The Wrestling Genius: Interviewing the Great Matt Hardy
Very excited to have the opportunity this week to interview one of the greatest tag team wrestlers of all time; turned great singles wrestler Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy is working with a group I’ve had the privilege of talking with a newer company called Extreme Rising. Their inaugural IPPV event Remember November was a massive success for the company and I have to say after seeing it, it isn’t a typical “extreme reunion” group. Sure, there are some old familiar ECW names like The Franchise Shane Douglas and Sabu to name a few it actually has a fresh look and feel to it. Their shows live up to their name and the battle between Matt Hardy and Shane Douglas was worth every penny. There was a scary moment however at the end of the show that Matt and I will discuss as well as future opportunities to see Extreme Rising live if you live on the east coast. Hopefully, there will be more IPPVs to enjoy in the very near future. Without further ado, my interview with the seven time tag team champion and former ECW champion Matt Hardy.
JG: Here with the one the only Matt Hardy, and Matt I want to first thank you for the interview and then jump right into it.
Coming off the heels of Remember November Extreme Rising’s first IPPV and its success for the company how do you feel going forward now to the next big event Saturday, December 29th in Pennsylvania National Guard Armory? In addition, how do you feel physically after a brutal match between you and Shane Douglas with Luke Hawx interfering?
MH: I feel ok, fortunately. I was very lucky it wasn’t a much more severe injury. I literally could have broken my neck, ended up in a coma.. It could have been bad. Head injuries are extremely serious, as we’ve learned. I enjoyed my match with Shane Douglas, even though I was extremely physical, but Luke Hawx crossed the line with his recklessness. Luke Hawx has one helluva receipt coming his way from me. I’m ready for the 29th in Philly.
JG: Obviously most of my readers will know you from your WWE days, and one of my favorite feuds you were in was you vs. MVP. It was a great mix of two styles that worked perfectly along with a story that clicked with fans. I’m always curious and I like to ask this question just to see if there is a disconnect between fans and wrestlers. Do you consider that one of your best feuds or would you put a few ahead of it?
MH: I absolutely consider that one of my best feuds. MVP and I both were very hands on from a creative standpoint with the whole program, which makes it even more special. We worked hard to make it different, entertaining, compelling, and original.. And I thought we did a pretty damn good job of it. Me vs. MVP, Me vs. Edge, Me vs. Jeff, Hardyz vs. E & C were probably my four favorite all time feuds during my WWE run..
JG: You’ve had so much success as a tag team wrestler early in your career, and now you are having success as a singles wrestler. It seems for many wrestlers it is very difficult for them to come out of the tag team world into singles competition. It appeared from an outsider that the transition was easy for you and you had no problem switching from tag team to singles, but I’m curious was it an easy transition for you or did you struggle to sort of find your identity at first?
MH: It is a tough transition. I was lucky to have the opportunity to do the whole Matt Hardy Version One persona, and it really helped me get in touch with my personal strengths as a performer. Every day that goes by though, I got more on the pulse of who I really was as a character/persona. I still do now every time I wrestle. Honing in what works for you and makes you who you are is a never-ending process in my opinion.
JG: Throughout your career, you’ve had the chance to work with some of the best managers in the business. Now specifically talking about Michael Hayes how big of an impact, did he have in your early success?
MH: Michael Hayes taught me more about the psychology standpoint of this business than anyone else has. I credit Michael Hayes for helping me become the wrestler/worker/performer that I am today. Michael truly opened my eyes to how this art of professional wrestling works.
JG: You have your own youtube channel, you have a twitter account; in other words, you are very active in social media. Social media seems like a double edge sword to me, on one hand, it gives you unparalleled access to fans for promotional purposes but it also allows for a lot of negative feedback from fans. Do you see it that way or do you just see it as a great tool to reach a large audience?
MH: I think it’s a good thing, especially if someone is willing to work hard to promote themselves. It allows you to get yourself seen and viewed by wrestling fans that wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. So hopefully you’re putting out a good vibe for your persona/character.. That can work for you or against you-there’s no boss, there to critique or filter you’re product. It helps people learn, no doubt. As far as the negative feedback goes, that’s always gonna be part of any job in the entertainment business. It’s just exponentially multiplied through Social Media outlets. You have to learn to not take the extremely negative and ridiculous to heart. With that being said, you can’t take every positive and compliment to heart either. You have to learn to be a fair judge of yourself by maintaining an accurate assessment of what you’re doing in reality. I think judging yourself honestly is the hardest, but certainly the most important.
JG: Going back to talking specifically about Extreme Rising; Is there added pressure that for this company you are arguably the biggest star, or are you impervious now to the pressure having been in so many big matches in your career?
MH: There’s no more pressure on me than I put on myself. I always push myself to maximize every situation and opportunity that is placed in front of me. I certainly make myself work hard, my pride probably pressures me to perform the best and can and to go the extra mile. I’m just learning that as I get older and age as a performer, I have to work smarter and a feasible amount of dates so that my body can physically and mentally recuperate. I feel like I’m doing a great job of that nowadays though.
JG: To piggyback off the last question about big matches or big moments, was there ever a moment in your career where you stopped and said “holy shit I made”?
MH: The night after the first ever Tag Team Ladder match when we got a standing ovation in another town, on another show, in front of different fans. Also, being the semi-main event and stealing the show in the first ever Wrestlemania we were involved in when we wrestle the Triangle Ladder match. There’s been several of those moments during my career (Winning Tag Titles, Winning the ECW Heavyweight Title, Winning singles title, Working with HBK, Undertaker, Stone Cold, Winning the cage match vs. Edge by dropping the legdrop off the top of the cage, me vs. Jeff at WM25, etc..) when I’ve done something and go “WOW”, I’ve really lived the dream I had as a child..
JG: Thank you for your time, and I’ll leave you with the last words of the interview, whatever you want to say, say it.
Thanks to all the great people who’ve supported me every step of the way, through good times and through hard times. Stay up to date with me on MATTHARDYBRAND.com and check me out at Twitter.com/MATTHARDYBRAND and YouTube.com/MATTHARDYBRAND !!
It was an honor to interview a great performer and a very nice person in Matt Hardy. Be sure to check him out Saturday, December 29, in Philadelphia PA. Tickets are available for that event as well as some great meet and greet opportunities for you as a fan. Check out extremereunion.com for ticket information, dates, and highlights from past events. As always, you can email me with any questions, comments, concern or hate firstname.lastname@example.org or you can tweet me @JaredGebhardt