Matt Hardy’s veteran status in pro-wrestling is no joke. Hardy has been in the scene for very long time and has seen it all. He captivated the audience whenever he stepped into the ring. However, it appears after years of action packed match-ups it took some serious toll on his body.
On the latest episode of “Extreme Life of Matt Hardy,” Matt talked about a variety of subjects including AEW ranking system, Don Callis’s difficult stint at WWE and the physical damage he took from the unprotected chair shots in wrestling career. Matt began the discussion by sharing his take on Tony Khan’s decision to bring back AEW ranking system this week.
Matt emphasized the need for unpredictability in wrestling where the underdog has a chance to win. He drew comparisons to other sports such as football and baseball where upsets can occur when two big teams face off. He expressed his concern over putting all eggs in one basket and relying on a handful of wrestlers in the rankings.
“When you have two great football teams facing one another, I mean, there can be an upset. One team may be predicted to win. When you have two great Major League Baseball teams playing, there can be an upset. I mean, these guys are professionals. I think when you have two great wrestlers, you can have anybody beat anybody on any given night and I do think that’s important. If you have a handful of guys that you’re putting all your eggs in a basket, and those are the guys who are going to sit in the rankings over and over again, then you take credibility away from other people. The thing about pro wrestling, it’s just, you know, at the end of the day, it’s still entertainment. There’s a lot of athleticism in it, but you have to remember to blend the entertainment aspect so you have acts that are super popular, and people like to see them and people will pay to see them, but you can’t just shut them out because they don’t win matches. That’s what that ranking system can do, and when you do it like that, it becomes a losing scenario.”
Matt also reflected upon the toll wrestling has took on his body. He revealed that his memory and agility has deteriorated over the years due to taking damage from unprotected chair shots. However, he said that the “cold plunges” he’s been doing has helped him improve his memory. He further expressed that he wants to be there for his kids as long as possible and wants to avoid taking any risks in the ring.
“I think about it all the time. I know my memory is nowhere near as good as it used to be. I am not as fast as I used to be. It’s crazy, but like these cold plunges I’ve been doing, I feel like they’ve helped my memory. They’ve been very good for my brain as well. I have thought about it a lot and how I’m going to be. I feel like one of the important things is that I am aware, so that allows me to still do things to protect myself. Like, I don’t take crazy bumps on my head. These AEW fans, you know, if they’re looking for me to go out there and take this high angle bump on my head, I’m just not gonna do it. I wrestle a solid, clean match. That’s what I do, but I do protect myself. I mean, I have more than sacrificed so much of myself for the pro wrestling business. It’s my job to go out there, and I’m an entertainer more than an athlete in this day and age. I can still go out there and do my thing, but I’m not going to take things that are risky, and something that I think could hurt me bad because I need to be around as long as I can possibly be for my kids.”
Moving on in the discussion, Matt talked about the challenges of fitting into the WWE dressing room. He gave the example of Don Callis’ stint at WWE as The Jackyl. He revealed that Don didn’t fit in with fellow wrestlers like “JBLs and the Takers.” This difficult atmosphere in the dressing room ultimately led to the back office’s decision to part ways with Don.
“In ’97, ’98, I remember hearing from people in the dressing room who said, ‘If the boys don’t like you, if you’re not accepted by the boys, and people don’t feel like you fit into this dressing room, then the office will get rid of you.’ So it was very important that you would fit in. One person that kind of comes to mind that really got a bad rap, and I don’t know if he just rubbed people the wrong way or whatever, was Don Callis when he was there as the Jackal. They ended up sticking him with JBL and Ron Simmons. It was so contentious with him and he had issues with, you know, the JBLs and the Takers, whatever. but then the office said, ‘Well, it’s not working out. What’s going on?’ This is once again him just like voicing his opinion to these guys as opposed to I guess, you know, succumbing to them or whatever. They said, ‘Okay, well we’re gonna have to part ways with you’, and he ended up being released ultimately out of that, or I think his deal was up or whatever, but that kind of ended up being his downfall at the end of the day.”
What are your views on Matt’s revelations? Do you think the wrestling industry needs better safety standards? Let us know in the comments!