The latest episode of AEW Dynamite ended with the debut of Matt Hardy. The image of Vanguard 1 solidified that Hardy would be joining The Elite in their "Blood and Guts" match against The Inner Circle filling in for Nick Jackson. On the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho, Jericho and Hardy talked about the original plans for Vanguard 1. They said if the show was to be in Rochester, NY as originally planned, then they would have had to flown the drone outside of the arena due to FCC regulations, and Vanguard 1 was originally supposed to fly to Hardy, but that did not happen.
"Here's a little bit of trivia for everybody listening, had we been in Rochester, we wouldn't have been allowed to fly Vanguard 1 inside the arena. Actual FCC, airport rules, for some reason you couldn't fly a drone in there," Jericho said. "We would've had done it on the outside, which would have been fine, but it's one of those things. When it was happening, I couldn't see it or I couldn't hear it, and they just kept telling me to stretch stretch, so I'm talking like, 'hey Orange Cassidy, you're an idiot.' Then finally, Matt Jackson goes, 'hey, look at this.' Finally it's there. Had there been 6,000 people, somebody would've seen it prior and pointed, then there would've been that reaction but with nobody there it was really strange. There was nothing, until there it is.
"It's definitely different. Once again, if you have a Vanguard 1 drone flying in, it's an inanimate object," Hardy said. "Originally, the drone was going to fly back to me, and we were gonna get a really cool beauty shot, but that didn't happen. I went ahead because we're doing live TV. It was kind of like an audible."
Jericho asked Hardy about what his first impressions of AEW so far. Hardy talked about how easy it was to get his ideas through and not have to wait for permission. Jericho talked about how there are not bookers in AEW and that the wrestlers are in control of what to do and everyone works together. Hardy agreed saying that AEW gives an outline and wrestlers figure out how to get to where they want the show to go.
"I mean just such a laid-back atmosphere. I knew the majority of the people there working. I worked with them in the past with WWE or at Impact Wrestling and just the one thing I really noticed was hey I'm thinking about doing this and they're like that sounds great as opposed to like well, we've got to ask so and so and we've got to ask Vince as far as going through all those different levels of authority. It was like sure that sounds great. It was super easy," Hardy said. "I did some promos and vignettes at the end of the night. This is what I'm thinking about is that cool? Sounds cool. And I did it. It was very easy, and it was very not to have any kind of restraints on you and just go and be creative and do your thing and do you because nobody does themselves better than them.
"You've been doing this 25 years, I'm almost 30, Mox is probably close to 15-20 at least and all of us, Cody, have really thrived in this environment. Dustin Rhodes, they were ready to put him out to pasture," Jericho said. "Like I said, you're coming in at a very strange time, but I think you, much like Moxley, get a really good foothold here and are able to unleash your creativity which we saw at Impact which was the best thing on Impact for a while. I think you're gonna be out of control here. You're gonna have so many ideas, and that's what we want from our guys. There's no AEW bookers. We are the bookers, but we're all doing it together.
"That's where the magic happens, when the talent knows their strengths and weaknesses and you gravitate towards your strengths," Hardy said. "I think basically, the whole framework of AEW, from what I've seen so far, is there's like an outline, this is where we want to go, this is what we want you to do to get there, how do you suggest we get there, and the talent fills in the blanks. That's magic. That's the beauty of this business."
Hardy revealed that he let his WWE contract expire. He also told Jericho that he didn't want to sign back with WWE despite the amount of money they were offering because he wanted to do more creatively as his career his coming to a close.
"I just think it got to the point where WWE has so many talents under contract, and the reason they have all these talents under contract is because they don't want anyone else having people that can move the needle or make a difference or cut in their business so just trying to scoop up all the talent across the globe as far as monopolizing the business," Hardy said. "To me, I could have stayed in WWE. They tried very hard to sign me. They offered me very good money, but I know my role would have been minimized.
"For me, more important than money right now was to totally utilize my creativity, and for these last three-four years that I'll be able to do this, I want to enjoy it. I want to be driven and fueled by the passion I have for this. I want to be creative, and I want to have fun. At WWE, a lot of the times, they suck the fun out of things because it becomes such a business, and you become a cog in the machine. To me, it wasn't about being a cog in the machine and making x amount of dollars. To me, it was about enjoying what I was doing and really enjoying every single second I have left doing this, and AEW just turned out to be the best-case scenario for me."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.