Superstar AEW Matt Hardy has crossed several promotions several times during his professional career, but perhaps no comeback has been more significant than when he decided to return to WWE in 2017 after leaving the company in 2011.
Speaking on the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Hardy explained in more detail the end of his last WWE run and how they rallied to try to keep him with the company. Hardy also explained why he decided to return to the company in 2017. Check out the conversation highlights below.
Returning to WWE in 2017:
It was really important for me to go there and leave on a good note. When I left in 2011, I just wasn’t in the right place. I wanted to go back because I owe all these guys. I have great appreciation for WWE and Vince McMahon and all of those people. I wouldn’t be who I am without him and I recognize him very openly and I am grateful to him.
On rallying WWE to stay with the company in 2020:
I was talking with Vince and getting creative about different ideas and what I was going to do because they were trying to get me signed again. I had been very close to the Young Bucks for a while, especially since we were working with them. I originally met them at Impact and then worked with them in Ring Of Honor. [WWE] offered good deals and a lot of money. But I said it was important to me that I was treated appropriately as a wrestler. Because there’s this thing out there with Vince and the older wrestlers, it just feels like they’re done. Even though there are things they could use. I think Tony Khan does a masterful job of putting older guys in certain positions where they can be successful and they can optimize their efforts and talents.
On WWE wanting him to eventually work as a behind-the-scenes producer:
Vince said, “I can see you going to be a producer behind the scenes. I know that once he says that, that’s kind of what he has in mind. If I can fight, I want to fight. I know I only have a few years left to do this and that I will make the most money out of it. And this is my dream, and my passion, and I love it, and this is what I really want to do. So even though I can do it, especially as my kids get a little older, the fact that they can see me wrestling is cool for me, so I really want to wrestle. So over time and I didn’t sign, they said, “We’re going to take you off TV for a while. I said, ‘okay, cool, whatever, no big deal.’ Then it was’ okay, are you ready to sign? If you sign up, you can go back to television.
On WWE making one last “Hail Mary” attempt to extend her contract:
At the very end they gave a big hi Mary where I was going to be working with Randy Orton and they had things they promised. And they had a big contract, which was really, really huge and would have been a good deal. I liked him, but I was like, I know Vince had seen me step into a producer role before. So that’s where I was going to end. I spoke with The ‘Bucks and I spoke with Tony. We talked about some things about making me struggle on a limited schedule, whatever it is. Even having me represent some guys. Tony was just amazing to talk to, he was so respectful. Tony Khan is so respectful of the guys who have helped this business.
You can listen to the full interview below. Many thanks to Wrestling Inc. for providing transcripts on the podcast.
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