by Phil Speer # WWE.com on 10/26/02
HELSINKI, Finland - Oct. 24, 2002 - Backstage at the Hartwell Arena, WWE.com caught up with Matt Hardy to talk about jumping to SmackDown!, branching out on his own as a singles star and much more.
WWE.com: Are you all over your jetlag?
Matt: I don’t know. I’ve never really felt bad. The schedule’s actually set up pretty good because leaving after SmackDown! and going straight to the plane, I got to sleep a few hours, came over here and had dinner, and then got to sleep a few more hours. Everything’s been broken up - my sleep has been a few hours here, a few hours there. I feel pretty good now.
WWE.com: Do you enjoy going on these tours?
Matt: Yeah, it’s fun to do. Just right now I’m so busy. My house is just about finished - they just finished the brick, and they’re doing a whole bunch of stuff on the inside. So I’m missing that. I love wrestling and performing. If it’s up to me, it’s nice to just fly an hour from the house. But it’s cool to come over here and see these places and say that you’ve been here before.
WWE.com: People seem to have really taken to your new character. What do you have to say about it?
Matt: It’s a lot of fun. I’m just really happy to be getting an opportunity on my own. It’s been really nice to get a lot of recognition and credit for things I’ve done on my own too.
WWE.com: Where would you like to go from here?
Matt: I would like to just become a more important part of SmackDown! and WWE as a whole - a more important player, help be one of the reasons that WWE rises to prominence again. I’d like to be an important draw and an important act on my own. And I think I can. Just given the opportunity, and I continue to make improvements with myself.
WWE.com: How frustrating was it being on RAW those last two or three months before finally jumping to SmackDown!?
Matt: It was very frustrating because I was in a situation where Jeff was getting an opportunity, and I was doing everything right - actually doing more right in a lot of ways than he was, as far as from a business standpoint. And I got put on the backburner, just because he had an opportunity that was made in front of him. Whatever. It’s cool. That’s how it is here; that’s how it is in the wrestling business anyway. You have a period of time where you’re kind of being spotlighted, and then you’re kind of in the weeds for a little bit. Even from the times we teamed as the Hardy Boyz, it’s kind of like you’re on the coastline curve. There’s time where you rise up and you’ll be on top for a little while, and then you’ll come back down and you’ll ride low for a little while. Then you’ll go back up, hopefully a little higher the next time. It’s cool. You just take the good with the bad and just get ready and wait for your next opportunity.
WWE.com: What’s the difference between being on RAW and being on SmackDown!?
Matt: First off, I think SmackDown! is a little more athletic and in-ring oriented. That would be the first thing I would say. And I think SmackDown!, with the cruiserweights and younger guys, has probably better overall athletes. RAW still concentrates a lot more on entertainment. I could sum it up like this: I think SmackDown! is more the sports side of sports entertainment, and RAW is more than entertainment side of sports entertainment.
WWE.com: Would you say that SmackDown! suits you better, then?
Matt: I think so. I think I’ve got a decent combination of both of them. I think I could survive in either environment, given the proper opportunity.
WWE.com: What about differences backstage between RAW and SmackDown!, if there are any?
Matt: Not a real big difference. Here, backstage is younger than RAW. That’s the main thing. RAW is a little bit of an older crowd. It’s changed a little bit. I know when RAW first split, it was more of a rowdier crowd. Hence, the first plane trip. I think RAW’s just a little older, and less inclined to really bear down and work as hard as they can. Whereas on SmackDown!, you’ve got a ton of guys who go out every night and really buckle down and bust their ass.
WWE.com: You have a unique perspective, having been on both shows for a few months. Is there a rivalry developing between RAW and SmackDown!?
Matt: Not really. I don’t think so. I think it may be fun if you’re on one show to say, “Oh yeah. Our show’s better than your’s.” Everyone here knows that both shows need to be good for the company to be better and to make more money, and for all of us to make more money and do better business. Both companies I’m sure want both shows to do well.
WWE.com: What do you think about fans chanting “We want Jeff” during your matches?
Matt: It’s no problem. It’s a natural reaction I would think, considering the way we broke up. I turned on Jeff. And there was never a reason why. I hate to see it like that. I really didn’t want to do it when I came over here. It’s always been a pet peeve of mine that whenever a tag team is great for so long, whether they’re brothers or just friends, they have to turn on each other and go their opposite ways. I mean, why can’t guys achieve all they can as a tag team and say, “OK, I think we’ve done it all. You go your way, I’ll go mine. Maybe I’ll see you down the road”? But I just think it’s a natural inclination for these people. Now that I’m playing a heel, they’re not used to chanting “Matt sucks!” or whatever. As a tag team, they never chanted “Jeff! Jeff! Jeff!” or “Matt! Matt! Matt!” It was always, “Har-dy! Har-dy! Har-dy!” So they really don’t have anything to tag on Matt, like “Matt sucks!” or “Matt blows!” So I guess the first thing that sticks out in their minds is, “He turned on Jeff. He shouldn’t have done that. We want Jeff! We want Jeff!” As long they’re chanting and excited during my match - especially now with my character, I don’t care. If they cheer for me, that’s great. If they boo me, that’s great. As long as they’re reacting. As long as they’re entertained. That’s all I’m worried about.
WWE.com: Does it suck that Lita’s on RAW?
Matt: Not really right now because she’s not on house shows. And if she wasn’t doing commentary on HEAT, I wouldn’t see her anyway because she’d be at home. I’m on the road on Monday. So it’s no big deal. When she gets back to working a full-time schedule, that’ll be something that’ll definitely be addressed. She should be coming to SmackDown!, or we should be on the same side then.
WWE.com: Who do you travel with now that you’re on SmackDown!?
Matt: When I first came over, I was traveling with the Hurricane, Shane Helms, and Shannon Moore, which was a lot of fun. We had a good time. Because I went for a little while, when Jeff was off the road, just traveling by myself when I was on RAW. Originally, it was myself, Jeff, Amy (Lita) and Shane all traveling together. And Shane went to SmackDown!, then Amy was hurt and then Jeff wasn’t doing house shows, so I was riding by myself for a while. Coming back and traveling with Shane and Shannon was a lot of fun. Then they took Shane (on RAW). So now it’s just me and Shannon. I try to take care of Shannon. He’s my son.
WWE.com: Anything you want to add?
Matt: Make sure to go check out WWEMattitutde.com. And buy my V-1 Mattitude shirt, because I’m very proud of it. As a tag team, Jeff and I pretty much did everything. As kids, we always said we’d like to have a shirt out one day, we’d love to have a tag team action figure out, we’d love to have a video/DVD out, we’d love to be on a video game (and) even have a book. And we did all that as a tag team, because we got the book coming out.
WWE.com: When’s that coming out, by the way?
Matt: It’s coming out in March of 2003. Make sure to check that out too. It should be real good.
WWE.com: What is it going to be called?
Matt: The working name is “Exist to Inspire: A Biography in Motion.” A play off poetry in motion. Myself as a singles, I’d love to go back and do everything on my own. I’ve got my own T-shirt out now, which is cool. I want to have my own action figure out because of my merit. And be on a video game, and have my own DVD out. Just go through and accomplish everything on my own too.