The following interview was conducted on Pro Wrestling Radio, Saturday 06/04/05.
Eric Gargiulo: How are you feeling these days?
Matt Hardy: Good man, physically I am feeling like a million bucks. Actually sitting in the airport right now on my way to you, I am getting ready to head up to Newark, NJ for a JAPW event tonight. I’ll be in New Jersey myself.
Eric: I understand you are going to be involved with a new reality series?
Matt: Yeah it is actually odd it is actually the last thing that I had expected. Some people approached me out of the New York, New Jersey area, and they actually have this breakthrough concept that they want to do of doing like a website with streaming video once a week, once every two weeks, however they decide to format to have a all new, first run, reality show. It is almost like a reality, variety series. In addition to that there is going to be a ton of other things on the site where there is going to be an excerpts, and different clips where you can see the full length clip and also different Omega matches, this, that, and the other thing, it’s just going to be more or less a fully active Matt Hardy site, and also involving Jeff (Hardy) as well and all of my other family and friends, relatives, and anyone else that are a part of my cast of characters. So it is going to be real interesting, we have already shot about 25, 30 hours worth of footage. There is some hilarious stuff, there is some inspirational stuff, there is some real motivational stuff, it is going to be good, it is definitely going to be a variety, reality package.
Eric: Will you start bringing cameras on the road with you as you make more appearances like the one tonight?
Matt: Yes indeed actually my cameraman is going to be there tonight. He is going to be following me around so, anybody who does come out to the JAPW event tonight if you want to get your face on tv and be on the Matt Hardy show, make sure to pop your head in and put me over, that’s how you’ll get on. It’s going to be fun, it’s a fun project.
Eric: Have you heard from anyone from the WWE in management since you have been gone regarding a return?
Matt: Yeah I have got a few people who I am close friends in management that I have spoken to, you know I would never rule anything out but also as things stand right now I have until July 10 when my 90 day clause runs out and then after that I’m a free agent. I’m going to do whatever is available at that time.
Eric: What are your thoughts on the current storyline going on in the WWE that came out of your real-life situation?
Matt: Yeah currently I don’t watch it. When it is such a personal situation towards me obviously considering that they just kind of put Kane in my role and they just kind of built everything around that, it is a storyline that I wrote for them (laughs), personally I just don’t watch it currently so that’s my main reason why, it’s just a little too tasteless from my point of view to watch.
Eric: In regards to your book, you brought up an anecdote in regards to when Paul Heyman had just arrived in a creative position in the WWE. You kind of take a shot at him regarding his motivational words towards you and your brother. What was it about Paul Heyman that kind of rubbed you that way?
Matt: No it’s not even a bad slight on Paul in any way because I think Paul is an extremely talented guy and I think he has one of, if not the best wrestling mind out there as far as coming up with new, and original stuff, as far as a writer, and producing a wrestling show, I think he does great, he’s phenomenal. But, I am just the kind of guy, I just need the meat and potatoes of what’s going on, I need the truth like I don’t need the inspirational speech, I don’t need someone to tell me how it is. So, I don’t need anyone to fill my head with things that I don’t need to hear, I just need the truth. I don’t need an exaggerated story I just need the truth.
Eric: In your book you also talked about the style differences about you and your brother working with a combination of the Radicals (Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn) when they first had come to the WWE. Could you expand on that?
Matt: Yeah I think it was a huge styles clash. The main reason is just because we had been around the WWE for awhile. Jeff and I kind of had a set style in the way we did things and the way we worked, and these guys just being the veterans and the world travelers that they were had a style they worked as well and they kind of definitely wanted to do their style which kind of clashed with ours a little bit and I felt, I think both teams just kind of felt that we were compromising our own true styles so to say. Especially like Perry (Saturn) was probably the main, Perry and Dean (Malenko), they just kind of clashed with us as far as even personality wise and style wise. Although they are good guys and I like them all, (Chris) Benoit is just one of those guys that is amazing to work with, he’s very open, willing to do anything, even work any style, but the main thing was whenever we (he and Jeff Hardy) were working with Dean and Perry it was just such a styles clash, sometimes you felt like you were pulling out your hair, it was a headache just trying to actually be yourself in the match.
Eric: In regards to your match with your brother Jeff (Hardy) at Vengeance 2001. At the time there were rumors that management were extremely disappointed with it and you both write about it in your book. What do you think went wrong with the match?
Matt: I don’t know, I mean as far as management being extremely disappointed I never officially heard anything about that, they wanted to continue things, I know they were more disappointed when the storyline didn’t go through, they (WWE management) wanted Amy (Dumas) and Jeff to kiss each other and neither one of them felt comfortable doing that. They were definitely disappointed because of that. But with that being said I think that if that (match at Vengeance) was going to be our first match of the series we didn’t want to go out there and giveaway everything that we had but even the things we did, Jeff was very unmotivated at the time, Jeff just wasn’t being Jeff, and I was as sick as a human being could be at the time that day so, we had a couple of things working against us but the match definitely didn’t live up to expectations of what people had thought. But I think if we would have continued working (each other) and carried out our program for three or four months than we would have even surpassed that (expectations) in the end, but the way things went management kind of ended up pulling the plug on it.
Eric: What exactly was it in your career that was the turning point in you and your bother being part-time enhancement talent to full-time talent with a push?
Matt: Yeah I don’t know if it was one certain point maybe it was just every time we would come around we would try and stand out as far as the way we dressed, the way we looked, or our big thing was if you can’t do any offensive moves in the match than take some huge bump you know, just make sure people remember you from that. So that was kind of like our mindset going into the matches. You know after doing that for awhile, once people did started recognizing us and they knew who we were they’d go, “Oh yeah you’re those Hardy guys, the brothers,” you know, and, “We’ll put you in this match, we’ll give you a few more spots,” and I just think as time went on it was a natural progression of us getting to do more and more and they were seeing more of our talent and they just said, “Well, I think these guys have some potential let’s put them underneath a (WWE) developmental deal,” and that’s what happened.
Eric: Was there ever a point in time before you signed your WWE contracts that you and your brother had been contacted about working for ECW?
Matt: Yeah we actually talked to a couple of people from ECW, if we hadn’t signed with the WWE we both probably would have ended up in ECW.
Eric: Speaking of ECW and going back to what you said about the Radicals, was there any kind of a styles clash with the Dudleys when you and your brother started working with them regularly?
Matt: No not really, it was different from then working with Edge and Christian obviously but working with the Dudleys was cool because they were willing to do whatever to and even that hardcore mentality, you know going through tables, using chairs, falling off ladders, you know they were all about it so it was a different style because they were more power guys as opposed to Edge and Christian, but it was definitely fun. I love working with those guys.
Eric: I had Test on the show a few weeks back and we talked about Fear Factor. He didn’t like the experience too much due to the waiting around. What was your experience like on Fear Factor, especially since you won?
Matt: I enjoyed it, I enjoy the show, I thought the show was a lot of fun because I’m pretty hard to gross out as far as that goes anyway. I enjoyed the show and had a good time, it was, whenever you’re doing TV there’s a lot of hurry up and wait, and we sat there all day that did kind of suck and whenever we would go do our thing, when we would go do the Fear Factor shoot it would be fun to me. I enjoyed it.
Eric: Can you talk about the Angelic Diablo character and promo that is currently up on thematthardy.com? What is the concept? To me it reminds me a lot of an expanded version of the original Raven character.
Matt: It’s kind of got that brooding effect of a Raven character but even still there is going to be a lot of tweaks with the Angelic Diablo. I think the basis behind it is just someone who is a vigilante who has had everything that means something to them in their life taken away from them, and then just rising up in the ashes and trying to get their life back together, their whole goal is now they don’t really have anything because they’ve lost everything, is just to make sure that doesn’t happen to other innocent people. And the people that are guilty, and the people that are corrupt, they will make sure to punish them, you know, and by any means necessary and to also punish them with great vengeance.
Eric: Was this the character that you wanted to return to the WWE with?
Matt: Yeah actually this character I created after the whole thing with the Lita, Kane, and Matt storyline. I’d lost my girl, I’d lost my health, and I’d been injured, you know I lost my career for a matter of time, I had lost everything and whenever I came back that was kind of my mindset was to have this character, although to make it not quite the Punisher or the Crow but to make it more human and to have elements of Matt Hardy in it. Even the vignettes that the people have seen are a little more comic-booky, I would definitely be a lot more human, but that’s definitely the mentality behind the character.
Eric: What were some of your favorite wrestling matches that you watched growing up as a fan?
Matt: Hmm, I definitely, the match that probably stands out to me more than any other match is the Shawn Michaels-Razor Ramon Ladder Match at Wrestlemania X. As you could imagine that was pretty inspirational. Even looking back, Macho Man (Randy Savage) vs. Ricky Steamboat from Wrestlemania III, that was a great match because it was just such an exciting, athletic contest at that time. I was a big Macho Man fan growing up, a lot of the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) tag team matches I am big fans of those guys. There’s several stuff man, mostly anything you put on, if it’s wrestling and it’s pretty good, I like it.
Eric: With NWA Wildside closing their doors, do you have any plans to reopen an Omega like promotion down South?
Matt: Yeah I mean I have thought about that, you know I’d definitely never rule that out because those were some really fun days and it would be fun to do, if nothing else just to do it again so yeah that is definitely not something I would rule out you never know down the road.
Eric: Have you been surprised at the overwhelming fan support you have received on WWE TV and through emails, since being let go by the WWE?
Matt: Yeah I mean it is just very flattering man, it is just very flattering to know that even after being off of TV for six or seven months you know with my knee injury, you know I had my left knee totally reconstructed, you know being off TV for that amount of time and beings for the situation to go down, and for the fans to really be in on the pulse of the situation, really tuned in like that, and still be chanting, “We want Matt,” or “You screwed Matt,” it’s really just extremely flattering and it just makes me proud. It makes me proud of the wrestling fans, you know?
Eric: Using your situation and the chants during the Goldberg-Lesnar match at Wrestlemania, do you think that the WWE discounts the power of the Internet when it comes to their business?
Matt: Absolutely, yeah it is definitely being overlooked by the WWE. I mean even if you do want to chalk it up and say there is only a small percentage that are constantly on the Internet that watch the program, I mean that percentage have people that they talk to. Information that comes up through the Internet is going to spread, and spread. Like you said, you look at the Goldberg-Brock Lesnar match everybody in that building knew what was going on. When Amy (Lita) and Trish (Stratus) had that promo in M.S.G., you know when the whole building was chanting for me during that promo I mean, even though the stuff came out from the Internet, it spread everywhere in that building. I mean stuff spreads, the Internet is a very powerful force and if things are out there and promoted the right way, stuff can get out. It’s just one of those things in this day and age especially if it continues to grow and more people continue to have computers, I think it’s very wise to take advantage of that because there are a lot of things you can use as far as the Internet goes to better your business, I think it is much better to utilize that than to downplay it.
Eric: Speaking of Brock Lesnar, you and your brother were really the first two guys with a push to put him over. There seems to be a difference of an opinion from former guests on his leaving the WWE to pursue football. What are your thoughts since you were one of the first guys to put him over?
Matt: Right, I don’t know I am probably stuck somewhere in the middle. I mean just for me, I worked all of my life to be in the wrestling business, and to be a star. Once you achieve that level I don’t see why you would ever want to leave especially when you are young and healthy, but if Brock’s dream was to do something else I guess it is better him trying to go pursue that than be miserable there (WWE). But with that being said, there are a lot of guys who really busted their ass, you know myself being one of them and really did a lot to make Brock and it really would have been nice if he were to make some guys on his way out or whatever. It is what it is, the WWE is a very cut-throat business and you just gotta get what you can get when you can get it.
Eric: How did you come up with the Version 1.0 gimmick and the creativity of it to sell to management to push on the shows?
Matt: I was just looking for something to kind of make myself stand out a little bit especially from just being Matt and Jeff of the Hardy Boyz. I just said, “What if I was Matt Hardy Version 1 and this time instead of just seeing an extension of Matt Hardy from the Hardy Boyz, you are seeing the whole Matt Hardy, Version 1.” To me it just seemed kind of like a fresh start and a new character and that’s where that came from originally just like you are seeing the whole enchilada. And the Mattitude gimmick thing actually came, I was with one of my friends joking around in the gym and we were talking about the era of WWE Attitude and I said, “Yeah, well it is getting ready to be WWE Mattitude.” He kind of chuckled and I did too and, “That’s kind of catchy,” I said. “I think I could do something with that, it could kind of be a spoof of the whole thing.” That is where that came from, that was actually born in my gym at home.
Eric: Is there anything you have been able to do with your new free time that you haven’t been able to do in the past?
Matt: One that that I was able to do which was real cool, something I have been wanting to do for a long time, I actually did this while I was out with my surgery, I was able to completely decorate my house which is something that I have been wanting to do, and you know bought a lot of things I actually got a real nice hot tub, bought some arcade game, some of the old classics and got a pool table, and got some pictures hung, cleaned, furniture, you know completely arrange my house. That was the one good thing and started on some of my landscaping. Maybe I will finish that up now that summer is here.
Eric: Best of luck to you Matt, I’d love to have you back in the future.
Matt: You got it man I’d love to be on here, thanks, and I always enjoy it man, it was a great experience, and just so everybody does know, I know you’ve plugged it, you’ve been doing me justice already today but check out thematthardy.com, my official website and if there is anyone out there that is interested in emailing me you can email me, my personal email address for all of the fans is firstname.lastname@example.org.