Matt Hardy Talks Changes In Business From Attitude Era, If He Signed With TNA Too Soon, More

Raj Giri of recently interviewed former WWE and TNA superstar Matt Hardy. In part two of our interview below, Hardy discussed 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.


Click here for part one of the interview, where Hardy discussed his time an an enhancement talent for WWE, signing with WWE, his favorite stars growing up, working with the Kliq, tag team wrestling today and much more.

WrestlingINC: You've pretty much been there when 1998 to 2010 and you've seen the changes from being able to do the promos on your own to scripted promos, having dress codes and things like that and how the backstage atmosphere has changed. It seems like wrestlers today aren't as happy as they were back in the day. They're not able to be as involved, creatively, in their story lines and angles. Is that kind of what you've seen over the years? Do you see something that could be done that was being done back then that could help kind of turn around the business?


Hardy: I have to admit, I appreciated when there was a lot more creative freedom. The guys had the chance to either go out and succeed on their own or fail on their own. I think that's a good thing in a lot of ways. It's kind of like, the times are a-changing. [Laughs.] The business changes with it, it's just where they're at right now. They're a publicly traded company, it's a huge corporation and they have people that are in control of almost every aspect, with the exception of a few guys they might trust to go out and do what they do. It's just kind of the state of the game.

Do I think it's better when guys go out and succeed or fail on their own? Yeah. I think that's how you get your next break out star in some ways. Because if "Stone Cold" Steve Austin hadn't started in that era in '96-'97 and got the chance to be "Stone Cold" — as opposed to ten years later in 2007-2008, where they say, 'OK. You're going to be The Ringmaster and this is what you're going to say. This is what you're going to do and this is what you're going to wear.' I mean, you'd never have that amazing character of "Stone Cold" evolve into what he was. Let's face it, that's the thing that really set the business on fire more than anything else. He's sold more merchandise than any other superstar in history and he's the most popular guy ever.


So, sometimes, I feel like guys get sent down to developmental territories, to FCW, and they kind of strip down what's special or creative about them which allowed them to get hired in the first place. They kind of put them as a cog in the WWE creative machine. Is that a good decision? I don't know. I guess if someone pops out that they created and becomes a bigger star than 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, maybe so. But, I have a feeling that you strip away a lot of the originality from the guys that may have needed that original spark to become the next big thing.

WrestlingINC: You're one of those guys that seemed like the push he received never matched the fan reaction that you were getting. You see that a lot nowadays were guys get over on their own and then they kind of have their legs cut out from underneath them. You saw that with Zack Ryder. It's almost if WWE isn't responsible for your fan reaction and you get over on your own, they almost want to bring you down and kind of prove the fans wrong. Is that something you've seen? Does that sound like a fair assessment or am I completely off base?

Hardy: You know what? I wish I could disagree with you and say you are off base, but I think you're right on the money, man. A lot of times, if a guy goes off on his own and really gets over, really establishes himself with something that was his idea, sometimes they don't accept it as their own idea. That's just the way things are.


Zack Ryder is a perfect idea. I actually just did an interview recently with Maryland Championship Wrestling in Baltimore and they actually brought up the name Zack Ryder to me and I said he was one that really took it upon himself. He went from being one of the Edgeheads to creating his own identity. He started doing the Youtube videos.

He did it. He started using real smart, insider terminology and he got himself over. Right now, he is one of the most over guys on the roster, no doubts about it. But if you watch him, and he was off Raw for 5 or 6 weeks, but the way the fans love him and respond to him doesn't equate to the way he's being used on television.

WrestlingINC: Another thing, I started watching wrestling around the same time as you, WrestleMania III, WrestleMania IV. But, I've never seen so many top stars leaving on their own, wanting to leave. Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho. You've got so many top guys that are fine with leaving on top or leaving at the peaks of their careers. What made up your mind about wanting to leave in 2010.

Hardy: My body was just really injured. I had a lot more injuries than what was seen on camera. ... My body was beat up, especially my back and hips. I had bumps, bruises, a lot of scar tissue on my back and hips. It was just my body being beat up and knowing that I had so much stress and pressure on me, knowing I would have 5 days a week and two years before I was finished. I was just at the point of cracking. Looking at it now, I just feel so good and so mentally and emotionally healthy. Physically, I have healed and I do feel better. But just knowing now that I make my own schedule, I can actually decide if I'm OK to work, 1-3 days. Just knowing I can control my own schedule and I have a say in what I'm doing. I just needed a break, man. More than anything else, I was just really burned out from that kind of schedule.


WrestlingINC: Do you think you signed with TNA too soon? Do you think you needed more of a break away from the business?

Hardy: Yes, it absolutely was. They offered me a contract that was really good and I knew I would be reunited with Jeff. So, I thought that was going to be OK, but it definitely was too soon. I just needed time off, man. I needed a year off at a minimum. One person I can say really stuck to his guns with that theory is Chris Jericho. He'll work for three years and then he'll take off for a year or a year and a half. He stays very disciplined regardless of what is offered or thrown at him. He has a lot of outside interests and hobbies. I look at him and I have to give him a thumbs up for doing that because I think it's the way to keep yourself both healthy and happy. It's a way not to be burned out both physically and emotionally.

WrestlingINC: Definitely. You had a rough time last year, but it seems like you've really turned things around as of late with all these independent appearances and all these fans sending in great reports. What do you think has kind of caused this turn-around?

Hardy: Honestly, I think it's just that my body feels better. I love wrestling, that's not going to change. I'll be connected to professional wrestling/sports-entertainment for the rest of my life. I just have such a passion and such a love for it. There are other things I'm interested in and I'm definitely branching out and growing in a lot of ways. But, just right now, being at home, being stress free and letting my body heal eight or nine months before taking another bump in the ring — obviously, your body is flesh and bone. It's not supposed to be slammed into steel night after night after night after night. Having that time off and now, more than ever — and I cannot stress how huge of a deal this is — knowing I can control my schedule.


If I need to take time off or if I need to change the pace or knowing what I'm going to do at a certain appearance or if I can. Knowing that it somebody wants me at a certain spot at 5 o'clock and I show up at 5:10, I'm not going to be fined $1,000. Knowing that if I want to wear sweatpants and a t-shirt inside of business-casual — the stress level just makes all the difference in the world.

I understand what they're looking for with WWE, they're just trying to give the guys a better image. This, that and the other. But there's so much stress on top of what already is a huge mental, physical and emotional stress just actually wrestling four or five nights a week, every week of the year.

WrestlingINC: I know you've got to get going so I just have a few questions left for you. You had mentioned a while ago that you were done with full-time wrestling. Do you still think you're done or do you see yourself eventually coming back?

Hardy: You know, I don't have a desire to go full-time back to work anywhere. I look back now and I see someone like Shawn Michaels, who had a really nice deal where he'd do TVs and a loop of house shows every two months. I'm not some sort of star where I can command some sort of schedule like that. But, if something was able to pop up and something was able to be worked out down the road where I had a schedule where I feel like I wouldn't be stressed out and where I wouldn't be in pain. Where my body could recuperate especially as I get older, that would open up the possibility of it.


As far as things now, I've been very fortunate and very gifted. I got a lot of great years on WWE TV and I made a lot of money throughout the business. So, if I don't do anything else, I'm good. I can kind of do what I want to, which is a very nice feeling to have. At the same time, man, I really enjoy wrestling, I love wrestling and I want to be involved in it in some way, shape or form for the rest of my life. Eventually, I'd love to give back and help teach other guys, whether it be at a wrestling school with me or as a producer/agent or whatever it may be. We'll just see, it's one of those things. I, first and foremost, want to make sure that I am personally healthy and happy in my life.

WrestlingINC: Definitely. Before I let you go, the 1,000th episode of Raw [was last week]. What was your favorite Raw moment that you were apart of and what was your favorite Raw moment in general?

Hardy: Goodness, gracious. You know, it's funny. I'm obviously a big Twitter person, I'm @MATTHARDYBRAND and I get asked that question all the time. It's funny because it's hard to really pin-point one thing as my greatest Raw moment because I feel like I had so many Raw moments personally and even watching through the years. There were so many moments throughout the years. Obviously, the McMahon-Austin series. I remember the first Raw they had on TNN and they had us in a ladder match and we had a cage the night before. Myself, Jeff, Edge, Christian — the four of us — we could barely walk. We went out and we still busted our asses and had this ladder match.


My feud with Edge. There were a lot of things MVP and I did. The majority of it was on Smackdown!, but a few things here or there, we did on Raw. I don't know, man. It's really hard for me to really pin-point one moment. All I can say is that Raw is an amazing show. WWE, regardless of the fact that they don't always put out the greatest product of all time, they really do an amazing job. They really have lived and existed for a long time and you have to give them props, man. They have a roster that changes and those writers are writing 52 live episodes a year, which is a lot.

I'm a big fan of Dexter, True Blood, Son Of Anarchy and Breaking Bad, and they have 12 episodes to 16 episodes. WWE does 53 live episodes a year which is a lot. So, I give them props for that, they've created a lot great moments over the year.

WrestlingINC: As a follow-up, do you think there's too much wrestling on TV? Now, they've got Raw going to three hours and they've got Smackdown! and all these other shows they're coming up with. You wouldn't think ten years ago that they'd have more wrestling on TV now than ever after WCW and ECW went under but it seems like there is.

Hardy: You make a great point there. There very well may be too much. Looking back to when WWE first bought WCW and they had such an overloaded roster, right there you could have fit three hours of Raw and Smackdown! because they had so much talent. Now, I think the talent pool is so thin, especially with the guys who they're really taking their time to develop and giving them time to get established on TV, it's going to be really hard to fill a three hour structure every week. They have such a shortage of star power in so many ways due to their own devices in all actually.


WrestlingINC: Thanks a lot Matt, we really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.

Hardy: Thank you guys, take care.

Click here for part one of the interview, where Hardy discussed his time an an enhancement talent for WWE, signing with WWE, his favorite stars growing up, working with the Kliq, tag team wrestling today and much more.

You can follow Matt Hardy on Twitter @MATTHARDYBRAND, or check out his YouTube channel at You can also check out his online store at