AEW star Matt Hardy recently spoke with the Wrestling Perspective Podcast about how Vince McMahon reacted to the Wednesday night war. He believes that the WWE Chairman was happy to sacrifice NXT in order to slow down AEW’s growth.

“It really shows how much AEW is changing and causing the business to evolve, I think in many capacities. Because Vince McMahon is so protective of his IP, and WWE,” Matt added. “Because AEW has been as hot as it is, obviously whenever Dynamite started, he took NXT and literally said, ‘okay, I’m not really worried, if we have to sacrifice NXT, that’s fine. Let’s put them head to head.’

“Obviously with that Wednesday night wars and we were battling one another going head to head, AEW won that. But Vince McMahon specifically put that NXT head-to-head against AEW to try and cut into the audience, to try and slow us down from gaining any momentum on his Raw and SmackDown viewerships, that was his initial mindset behind it.”

Matt Hardy believes that the forbidden door has made wrestling more interesting to watch for fans. He thinks the fact that anybody could turn up at once is something that people like.

“It really made it so compelling and so interesting to watch,” he said. “You wanted to tune in every single week. Besides just great action and the great All Elite Wrestling talent and roster, you never know who could turn up.”

Matt Hardy then spoke about the fact that Mickie James will be appearing in the Royal Rumble. This is a rare example of WWE opening its forbidden door, which he believes Vince was pushed into. The former United States Champion believes without AEW, the WWE Chairman wouldn’t do that.

“This appearance of Mickie James in the Royal Rumble, I feel like Vince was just pushed to do this,” he said. “Because now he has to continue to keep up with AEW, and how they are unpredictable, and how you never know who’s going to show up. I feel like if there’s no AEW, there’s no forbidden door, Vince doesn’t do that, Vince doesn’t bring outside talent into the Royal Rumble.

“It’s great for the business in general because it has pushed Vince to change. I feel like, and I feel like most people would agree with me on this. Vince really became stagnant, WWE became stagnant over all those years where there was no competition and he wasn’t pushed.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the Wrestling Perspective Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription. 

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