One of the most memorable moments in recent WrestleMania history was when The Hardy Boyz made a surprise return at WrestleMania 33. An announced triple threat ladder match for the Raw Tag Titles became a fatal four-way match with Matt and Jeff as the fourth team.
The brothers’ return was their first WWE appearance in eight years and they would win the match to become eight-time WWE tag champions. Matt was asked about keeping their return a secret when he joined The Chris Van Vliet Show.
“For me, it wasn’t hard. We had that in our pockets for almost four weeks, almost a month. For Jeff, it was very tough, especially doing media. Jeff’s like, ‘God, I’m just tired of lying. I don’t want to lie anymore.’ He felt really guilty about it,” admitted Matt who added that fewer than 10 people in the company knew they were returning and WWE went to great lengths to keep it a secret.
“Even the way they drove us in, they kayfabe us in to talk to our opponents right before the day of the match. They didn’t even know we were in the match until we got added to it and our opponents, they thought it was a three-way tag until hours before. So, it was done really well as far as being kept on the down-low and that’s almost how you have to do things in this day and age and I love stuff like that. We need more of that in 2020.”
Often times the announcers aren’t even given a heads up in regards to big surprises or returns so that fans can hear their genuine reactions. Matt was asked if that was the case with Corey Graves who legit popped at the sight of The Hardyz returning.
“No, Michael Cole was the only one who knew. Yeah, Michael Cole had that ‘Broken’ line in his pocket. [“Things are about to be broken!”] He was ready to go. Michael Cole was the only one who knew. Corey legitimately told me after that, he had no idea,” revealed Matt.
Many wonder if tag team wrestlers like Matt and Jeff are offered different contracts or if they’re on the same terms and Matt revealed that answer.
“No, we were under the exact same contract,” Matt said before explaining why he left WWE while Jeff stayed behind if they had the same contract.
“What happens in WWE whenever you’re injured, Jeff had two major surgeries during his deal. He had shoulder surgery and then he had knee surgery. Then, he also had some personal time off. He had to take off and I think all together it was about a year and eight months and once that happens at WWE ? if they still continue to pay you ? they can freeze your contract and they froze his contract. So now, he had a year and eight months tacked on his deal as opposed to my deal. I worked all the way through without ever being injured at all so, that is why Jeff is still working there now.”
Matt teased his retirement in 2018 by saying “it’s time to go home” but came back to WWE a few months later. He’s still going strong with AEW now and discussed if retirement is coming any time soon.
“No, it’s not something I think about, but it’s realistically something I know that’s obviously coming. I mean, something I say all the time ? I’m not 25 anymore. My body feels different and I’m very mentally aware of my physical state and kind of what I can do and what I can’t do,” stated Matt. “So, obviously, I have a few years, a little chunk of time left in front of me, not like a long piece that is behind me. So, I’m aware that it’s coming one of these days and I’ll be happy. I just want to try and accomplish as much as I can before I get to that point.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.