During the inaugural episode of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy Podcast, the AEW superstar spoke about The Hardy Boyz memorable Tag Team Ladder Match with Edge and Christian at No Mercy 1999. Matt Hardy spoke about the significance that match had on the wrestling business and talked about Vince McMahon’s view on tag team wrestling.
“If that match turns out being a disaster in any capacity, we don’t continue to do more things,” Hardy said. “You don’t see table matches, you don’t see TLC matches, you don’t see those amazing memories from WrestleMania 16 & 17. They don’t exist, they don’t materialize, they don’t happen. You also don’t see the tag team division become as over as it did at the time too. That spoke volumes about how successful that match was that myself, my brother, Edge and Christian and the Dudleys were able to raise the equity of the tag team division in WWE.
“People know too, Vince McMahon isn’t a tag team wrestling person. The way he looks at things, I need singles stars who can be my world champion and that’s what people are invested in. If he ever gets a tag team that becomes extremely over like mad, he’s just looking to break those guys up and turn them into singles stars. It’s just his mindset, that’s one of the things I love about The Young Bucks, they want to be a tag team forever. That was mine and Jeff’s mindset at the time. Even looking back at that match with Edge and Christian, they may have separated that night and they didn’t. We wanted to take tag team wrestling and elevate it to the highest level that we possibly could.”
Since the release of Jeff Hardy from WWE, Matt spoke about his brothers future and how the iconic team want to end their careers together. Prior to his release, it was rumoured that Jeff was lined up for a storyline with NXT group MSK as “The Shaman” which ultimately was changed to Riddle.
The match at No Mercy was won by The Hardy Boyz, who earned the right to have Terri Runnels as their manager that night. Hardy also spoke about why he’s grateful to Vince McMahon for allowing the four of them to showcase their skills that night.
“I will always be grateful to Vince McMahon for trusting kids to go out there and have this No Mercy ladder match,” Hardy said. “He gave us that opportunity, that can’t be stated enough. If it wasn’t for him allowing us and trusting us, this match could have been okay or alright, but it ended up being exceptional.”
On the next night, The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian met in the middle of the ring on Monday Night RAW and shook hands. Matt Hardy spoke about that moment and revealed an idea he brought to the company about the four stars becoming a faction.
“I think it was very smart, and I would imagine this was a Vince call,” Hardy said. “Vince read the room correctly. Following that match, it’s new era of wrestling where fans were starting to dictate what they enjoyed more and they were going to start to dictate who gets over courtesy of their work rate. There were always times where WWE would push someone and they would force or manufacture some type of superstar on the fans, and sometimes they would buy into it. We’re getting into that period where enough people understand wrestling that they can’t really manufacture a superstar, it has to happen organically.
“That’s what happened that night, I think Vince knew myself, my brother, Edge and Christian were going to be extremely respected, people dug into our work ethic and we did some groundbreaking stuff that night before. He did that call to shake hands and have a mutual respect for each other and I think that was the correct call. Going forward, I actually pitched initially, my idea was to have us together as a group and work against DX, and I wanted our group to be Version 1 of the Hardys and Edge and Christian. That’s initially where I came up with the Version 1 concept, Version 1 of the prototypes of wrestlers that you’re going to see in the future. That didn’t end up happening.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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