Matt Hardy Opens Up About Original Plans For WWE WrestleMania 2003

When fans think of the early days of "WWE SmackDown" during the Ruthless Aggression era, a number of things spring to mind. The "Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar, the various wars between the "SmackDown Six," and the big fist punching its way through the stage set. But one character that has always been remembered fondly is Matt Hardy "Version 1.0." 


After being separated from his brother, Hardy went on to form a new character that would eventually reach the top of the Cruiserweight division at No Way Out 2003 when he defeated Billy Kidman. After capturing the title, Hardy was set to face Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania 19, where many people expected Mysterio to walk away with the win given his popularity at the time. That was the original plan, but Hardy revealed how things changed on his podcast, "The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy."

"The initial plan was for me to go to WrestleMania and just be like a transitional champion," Hardy said. "Be like a big strong heel opponent for Rey Mysterio so that it would make him look better in winning. As we went on from No Way Out to WrestleMania, Vince was so in to what I was doing he changed the finish of WrestleMania on Rey." Hardy stated he doesn't think he's ever told that particular story before, but confirmed that McMahon decided to change the winner of the match from Mysterio to Hardy, and have Mysterio win the belt at a later date. That later date ended up being the June 5, 2003 edition of "SmackDown" when Mysterio defeated Hardy in Anaheim, California, which is not too far away from Mysterio's hometown of San Diego.


Please credit "The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy" when using quotes from this article, and give a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.