Matt Hardy didn’t get what he was looking for to stay in WWE. He does, however, believe the company gave him quite the parting gift, making him “red hot” on his way to All Elite Wrestling.
“Once I didn’t re-sign, I feel like they’re like, ‘Well, bring him to TV and have him put over some people. That will make him re-sign,'” Hardy said during an interview to promote AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view (Saturday, 8 p.m., B/R Live).
“It’s not gonna hurt me. I’m at a point in my career where I’m indestructible in that capacity. You know who Matt Hardy is and what Matt Hardy’s done. You can’t kill him off to a degree because people are so smart. They know what’s going on and what they’re watching.”
Before his WWE contract ran out March 1, Hardy was asked to do a promo with Randy Orton on the Feb 10 “Raw” as part of the Viper’s WrestleMania 36 angle with Edge. It was supposed to be his write-off after months of not having a prominent role on TV. Orton delivered a beating that left Hardy laying helpless after a Con-Chair-To to his neck — a standard formula for ending a wrestler’s run.
“They said they were gonna let me talk and I was like, ‘OK, I can actually do promos pretty good now,'” Hardy said.
He made the most of the opportunity.
Hardy gained sympathy from the audience from the beating and prior to that cut a passionate promo asking Orton why he attacked Edge. The fans embraced him. Hardy came back for another segment the following week on “Raw” – this time in a neck brace – and Orton brutally attacked him again in storyline.
Hardy said on Chris Jericho’s “Talk is Jericho” podcast after he debuted with AEW that WWE even considered letting him and Orton have a two-segment match the third week, but CEO Vince McMahon pulled it when it was clear Hardy was leaving the company. Hardy felt the whole scenario gave him a boost on his way into AEW as part of a double-swerve with Brodie Lee.
“It gave me huge momentum,” Hardy said. “And I don’t know if their mentality was something like, ‘sign with us’ because they offered me even more money. And maybe it was like a last-ditch effort to try to book me in a big angle. I just know they didn’t see me as being an important player on their roster at that time.
“They wanted to have me and they wanted me around to help other people and eventually work backstage, but I still wanted to contribute while I can contribute. But that gave me great momentum. It made me red hot before coming to AEW.”