Some matches stay with you forever. If you're a true fan, one of those matches will undoubtedly feature wrestling icon Matt Hardy. Together with his brother Jeff, he's tearing down the house weekly on TNA's Impact Wrestling show on Challenge TV in the UK. He took some time out to talk to us:
You're back in TNA and working a programme with Team 3D (The Dudley Boyz). What's it like being with them again?
Its good fun! It's like a time warp. It's so strange. We've been separated and we haven't been in the ring with those guys for about 12 years. You know as soon as we start working with them, we start having memories of old matches we had in Peoria Illinois - random cities across the world, it's a great dose of nostalgia. I think it's cool because we're all at a point where we can still go pretty strong in the ring and have a great match and not disappoint the people. We don't just get dressed up and come out as the Dudleys and the Hardy boys and play around for a couple of minutes, we can actually get out there and do an older version of ourselves and still kick ass and that's pretty cool.
You are back to being a tag-team with Jeff after a successful career as a singles wrestler. What's the allure of tagging again?
Every time now - especially as we get older - that I team with Jeff, it's truly magical. We grew up as legitimate blood brothers and it's a magical moment because our whole dream was to one day be the tag-team champions of the world and we did that multiple times. So anytime someone asks me, even if I'm embarking on the greatest singles run of my career and no-one can touch me, I would always go and work with Jeff. For me that's as good as it gets because that's what we always wanted to do when we were children. Few people get to live that dream and so, well anytime I can go back and team with Jeff, I'm certainly up for it and gonna love it.
Being a legend of wrestling yourself - who in TNA do you see being future legends?
The guy that really stood out for me, who I think is great, is EC3. I think he has a ton of potential. I think that Bobby Lashley has done well. He goes out there; he's a bad ass, an MMA fighter that kicks ass. So I think he's doing great. Bobby Roode's great, Eric Young, they've got a lot of, what I almost refer to as TNA originals that are doing great and what with the influx of younger talent and X Division guys - they really do have a complete roster here. There's so much potential with this company to be great and the wrestling industry needs that I think.
You have been in and out of TNA and other locker rooms, how do you find it?
I think TNA has been an excellent locker room. They have a good mentality, they have a good work ethic, and they try really hard. They're obviously really passionate about wrestling and there's a huge amount of talent. It's as good as anywhere else in wrestling business. I think they have the chance to be the best wrestling company that provides the best in-ring matches week-in and week-out, no doubt about it.
What does the future hold TNA and Spike TV?
I'm really not sure. You know things came out and Spike have extended TNA and they'll try and work it out but a part of me believes that similar to a relationship that comes through a turbulent period, it's time to move on and look somewhere else. If the right scenario is found and they have a good TV partner, it could turn everything around for TNA. You have to wait and see and timing is everything, so we're on Impact wrestling on Spike through the end of the year and we've got a few months until then and it's going to be really interesting to see how things unfold. I think things are going to be fine here at Impact wrestling - and I don't even have to say that because I'm not someone that's under contract or a strict employee of the company. There's so much speculation and conjuncture online but I think things are going to be absolutely fine here.
What does this sort of speculation do to wrestlers working for the company?
I'm at that point where I'm basically a brand in myself. At the end of the day I know that Matt Hardy is going to be OK and I know that appearing on Impact wrestling is only going to make me stronger. So I don't need to think twice about it. For other guys it can be difficult. Younger guys, newer guys that aren't really sure where their futures going to be, they have bills to pay they have families to feed. Speculation is also highly, exponentially accelerated by online reports now and that's just the state of the game. Every internet journalist is going to print a story and put up what they think is a "scoop" and put their spin on it. No-one knows the true story except the people in TNA that are dealing with the TV people and that's it!
What is your view on the UK scene and will we see you on the forthcoming UK tour?
That's tricky because I've been out of the loop now for a few years. I know there's a lot of great, great guys out there, a lot of talented guys and that it's a hot wrestling scene. I know here on Impact Wrestling that the UK fans are great and whenever the television comes on, on Sunday nights on Challenge TV that the feedback is amazing. I have nothing but the biggest love for those fans because when you have passionate fans that really get into what you're doing, it really makes you do it that much better, that much harder and makes it so much more fun. I've had a fantastic working relationship with TNA and even though I'm not officially under contract, I hope to be coming to the UK. I'm not going to say its 100% set because it's not but it's looking like I will.
What about Reby Sky (Matt's wife) coming to TNA?
My wife did the One Night Only knockouts PPV and she did great- I was so proud of her. She's been speaking with people from Impact so I would say in the future there's a very strong chance!
You've worked in the Indy scene and for big companies like TNA, how do they compare?
When Jeff and I were first starting out and trying to make a name for ourselves, we were doing Indy shows and would take whatever we could get just to have as much in-ring time as we could. Once we got to WWE, obviously it was a dream come true and being on television on TNA is still living a childhood dream. It's different now because I'm at a point where whenever I do the independents, I can kind of pick and choose what I want. I can go to the ones that I know are going to be good and take care of me. I also have a huge international merchandise line at shopmatthardy.com, we ship over to Britain and those are some of the best, most loyal fans in the world. I enjoy doing independent shows now because they're very laid back and I get to go out and be passionate about just doing what I love and that's wrestling. There's no pressure, no stress. When you're doing a television production or you're with a company, there is some stress, there is pressure to perform and it's a little tougher but it also comes with the benefits of having huge television exposure and wrestling in front of a bigger crowd. So they both have their advantages and I think the bottom line is, if you love wrestling, they're both great.
We've heard some pretty great rib stories from TNA wrestlers, so give us your best one..
Oh man! There's so many of them, even going back to the day when we were first learning about the art of the rib. Well, I first learned from probably the most famous ribber - that was Owen Hart. Even when we were first starting on TV as part time workers, Owen was always constantly up to different jokes. Probably the greatest rib I've ever been involved in happened at a pay-per-view event where Owen used me as one of the guys to stand guard and make sure that Vince McMahon and the office guys didn't leave the building. He told them not to leave a specific room they were in because he told them that there was some emergency across the building. In the meantime, he rushed all of the hoardings that they bought for the set into Vince's office and they crashed and ruined it which was pretty hilarious and also pretty gutsy on Owens part to rib the boss like that.