Wrestling star Matt Hardy has rejuvenated his life and career in 2012, performing for the top independent promotions in the United States.
Hardy will meet Sabu at Extreme Rising’s return to Philadelphia 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29.
The former WWE superstar is happy with the freedom of making his own decisions when it comes to his work schedule.
“A company now, like a WWE, has such strict rules and control of your life,” Hardy said, “as far as allowing you to do outside projects or trying to grow in different directions.
“Whether it be acting or things you want to do yourself or other business ventures, it makes it really tough. When you work for a company like that, they give you the schedule, and that is the one you work. With my schedule, currently, I can kind of make it and shift it around. Like the weekend before Christmas I took off so I can be with my family. I still get to do some really cool shows. It’s also fun because I get to wrestle a huge variation of opponents.
“The money is good, and I enjoy it. I’m still able to do what I love. I sort of redefined my passion for it because there is no more stress or pressure. It’s just me getting to practice my craft and perform my art with my own schedule. So it’s really nice. There are a lot more guys who are making the shift. It’s nice that there are places like the Extreme Rising, Ring of Honor and a couple of places that are really strong in the Northeast and California. These are places I can work regularly where they have really good attendances and really good shows and really good wrestling. So I’m thoroughly enjoying it right now.”
In the past year, he has competed against emerging stars such as Luke Hawx and ROH’s television champion Adam Cole. It takes him back to the days of when the Cameron, North Carolina native and his brother Jeff were breaking in to the business.
“I had that experience of being the young new guy that had the glimmer in his eye and all the talent in the world, but there are a lot of things you have to learn along the way,” Hardy said.
“Back in my day guys really didn’t go out of their way to help you like they do now. So for me to work with these guys and kind of give them tips and things to think about from all the experience I’ve had, I enjoy it. I feel like I’m giving back. I feel like I’m also doing a service to the business. So it’s a good feeling.”
It’s no secret Hardy, 38, has endured turbulent times over the years. However, the veteran was able turn it around by changing the way he lived his life and getting his priorities in order. Taking a more proactive approach to his career has also helped the performer.
“The biggest thing is my body not being in constant pain,” Hardy said. “One guy I like to use as an example is Chris Jericho. He was so smart about working three years and taking a year off or so. I went for 11-and-a-half years straight. I was one of those guys who was always on the road four days a week, five days a week. I always busted my #$% every time I get in the ring and work. It comes to a point where as you get older and your body starts breaking down, you have to realize that you’re a human being. You’re not a machine. You can’t go with that mentality.