Caught in the middle

by Mike Fazioli
Credit to:

MILWAUKEE -- Monday night's announcement that Lita would be stepping in as the special guest referee for the Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy family feud at Vengeance on Sunday was a shocker, but Lita says she's ready to don the black-and-white stripes. Sort of.

"I've never been a referee before or done anything like that," she said. "The worst thing that can happen with a referee is if they get in the way. I'm already in the middle of this, but I don't want to get in the middle of the actual match if I can help it."

To say Lita's already in the middle of the brothers' increasingly uncivil war would be an understatement. She's done everything in her power to keep the peace between her boyfriend Matt and his younger brother. But as is often the case with brothers who just flat-out agree to disagree, she realizes she's just going to have to let them beat the hell out of each other and either get it out of their systems or escalate from there.

If the worst-case scenario comes to pass at Vengeance or thereafter -- a final, fatal split of Team eXtreme -- Lita is prepared.

"It would be absolutely weird," she says. "We've done a great job of working as a great, cohesive unit, but we also get our opportunities to do our own things. It's just that much better when you've got each other's backs. We did our own things -- singles titles, Women's Championship, Tag Team Championship-but then we'd do the mixed-tag matches. There would definitely need to be a period of adjustment.

As for the task at hand for Vengeance, Lita says she's prepared to take the challenged issued by Matt on Raw Monday night. He may be her boyfriend, but she's adamant about not taking sides -- and adamant about calling Sunday's battle right down the middle.

"If I'm going to be in there while it happens, I might as well be impartial," she says. "I don't want to see them fight in the first place. It's not going to be to my benefit to be partial toward one of them, because that will just end up dragging it out even longer."

She's also pondering how to spice up her look for Sunday. Nothing could be quite as un-Lita-like as the conservative, black-and-white striped referee's shirt. After RAW, Lita was walking around backstage with the standard-issue referee jersey. How that piece of clothing ends up looking Sunday night, however, is very much up in the air.

"It might end up being an unofficial official referee's shirt," she says. "I'll come up with something."

As trying as the battle of the brothers has been on Lita, she realizes that the countless legions of Team eXtreme fans have been suffering through the brothers' brawling as well.

"The crowds are confused, I can tell that," she says. "We definitely don't get the pops we used to when we come out. The fans are like, 'Oh, they're just going to come out and get into a fight again.'"