When Matt Hardy debuted in AEW back in 2020, the wrestling legend had many options as to what he’d look like during his first run with the company. Over the years, Hardy has reinvented himself in numerous ways, creating “The Broken Universe,” calling himself “Big Money Matt,” and also being one-half of one of the greatest tag teams of all time in The Hardy Boyz. But what if Matt had come into AEW as a new persona?
“I actually had a couple options in the beginning. I know they had offered me ‘The Exalted One’ with The Dark Order,” Hardy said while speaking on the latest episode of “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy. “That had been offered to me by The Bucks actually, and I guess Tony was cool with that too and they were thinking that’d be a cool deal.
“They were definitely wanting to take those guys in a heel direction, but I felt like after that thing with Randy [in WWE], I should debut as a babyface … I had suggested Broken Matt and that’s what I wanted to do. The Bucks were cool with it and then Tony Khan was very open to working with it, and we were going to do whatever we could do to make Broken Matt work. Unfortunately, COVID came in and the world changed … and obviously, Broken Matt, which I feel like is a character that really depends on audience participation, debuts in the first-ever AEW empty arena pandemic era show. So, that was Broken Matt’s bad luck.”
The late-Brodie Lee took on the role as The Dark Order’s Leader and “Exalted One,” putting together a successful run with the company as a top star, with a run as the TNT Champion and also challenging for the AEW World Championship at AEW Double or Nothing 2020. Unfortunately, Brodie passed away at the age of 41 in December of that same year, leaving a lasting legacy behind and so much love from wrestling fans and talent.
“I did know if I didn’t decide to do ‘The Exalted One,’ I knew Brodie Lee would get it,” Hardy said, talking about turning down the role of The Dark Order’s leader. “And I was like, man, that’s a great spot for him. He’s going to kill it. Do it! I wanted Brodie to be The Exalted One, and I know I said this in the past already.
“He was super appreciative that I teased I was going to be The Exalted One. I did that all the way, you know, I was already doing it when I was doing stuff with WWE … I was doing all these teases to just to pop myself and just to keep people talking about me because that’s one of the most important things, I think, in this day and age. You have social media and if you can use that to keep fans and the consumers talking about you, keep you in the conversation. It’s a very important thing to promote yourself in this day and age.”
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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