Matt Hardy recently spoke with AEW Unrestricted where he detailed the end of his WWE career. Matt admitted he had to go back to the company in order to leave on a brighter note than previously.
“It was really important for me to go there and leave on a good note,” he admitted. “Because when I left in 2011, I just wasn’t in a good place. I wanted to go back because I do owe all those guys. I have a great appreciation for WWE and Vince McMahon and all those people. I wouldn’t be who I am without him and I very openly acknowledge that and I am grateful for it.”
Matt Hardy then talked about how Vince wanted him to stay with the company. However, he also detailed the relationship he has with The Young Bucks.
“I was talking with Vince and creative about different ideas and what I was going to do because they were trying to get me to re-sign. This was around the time AEW had started up,” he pointed out. “I had been very close with The ‘Bucks for a while, especially since we worked with them. I met them originally back in Impact and then I had worked with them in Ring Of Honor. Right towards the end of that Impact run, we were going to do a cross-promotion thing between ROH and IMPACT doing The Hardy Boyz and The ‘Bucks. If that would have happened, it would have been very, very cool.”
Matt also discussed the deal WWE offered him, but also mentioned that WWE isn’t great at working with older wrestlers.
“They offered some good deals and good money. But I said it’s important to me that I’m going to be treated appropriately as a wrestler. Because there’s this thing there with Vince and older wrestlers he just feels like they are done. Even if there’s things they could utilize,” he said. “I think Tony Khan does a masterful job of putting older guys into certain positions where they can succeed and they can optimize their efforts and their talents.
“After talking to Vince a little bit, I saw that he wanted me to wrestle a little bit,” he said. “But he wasn’t up on utilizing me a lot in different roles. I never wanted to be a champion, I don’t want to be champion. I don’t need to be champion. I just wanted to be in a good role where I can work with other people and I can help the younger guys and stay relevant on my own.”
Matt Hardy spoke about how Vince McMahon saw him as a future producer. He felt that his role was backstage, but Matt didn’t want to do that while he could still compete.
“He said, ‘I can see you transitioning to a producer behind the scenes.’ I know once he says that, that’s kind of what’s in his mind. If I can wrestle, I want to wrestle,” Matt said. “I know I only have a few years left to do this plus I am going to make the most money there. And this is my dream, and my passion, and I love it, and it’s what I really want to do.
“So while I can do it, especially as my kids are getting a little bit older, for them to be able to see me wrestle is cool to me, so I definitely want to wrestle,” he claimed. “So as time went on and I didn’t sign, they said to me, ‘we are going to take you off TV for a while.’ I said, ‘okay, cool, whatever, no big deal.’ Then it was, ‘okay, are you ready to sign yet? If you sign, you can come back to TV.’”
Matt Hardy then spoke about how WWE then made a last-ditch attempt to keep him. The company offered him big money, but that wasn’t enough.
“At the very end, they did a big hail Mary where I was going to work with Randy Orton and they had some things they were promising. And they had a big-money contract, which was really, really huge and would have been a great deal,” Matt claimed. “I was appreciative of it, but I was like, I know Vince had seen me already transition into a producer role.
“So that is where I was going to end up. I spoke with The ‘Bucks and I talked with Tony,” he said. “We talked about some things about having me wrestle on a limited schedule, whatever it may be. Even having me represent some guys. Tony was just amazing to talk to, he was so respectful. Tony Khan is just so respectful of guys who have contributed to this business. The way he talks to you, the way he treats you, the way he books you, everything.”
Finally, Hardy admitted that he knew he was going to AEW. He also put over Tony Khan for how great he is to work with.
“After talking to The ‘Bucks and talking to Tony Khan, my mind was made up,” he said. “I knew I was going to AEW, it was just a great experience. I have nothing but the best things to say about Tony Khan. Especially considering the state of dealing with him and him compensating you, and him also taking care of you. He’s just great across the board.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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