Matt Hardy on AEW ‘Double or Nothing,’ his WWE exit and working over Sammy Guevara

New All Elite Wrestling star Matt Hardy took time for some Q&A with The Publish’s Joseph Staszewski earlier than AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view Saturday (eight p.m. B/R Stay) in Jacksonville. He’ll participate in a 10-man Stadium Stampede match at an empty TIAA Financial institution Discipline. It pits him and The Elite – Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Adam Web page and The Younger Bucks – versus Chris Jericho and The Interior Circle — Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz.

(Edited for readability and size)

Q: How is Matt Hardy feeling proper now about this new alternative with AEW?

A: It’s been unbelievable to this point. I can’t say sufficient good issues about AEW and the expertise, administration, artistic course of. Creatively I really feel reinvigorated. To have the possibility to really have your voice be heard and form of paint your individual masterpiece is so refreshing in so some ways. Having the chance to try this … the principle particular person, which is Tony Khan, collaborating with him, giving him concepts and form of bouncing stuff off each other and him having religion within the efficiency visions is simply such a welcome change.

Q: I’m positive you had heard about Tony coming in, however was there one thing that stood out from truly attending to work with him?

A: He’s an especially passionate supporter of the wrestling style. He was a fan again within the day and now him being the boss, giving instructions, he has a imaginative and prescient of what he desires to do. However he additionally contains the performers’ imaginative and prescient in that imaginative and prescient and so they virtually intersect and so they make one imaginative and prescient and transfer ahead. I all the time really feel like greater than anyone else within the wrestling enterprise right now, he as the top of the group has his finger on the heartbeat of the 2020 wrestling fan. He actually understands what they need.

I feel he additionally understands one thing which may not be his favourite, however he understands why they’re good for the product. Even one thing like “Damaged” Matt Hardy and a few of the excessive and the theatrics, the unpredictability and the craziness is sweet for the informal fan as nicely and that’s what they’re frequently making an attempt to rope in.

Q: So what can we anticipate from a Stadium Stampede match?

A: This 10-man tag is 10 guys which can be tremendous hungry and inventive and revolutionary and in addition there’s a scorching difficulty between myself and The Elite and Chris Jericho and his underlings, The Interior Circle. I predict very confidently that is going to be essentially the most insane, wild, entertaining empty-stadium match there’s ever been as a result of you might have 10 guys going all at it, nothing’s off-limits within the venue. I’ve a sense that is going to be a match that’s talked about perpetually.

Q: How excessive did you guys set the bar with the road combat just a few weeks in the past?

A: There have been a pair issues we threw round of doing on the street combat that we determined to form of pull again a little bit bit simply to avoid wasting stuff for the Stadium Stampede and I feel it was an excellent launching level, the road combat. I beloved how we migrated ourselves over in the direction of the soccer subject within the background and the final shot was the dastardly villains and also you see their Interior Circle graphic up on the display screen behind them. That was lovely foreshadowing.

Q: What was the thought behind all of the street-fight costume adjustments for you?

A: Proper now at present you might be chatting with basic Matt Hardy, which is just about the usual Matt Hardy individuals know which has been an entity for, now that is 28 years for me. After which additionally typically, there’s a change and also you interlock with (within the “Damaged” Matt Hardy voice) “Damaged” Matt Hardy and all of his damaged brilliance and that’s the means that works. Even typically in the midst of the match, there is usually a change of personalities. Sure! As a result of typically you see “Damaged” Matt Hardy and (finish of voice) then typically you see common Matt Hardy.

It’s like Bruce Banner and the Unbelievable Hulk in a whole lot of methods. There are two entities inside my physique and I feel as time goes on considered one of my objectives right here is to create one of the vital layered characters in wrestling historical past, and I feel you’re going to see many extra entities from Matt Hardy, some from his previous, some new. I don’t know, possibly it can find yourself being that possibly Matt has a whole lot of totally different personalities floating round in his head. We don’t know. Nevertheless it’s going to be an attention-grabbing story and I’m very excited to inform it and paint my masterpiece within the subsequent 12 months or so in AEW.

Q: Once you hit Sammy Guevara with a golf cart and also you see him bounce off, what are you pondering at that second?

A: The very first thing that went via my thoughts was, “That was superior.” In all probability after I hit him I used to be like turning round, I advised Kenny, “Oh my god there’s going to be so many gifs and memes for this.” And lo and behold we have been proper.

Q: Once you have been coming into AEW, there was this double-swerve with you and Brodie Lee. As you’re seeing the followers form of frequently debating who the Exalted One is on social media as every trace will get drops, are you pondering “we actually acquired them?”

A: I used to be by no means, and you’ll quote me on this, I used to be by no means, ever gonna be the Exalted One. I mentioned, let me tease that. It is sensible and it could match and I can play stuff off of it with my social media and making individuals go down a sure highway and suppose a sure means.

We simply determined like if Brodie Lee was simply quiet and I can form of do that, everyone seems to be gonna expect me. We knew if he got here out, anybody who was disenchanted it wasn’t me or (that) I didn’t present up, they have been nonetheless gonna get me 45 minutes later within the present.

It will have been wonderful if it had been finished earlier than a reside crowd. I’d have been so, so cool, however it’s what it’s.

Q: Is that AEW crowd one thing you are feeling such as you nonetheless must expertise after they do come again?

A: That’s going to be very helpful to me. “Damaged” Matt Hardy is such a enjoyable character. I get some flack; “Damaged” Matt Hardy is a polarizing character, too, as a result of AEW kind of is a severe promotion and so they positively focus extra on in-ring and a few of the die-hard followers (say) “Nicely, this “Damaged” Matt Hardy this isn’t what we wish to see. We don’t wish to see the flying drone, the costume change,” no matter.

Additionally, professional wrestling is leisure. We don’t name it sports activities leisure however there’s an leisure part to it and all the time will probably be and that’s additionally very enticing to the informal followers, and I do know that even trying on the numbers and scores from a few of the segments I’ve been in. I’m very completely satisfied and really happy with that. I really feel like “Damaged” Matt Hardy is the form of character {that a} informal fan can say, “Oh my God this man’s fairly humorous or entertaining, what is that this on? I wish to test it out.”

Then I really feel like I can nonetheless have basic Matt Hardy nonetheless all the time be the intense wrestler and that would be the plan going ahead as proper now.

Q: What was the promo like with Jericho the place it’s form of like this old fashioned promo battle?

A: That was an attention-grabbing second for me in my profession. One, we have been simply actually advised you might have 15 minutes to exit right here and converse.

It was cool as a result of we had a little bit little bit of an concept about what we have been going to say, however a lot of it was on the fly. I do know Chris virtually acquired tickled inside after I referred to as him a “gap of the ass” as a result of he wasn’t anticipating that. That was one thing that positively caught him off guard.

Q: Wresting with no followers is one thing everyone seems to be making an attempt to determine the best way to do. Do you might have any concept or pointers for this, the way you’d assault this course of?

A: My unique concept was just about the identical concept like Tony and the powers that be had, form of scattering some the roster round ringside. I feel it’s been sensible. I feel it’s added a lot to the reveals and the matches to have that background noise and have some interactions.

Followers and the viewers response, just like the yays and boos and oohs and aahs and the response when somebody kicks out of a close-fall end and so they suppose the match is over, that’s a part of the magic of professional wrestling. Simply to have a little bit little bit of that background noise and a few of the good guys are on one facet and the unhealthy guys on one facet helps immensely.

Q: There are some individuals who suppose wrestling shouldn’t be happening proper now. John Oliver was one of the vital current ones. What do you say to these individuals?

A: Now that issues are form of altering and issues are form of opening up and we’re making an attempt to do stuff, I perceive the place individuals are coming from on that from that standpoint. This can be a severe state of affairs the world is at present in.

The one factor I take pleasure in now’s I’m nonetheless capable of do issues that make individuals smile and take their minds off the truth of the world and that’s what professional wrestling is. It’s escapism within the greatest means for therefore many individuals that sit dwelling and watch it. On this actually troublesome and making an attempt time right here in America, it does make me completely satisfied that we’re nonetheless capable of do it.

I like that AEW, they’ve been completely so skilled about all the things. We go in there, it’s clearly a closed set, however everyone seems to be examined, there’s a little blood take a look at. We be certain everyone seems to be wholesome and clear after they are available there. They’ve been so on prime of that.

Q: Had been you stunned at how your WWE exit performed out?

A: I’m fairly positive what occurred (laughs) was, to again it up seven, eight, 9 months earlier than my contract was up they tried to get me to re-sign. They provided me an important amount of cash after which I simply mentioned it’s essential. I wish to converse to Vince (McMahon). I solely have just a few years left to do that. I wish to be artistic. I wish to have enter. I wish to do stuff that I get pleasure from. I’m not right here as a result of I want the cash now.

I’m captivated with what I’m doing. I wish to be someplace I get pleasure from after which I by no means acquired a dialog, I by no means acquired a dialog after which they provided me extra money after which they provided me extra money. I simply mentioned no, this artistic factor is essential to me. I’m not right here simply to gather a verify. I’m right here as a result of I’m captivated with this and I wish to make these previous few years nice. I wish to get pleasure from what I’m doing for the rest of time I can do it.

Matt Hardy AEW Double or Nothing Stadium Stampede
Matt Hardy lifting Sammy GuevaraAEW

Q: What’s it been wish to have left WWE and see cinematic matches have turn out to be an enormous a part of wrestling through the pandemic, particularly in WWE?

A: It makes me smile on the within a little bit bit. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of I positively felt like I’d have been very useful to them throughout that point of doing that stuff. It’s what it’s, Vince noticed me in a sure mild the place he wished to maintain me round however didn’t wish to let me be artistic. He didn’t actually wish to minimize me free and that’s effective. It’s his firm, it’s his determination. That’s OK with me.

Q: Do you propose on doing cinematic matches in AEW anytime quickly?

A: We positively talked about it. There are a few issues we labored on. Plenty of it’s simply actually timing. I’m optimistic you will notice one thing earlier than it’s all mentioned and finished. You’ll in all probability see just a few issues.

Q: How has it been seeing your brother Jeff again? It seems to be like he’s in an excellent place proper now wrestling once more on SmackDown.

A: I’m simply completely satisfied firstly that he’s wholesome, hopefully he’s proud of what he’s doing. Hopefully he can simply keep in an excellent place in life. That’s crucial factor. He’s had a historical past, he’s form of overcame all the things he’s handled and hopefully he’s in an excellent place and he’s simply gonna hold transferring ahead like I’ve for a lot of, a few years.

Q: Has it been bizarre to be separate from Jeff proper now?

A: Probably not. It’s been comfy and I’m very assured with all the things I’m doing. It will be good to say, like nicely we will do that massive angle after which Jeff and I crew up and we wrestle The Younger Bucks. That will be wonderful and nice and hopefully down the highway that occurs. He nonetheless has an enormous chunk of time left on his deal, however we’ll see what the long run holds.

Q: What do you bear in mind about Shad Gaspard?

A: Once I take into consideration Shad, I all the time take into consideration his smile. He’s all the time joking, laughing simply all the time an easy-going, pleasant man. Labored with him a little bit right here and there, not rather a lot. Simply all the time a pleasant man to be round. Only a good dude. Only a horrible state of affairs and somebody who finds himself in that state of affairs. I do know his son was concerned in (it) and he requested his son was saved first, man it’s heartbreaking, terribly unhappy. My ideas and prayers do out to their household.

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