Matt Hardy is a man who has come home again.
Since his TNA departure last year, Matt has been back on the independent circuit, wrestling all over the country. Performing in front of crowds big and small, Hardy has gained some real focus, and once again been reminded of why he loves the business that he has chosen.
You might say that he has found his smile.
Cheesy Shawn Michaels reference aside, I will say that after nearly 12 years being involved in and around the business, I have never met anyone so down to earth, and so professional, than Matt Hardy.
The night this interview was taped, Matt had been featured in the main event of High Velocity Wrestling, a promotion that operates out of Hendersonville, N.C. HVW is owned by Gary Benfield, a man I met on my first day in the business.
Though I began as a heel manager, with Gary being one of the wrestlers I represented, these days I do mostly commentary for him as often as I can. A lot of time has passed, and a lot of things have changed since the days when we first started, but for Gary, known by his ring name Viper, there is one constant.
Entertaining the fans is the No. 1 priority, and utilizing workers who are committed to that notion is the only way to put on the best event possible.
That is why Matt Hardy was invited, and that’s why he agreed to be there.
Bell time that night was at 8. When I arrived at the building around 6:30, Matt was already there, in the ring, signing autographs, and taking pictures with fans.
As I sat at the ringside table and prepared my notes for the night’s commentary, I watched Matt, and how he behaved with the fans.
He shook the hand of every person who approached him, looked them in the eye, and leaned in, for polite conversation. He gave a smile every time, and was very genuine as he thanked them for their kind words of support.
This may not seem like much of a gesture, but make no mistake about it. Matt Hardy is a man who has been on a very high level with the biggest pro wrestling company the business has ever seen, and has traveled the world, entertaining crowds every time he stepped into the ring.
He’s been there, done that. Why would he care about a crowd of 350 fans in a small Southern town?
Because Matt came up from a small Southern town. He knows what it means to work hard to get ahead in life, to achieve the goals that so many others cannot. He came from nothing, and made it in the profession that he loves. He was a regular guy with a dream, that’s all.
And he never forgot where he came from.
Despite what any of his critics think of him or say about his recent past, there is no doubting his love for the sport and the pride he takes when he’s practicing his craft in the ring.
It was an honor calling his match, and though he wrestled for 45 minutes, with no shower afterward, he stayed in the ring and took more pictures, signed more autographs, then sat down for this interview.
Spending a few hours with the guy, watching him with the fans, and with the other wrestlers, opened my eyes to the kind of person he is. We all make mistakes, and we’re all human. But, we’re all capable of great things when we truly want to succeed.
No matter what Matt Hardy does next in the business, he will surely never forget who he is and why he is in the sport to begin with.
Why start now?