and you'll do anything in your life fulfill your passion and be as good as you can in the business and I think I really got to that point. Especially between being injured and being not happy with how I was being used on off brands and just not happy in general with wrestling. I was so passionate and loved wrestling so much the last couple years I was I almost felt like it was just a job and I disliked it. And I can't believe I got to that point. Now I'm back. I really have a nice, well-balanced life. I still enjoy wrestling and I'm very passionate about it but at the same time it's not my life. It doesn't control me. I have many things outside of wrestling that I'm very interested in and that I love and I feel it's a very healthy balance. This happened to a lot of guys in the past. I think it's just something that going forward a lot of the bigger companies, especially when you're under contract with someone, can try and help the guys to keep them positive, or keep them healthy, or keep them balanced because it is really important to do that. And for me I can just say more than anything else I have a really good balance in life right now."

How he's feeling physically: "I will never be completely healed up, unfortunately. I did a lot of irreparable damage to my body but with that same thing being said, my biggest issue came probably, more than likely doing that leg drop so many thousands of time, or how ever many times I've done it. I have real bad issues in my lower back and hips. I had three non-evasive surgeries to burn out bone tips and all the bone fragments that were kind of lingering around that were a huge reason for a lot of my pain there. Right now I just also delved into DDP Yoga. So I'm working on that to try and break up my scar tissue in my lower back, which it's real bad. My flexibility has been real bad. That kind of affects you all together as an athlete if you have bad flexibility. So I'm just working on improving that again and now that I'm wrestling one day a week, or maybe two days a week at most, it really does, it gives me time to train and be healthy. And I've actually just started, this week as a matter of fact, I took a couple years for myself, obviously after I left wrestling after 12 or 13 years full time, to just really get my life, especially my personal life, back together. Now since I'm so comfortable with that I'm really working to train hard, not just train hard to be in shape, I'm going to try and train hard and train like a 38 year old should and eat like a 38 year old should. You know, whatever I do with Ring of Honor, wherever I may be going forward, I never want to work full time again but I want to be the best I can be and I want to look like a professional wrestler. So I've really kind of dialed back into that again."

Newer wrestlers like Fandango doing the leg drop from the top: "Looking back at me, if I had taken that out of my repertoire it would have taken a lot of great moments from my career. The one thing I would say to someone like Fandango is be very particular and be very choosey about where you put that. Learning how to pick your spot. It's a very cool business in a lot of ways because whenever you start the professional wrestling business typically you're very healthy and extremely athletic. I mean, when I first started I could do anything. I did the 450 as a finisher quite often on the independent circuit and in the beginning of my WWE career a little bit. I would do springboards like crazy. As time went on I learned to kind of pull back on that stuff. You kind of get to the point where you're so hurt you can't do all that stuff. My flexibility is not good enough right now where I could do a 450-degree splash. As you get older, your body gets hurt more; you become such a smarter worker, quite a bit more of an intelligent performer. That's one thing that's cool about the business. It would be nice to have that intelligence and knowledge and wisdom of being a smart worker and be athletic at the same time. Unfortunately they never really go hand in hand."

His promotion with Shane Helms, OMEGA: "It's kind of being done in conjunction with me and Hurricane Shane Helms. Actually, he has done the majority of it more than anyone else has. Him and his partner Mike Howe, actually are doing the show, which happens Saturday evening in East Wake, which is where we had out greatest show of all time, which is really exciting. That's Saturday, May the 25th."

Bringing OMEGA back last year: "Yes, it was in January. We had the Chinlock for Chub show which was actually a 100 percent fundraiser for a friend of ours, Chub Coates, a friend of ours that kind of broke into the business right around the time we all did, myself, Jeff, Shane Helms and he actually had a bout with cancer. He had been in remission for about 18 months and his cancer came back. He had to have a couple more surgeries; radiation, chemotherapy, and he had quite a bunch of medical bills. We ended up doing the fundraiser for him and we raised 18000 dollars originally, right there at the gate and then the DVD sales are also being contributed to him as well. It was pretty exciting. It was a Tuesday night, everybody donated their time. Jeff came, James Storm came, everyone donated their time, 100%. We drew over 1100 people, paid, that night and with comps we had about 1300 people there. So for a Tuesday night it was pretty impressive. We had a good line up. Once again, it show, I think there is legs up there for independent wrestling. I think if it's done right and it's promoted right and people put a lot of TLC into the promotion and to the wrestlers and into the details, I think you can do well in this day and age, 2013."

If it's true he and Jeff sent a tape to WCW while in OMEGA in the 90's and instead of signing them, they ripped off their name, "High Voltage": "Yeah, that's 100% true. Chris Kanyon, who was one of the regulars at the Power Plant, later when he came to the WWE, we were friends. He was really close friends with Hurricane Shane Helms. He was the main reason that Shannon were hired in WCW. Once he came to WWE he actually had told us that that tape sat there for a long time and they had these two guys, they were looking for a name and they said oh, this guy that does this demo tape here, his name's High Voltage. I think that would be a good name maybe we can use that for your tag team. And it stuck. So I actually changed my name, on the indie scene at that time, from High Voltage to Surge, something along the same personality and character traits. That is a true story. It's absolutely 100% true."

Was he upset over WCW taking their name: "I'm sure I was. Looking at it now, it's just wrestling. Whoever gets it on TV first, they kind of own it. That's the way it works now. I'm sure looking back then I was upset because I'm sure it took a lot of pride and coming up with the name High Voltage and this persona that I used. Although very few people knew who I was at the time. It wasn't going to be a big deal to change my name. I'm sure I had a lot of pride and just that being my first real name sake and first character persona in the pro wrestling business. Looking back now, it's funny. I'm sure it didn't make a big difference. But back then I was probably upset."

If he came close to signing with WCW during that time: "We really didn't. A couple times we got really close to just being booked by WCW as extras. We actually came close to working something out with the original ECW right before we went to WWE. Which, some people know that. Not everyone does. We actually had worked a match in Greenville, North Carolina, myself and Jeff against Sabu and Rob Van Dam, that went really well. We had met Sandman up in Philadelphia and he saw a few of our demo tapes, our demo reels. He was pretty interested in what we had to offer. We actually had been talking about going on an international tour with some of these ECW guys and that was actually starting to turn up conversations of us going to do an opening match in the arena at one of the ECW events, but by the time that actually came to be we had already signed developmental deals."

Signing with WWE when he did: "We were really blessed and we were really lucky to come in whenever we did. Whenever we first started, obviously we did jobs. We worked on TV as enhancement guys from 1994 to 1998. We actually signed our deals in March of 1998. Then we went to a few dojos over the course of the summer that were in Stamford, CT, the WWE dojos with Terry Funk and Tom Prichard. September of that year is when we started on TV. Basically we came on TV, we defeated Kaientai via pin fall on Heat, a live episode kind of just to reintroduce us to the crowd or whatever. The next on Shotgun Saturday Night we beat Too Cool by DQ and then we lost probably 20 matches straight on TV until we beat the new version of the Road Warriors that were out at that time. We were still used very sparingly and we came in at a time and we came in in a very believable way, I think. Once we did, we got put with Michael Hayes and we got the character makeovers. We started on the road full time, which once we got thrown into the thing with Michael Hayes we were full speed ahead from that point on. Every night we were on the road we had sold out houses of 20000, 25000. There was Rock and Stone Cold, DX was red hot. We were so blessed to be able to land in that era. It was insane."

Make sure to check back later this week for the second part of the interview, where Hardy talked about returning to ROH, if it would have been better to sign with TNA now than when he did, WWE adding him to their Alumni section and if he knew it would happen, his future with ROH and much more.

OMEGA's "Support the Sport" event takes place this Saturday, May 25th at East Wake High School in Wendell, NC. Hardy will team up with "Hurricane" Shane Helms to battle CW Anderson and Steve Corino. Davey Richards & Kyle O'Reilly are also scheduled to appear, you can get more details about the event at this link. You can also follow Matt on Twitter @MATTHARDYBRAND, and you can purchase Hardy related merchandise at shopmatthardy.com.

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