By Ron Snyder: Matt Hardy spent more than a decade touring the world and wrestling in front of millions of people as one of the key pro wrestlers of the WWE during its “Attitude Era” from the late 1990s into the first part of the 21st century.
Hardy, along with his brother Jeff, were involved in some of the most infamous tag team bouts of the era, usually competing against teams like the Dudley Boys and Edge and Christian. The three team’s triple threat ladder match at WrestleMania 2000 is considered by some to be the greatest ever at the supercard.
Today, Hardy is still crisscrossing the country and performing in front of rabid fans; albeit fewer of them. Hardy, who just turned 40, has become a regular on the independent wrestling scene, hitting the ring in many of the top smaller companies in the country.
Hardy said he wouldn’t have it any other way. This includes Friday and Saturday when he will wrestle twice for Maryland Championship Wrestling , where he is that promotion’s champion. On Friday, Hardy will be headlining MCW’s Waldorf Warfare followed the next night at the promotions “Tribute to the Legends” card in Joppa.
“I’m pretty content with my career path at this point,” Hardy said. “I feel like I’ve aged out of being a full-time competitor. It’s nice to be able to wrestle two or three times a week and really give the fans everything I have.”
While he is no longer with WWE, Hardy has remained a presence on national TV, appearing for both Ring of Honor and TNA. In the latter, he has had the chance to team with his brother once again in a series of matches against Team 3D (formally the Dudleys) and Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards; a series in which he says has revitalized his career.
“TNA and Ring of Honor have been great to me,” Hardy said. “I’ve been able to work out a deal where I can perform where I want and really work with some great young talent. It’s great to see there are viable options out there other than the WWE where wrestlers can hone their craft and make a living at the same time.”
Hardy, who got married about a year ago to fellow wrestler Reby Sky, said the wrestling industry is at an interesting crossroads. Ring of Honor is continuing to expand since being purchased by Sinclair Broadcasting while he is confident TNA will remain on TV even as its future on Spike TV remains in doubt.
He added that wrestlers today have a great opportunity to take control of their career and make their own path, especially with the expansion of social media.
Hardy has more than 900,000 Twitter followers and was one of the first pro wrestlers to use social media to build his personal brand and following.
“I was criticized initially for being so active on Facebook and Twitter,” Hardy said. “Now, you can’t go a minute on WWE TV without someone mentioning a Tweet. Wrestlers today have a chance to reach millions of fans simply through the use of social media.”
Hardy said the same is true of independent wrestling promotions like MCW, which he added has one of the best reputations of any small promotion in the country. Matt and Jeff both wrestled at MCW in the 1990s and they credit the promotion for helping them hone their craft.
“Dan McDevitt understands pro wrestling and really puts out a quality product,” Hardy said. “Many fans will come out because they want to see a ‘name’ like Matt Hardy. But, when they get to the card, they realize there are a number of other great up-and-coming wrestlers and they get to be up close and personal with them. It’s a great experience for the fans.”
— Ron Snyder