Exclusive: AEWs Matt Hardy on Hardy Boyz Reunion, Dream Match, Podcasting, More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2022

Exclusive: AEWs Matt Hardy on Hardy Boyz Reunion, Dream Match, Podcasting, More

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    Matt Hardy looks to make this final chapter of his iconic career something special.
    Matt Hardy looks to make this final chapter of his iconic career something special.Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Matt Hardy has been an incredible asset to AEW since signing with the promotion almost exactly two years ago, with some of his greatest contributions coming outside of the squared circle.

    Between managing Private Party and elevating other up-and-comers such as Darby Allin and Adam Page, the future Hall of Famer has done more than enough to help AEW build a foundation for its future. That's in addition to starting up an all-new podcast entitled The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy alongside pro wrestling personality Jon Alba, dropping new episodes every Friday.

    The weekly show explores Hardy's decorated career as well as his history with a plethora of opponents. It also looks at his current run in AEW and how he sees the business continuing to evolve, something he knows quite a bit about with his many colorful characters.

    Whether he's been known as one-half of The Hardy Boyz, the purveyor of "Broken" brilliance or the mischievous "Big Money" Matt, Hardy has always been a master of reinvention. This year will mark his 30th in wrestling, and with his brother Jeff set to enter free agency soon, the two are extremely excited for what could end up being one of their best years yet.

    Ahead of Dynamite, Hardy sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss his latest venture, if "Broken" Matt will ever make a comeback, the upcoming Hardy Boyz reunion and more. Check out the complete video of the interview on the next slide and read on for the highlights.

Venturing into Podcasting While Also Balancing Fatherhood with Wrestling

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    Of everything Hardy has accomplished over the course of his career, being a caring father of four is his proudest achievement of all. He and his wife Reby Hardy make parenting look easy on social media, but he admits that it's far from it, especially as he attempts to balance his home life with wrestling and now his new podcast.

    "I always tell people that if you think you're busy before you get married and have children, you have no idea what you're talking about," Hardy said. "Being busy is being married and having a family, especially four kids under six. That is a huge responsibility and very time-consuming. Don't get me wrong, it's the most rewarding thing ever, but it's great and it's a lot of hard work.

    "Between that and my regular AEW gig and trying to spend time training to stay in shape, especially being a little bit older and being in my 30th year in pro wrestling and trying to take care of all the bookings for my brother Jeff and I, it's busy and hectic in the best way possible," he added.

    Despite not wanting to add much more to his already-stacked schedule, the idea of starting his own retrospective podcast with Alba for Podcast Heat was one he felt he couldn't pass up.

    "At first, I was worried about putting too much on my plate," he said. "I still have people that offer me other things, but it's something that I've wanted to do for a while and try it. I feel like it's the natural progression of the next form of me doing something as my in-ring career comes to an end in the next few years. It's something I can keep working on and building a base around."

Why Podcasting Is the Perfect Platform for Him; His Plans Prior to AEW

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    Hardy is considered by many to be among the pioneers of social media for professional wrestlers, and for good reason. He's used it to his advantage on countless occasions over the last 15 years, but the one thing that always alluded him was hosting a podcast.

    It seems every wrestler nowadays has a show of their own, but Hardy has had such a fascinating career and life in general that the perspective he brings to every episode of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy makes it a must-listen. That combined with Jon Alba's extensive research of everything Matt Hardy made for the perfect collaboration.

    Hardy explains that the intent was to bridge the past with the present and share old experiences and stories while putting a current twist on it.

    "I feel like my brain—the locker room that is my mind and memory—is overflowing with memories," he said. "Quite a full life. There have been times where Jon has sent me notes on an episode and I'll say, 'Oh my gosh, I totally forgot this even happened! Now that it's been brought to the forefront of my memory, I do remember some details on it.' That's been a fun part of this journey as well.”

    Hardy enjoys the challenge of doing something different, and that's exactly what he had in mind when he left WWE upon his contract expiring in March 2020. He revealed that he had hopes of loosely working with a number of different promotions before ultimately ending up in AEW that year, but the pandemic put a halt to those plans.

    "It was definitely going to end up being AEW eventually," he said. "There were different ideas I had about doing other stuff in Impact or whatever, even in the NWA, and I spoke with all of those people at the end of my WWE deal. But the pandemic had hit and then we were just kind of stuck. The world was frozen and we didn't know what this virus was going to be and everything was so limited in what you were going to do. I debuted 'Broken' Matt Hardy on the first-ever empty arena pandemic show for AEW, which was rotten in the long scheme of things but it is what it is. In this business, you take whatever you have to work with and you make the most out of it."

Hardy Boyz Reunion, Dream Match, and Bringing Back Their "Broken" Personas

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    No matter how much time they've spent apart throughout their 30 years in wrestling, The Hardy Boyz always find a way to reunite.

    That's going to be the case once again next month when Matt and Jeff tag for the first time in nearly three years on the independent scene. Their last match together saw them win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships from The Usos before being forced to vacate them due to an injury to Jeff soon after.

    It hasn't been in the works for long as Jeff's recent departure from WWE was abrupt and not his choice. Matt has been busy doing his own thing since their last stint as a tandem, but the time has come for them to get one last run in AEW's loaded tag team ranks.

    "Jeff and I both made that deal to each other: we want to end our careers the way we began our careers," he said. "We're getting the opportunity to do that now as all of the planets have aligned. I'm really excited for how 2022 is going to turn out for the Hardys. It's going to be a great, great year and we're very much excited to be teaming again and having some first-time matches, which is going to be rare.

    "We've gone long enough without teaming that there's all these fresh matchups out there and there's so many great tag teams in the world," he continued. "The AEW tag team division is jam-packed and overflowing. If we end up doing something at AEW, I think that'd be very cool, too."

    As for who they'd want to face in a dream match, only one team came to mind for Matt: "I'm not going to lie: I'm a big fan of The Young Bucks. I'd love to do another Hardy Boyz vs. Young Bucks series at some point in time."

    When The Hardy Boyz officially reunite on March 12 for Big Time Wrestling against either The S.A.T. or The Briscoes Brothers, fans can expect them to be the modern-day version of themselves. However, Matt says it's entirely possible we'll see the return of their "Broken" personas eventually.

    "I definitely think when we start this era of teaming with one another, it's going to be a basic Matt and Jeff Hardy, the Hardys that you remember working in our up-to-date styles," he said. "But if something did happen where we could do a 'Broken' Matt and Brother Nero thing, I think he'd love to do it as well. He loved the hell out of it also, he really enjoyed doing the Brother Nero thing and he really embraced it. As they say in the wrestling business, never say never."

His Thoughts on Cody Rhodes' AEW Departure

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    Hardy and Cody Rhodes are no strangers to one another, having shared some time in the ring together in the summer of 2010. It wasn't until both were gone from WWE years later that they finally crossed paths again on the independent scene, with Matt praising Cody for being a "very talented performer" in a 2019 tweet.

    In other words, the two were never super close, but Matt has evidently always had a great deal of respect for the second-generation star. As disappointing as it was for Matt to see him leave last week, he's looking forward to seeing what the next chapter of his career holds like everyone else.

    "Cody's obviously one of the forefathers of AEW: him, The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega," he said. "They were kind of the guys that were leading the charge as far as creating AEW and they got with Tony Khan and he made things happen and made AEW a reality. It's going to be really interesting and I wish Cody the best in whatever he ends up doing, but it's going to be very weird not having him around in AEW. I'm sure whatever he ends up doing, he'll kill it and be great at it."

    Then again, as someone who has been in the business for three decades, Matt has come to expect the unexpected at all times with wrestling being the way that it is.

    “I'm at that point now where anything can happen," he said. "It's pro wrestling and we kind of control our own destinies. Don't ever be surprised because anything can happen in this wild industry."

His Favorite Recent Matches and Moments

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    The Hardy Boyz have had so many amazing matches and moments both as a team and as singles stars that it's impossible to recall them all. Even in recent years, they've been a part of some stellar stuff, most notably their monumental return to WWE at WrestleMania 33.

    That still stands out to Matt as one of his favorite moments from recent years, along with everything he was able to do with the "Broken" Universe in WWE and Impact. Those cinematic matches have managed to stand the test of time and will be forever part of Matt's legacy.

    "Obviously, the WrestleMania return was a very, very big deal," he said. "I thought it was great. Personally, I'm a big fan of Final Deletion, the whole magic we created with the Broken Universe. It's so cool that it got so over and so popular. For the longest time, so many people asked me, 'When are you and your brother going to do another TLC match?'

    "After we did Final Deletion, people started asking, 'When are you going to do another Final Deletion match?' It was so different and so odd and it worked. It went viral and it had a cult-like following. It was a lot of fun to think outside of the box and be creative and for it to get over as big as it did."

    On the subject of the original TLC match pitting the Hardyz against The Dudley Boyz and the duo of Edge and Christian, Matt acknowledged that they were never able to run it back due to all six stars not being in the same place at the same time.

    The only televised interaction they've had since the early 2000s was at the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony when The Dudley Boyz were inducted, but they've since gone their separate ways.

    "The planets did not align as far as being in one place for there to be another TLC match," he said. "But I'm very happy for both Adam [Copeland] and Jay [Reso] that they're healthy and are able to wrestle again and to be able to go out on their own terms. It's very cool for both of those guys."

TV Shows He's Watching; His Favorite Parts of the Hardy Compound

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    Hardy is a father first and foremost, and unlike pretty much everything he keeps himself busy with, that's the one job he rarely gets a day off from. Tuesday nights are the only exception as he's typically on the road, and he spends them catching up on his favorite television shows, along with whenever he's traveling.

    Anyone who follows Hardy on social media is well aware of the many shows he's binging at any given time.

    "I fell in love with watching television drama series like Breaking Bad, Dexter and True Blood," he said. "The most recent thing I watched as Part 1 of the fourth season of Ozark, which was a lot of fun. I typically watch stuff whenever I'm flying. That's my gig. I went back and watched The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield. There's a lot of good TV out there, especially now. There's so much content out there, you can't even keep up with everything."

    As for his favorite parts of the acclaimed Hardy Compound, he has a few, some of which have been shown on WWE, AEW and Impact TV over the years as part of Hardy's outrageous skits as "Broken" Matt. Surely there's much more to the awe-inspiring property than what fans are familiar with.

    "One, my gym that's in my house, which I love," Hardy said. "It's just nice being able to wake up, roll out of bed and go downstairs to work out. Two, the movie theater and the arcade that my wife and I worked on in our house. It's really cool. In the summer, I love my pool because it's nice to be able to roll out of bed and jump in the pool too, especially when it's hot. It's very relaxing."

The Luxuries of His Current Character; Not Having Any Regrets from His WWE Run

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    Despite WWE's best efforts to re-sign him, Matt decided to explore other options by leaving the company on his own accord in March 2020. His most recent run there lasted three years, and although there was more he wished he could have done in singles competition, he doesn't have any regrets.

    "I try not to have any regrets, not just with wrestling but with everything that I do," he said. "I'm sure there are guys that if I had more of a singles run that I would've liked to have a one-on-one match with. There's so many talented guys there that are really good. Roman [Reigns] is one that stands out. I really enjoy the stuff he's doing now. It would've been a lot of fun to have a match with him.

    "Even a match with Brock [Lesnar] again would've been fun, just as a one-off since we have a little history in the past, too," he added. "But it's no biggie. If we had those things, it would've been cool, but they didn't materialize obviously."

    Matt's in the perfect place of his career because he can mesh all of his many characters into one. He'll occasionally do the "Delete!" hand gesture, attempt to take money out of the pockets of his proteges and do the high-risk moves synonymous with his Hardy Boyz days.

    Above all else, he's having fun with what he's doing and is elated that crowds are back so that they can be along for the ride as his 30-year in-ring career begins to wind down.

    "Once you blaze a new trail and become a new character, there's always going to be parts and traits of that character that remain with you," Hardy said. "Even though I'm not necessarily doing the 'Broken' Matt Hardy character, the delete taunt is something people really like, so I think it'd be silly to not incorporate it into the things I'm doing currently. I can do 'Big Money' Matt, I can throw in a 'Delete!' and throw up the Hardy Boyz gesture or whatever it may be.

    "I think going forward I'm going to be more focused on being a more authentic Matt Hardy, which is the Matt Hardy you see here," he continued. "Very realistic, based in reality, though I'll also have characteristic and traits of all those other characters I've played in the past."

                         

    Catch new episodes of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy every Friday.

               

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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