It was a trip down memory lane for Matt Hardy on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Northern Durham High School in Durham, N.C.
The Cameron, N.C. native teamed with his brother, Jeff, and James Storm and Hurricane Helms to face CW Anderson, Steve Corino, Lodi and Gunner at OMEGA’s “Chinlock for Chuck” benefit show for indie wrestler Chuck Coates, who has Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
The Hardy team won the match, but Coates was the big winner as the show raised $15,000 with 1,000 people attending on a Tuesday night.
OMEGA (Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts) was a wrestling promotion the Hardy Boys formed in the late 1990s to cut their teeth in the business. Some on the “Chinlock for Chuck” card were part of the original shows from 1997-2000.
Since the beginning, the elder Hardy has been supportive of younger brother, Jeff. That remains a constant, no matter what promotion they join. Matt Hardy does see another run with his TNA championship sibling somewhere down the line.
“I always try to watch Jeff’s stuff on Impact Wrestling,” he said. “I watch about every other episode of Raw that I can. Three hours is a little long, but I try to definitely keep on the product. I go online every few days to try to keep up with the current events and what is happening. The way I love wrestling and my passion for it, I will always watch the product.
“As far as Jeff and I having another match, I’m 100 percent sure that will happen. Where the run or when it will go down or how long it would be? I’m not sure, but I’m positive the Hardy Boys will be back together before it’s all said and done.”
The Hardy Boys are among the most popular tag teams in the history of WWE. With that in mind, would this be the place for a full-on reunion to occur?
“It’s a possibility,” Hardy said. “Who knows? One thing is I’ve tried to become real savvy about is whatever I have going forward for myself. As far as the situation goes, speaking very candidly and honestly, I’m not going to jeopardize myself or my sanity or my well-being or my health to try and get one last run full time. If something were to work out where I have some sort of part-time schedule or stuff here and there, then who knows.
“I’m not saying I’m a star of that magnitude to command that, but if something worked out, then maybe. I see the business evolving where they are taking better care of the guys and when guys get hurt. Society is changing, and I think wrestling is, too. Never say never in the wrestling business and as things possibly evolve. If something can be worked out that can work for me and for them, then I’m willing to do it.”
At the moment Hardy is busy taking bookings for a variety of promotions across the United States. One of those is Ring of Honor, which will feature the veteran grappler on upcoming shows.
“I’ve had this whole Ring of Honor deal worked out and knew I was going to be around for a while,” Hardy said. “It sounded like a really cool deal. I’m really excited about doing it. It’s one of those things that I feel I have things to contribute to the wrestling business and Ring of Honor specifically. I thoroughly enjoyed my match with Adam Cole. He is an extremely talented guy and currently the guy they chose to make a breakout star of 2012.
“It was a good decision. He is a good wrestler, a good performer and really seems like a good human being on top of it. I really look forward to working with Ring of Honor going forward. There are couple of other things I have cooking and happening. So you just have to stay tuned to see those.”
Above everything else Hardy is focused on living a healthy life and being happy. He is looking to make the right decisions when it comes to his life inside and outside the ring.
“It happens to everybody, where it’s real easy to make a wrong decision in whatever it might be,” Hardy said. “I just want to think things through and make the right decisions. Even with the way I’m booking matches, I’ve had a couple of times when I’m in New York one day and Chicago the next. I’m trying to change that and work for different companies, but not go through a tough schedule.”
For Hardy, this chapter of his career revolves around practicing his passion and giving back to the business that has given him so much. He also doesn’t want to overwork himself. Today stress isn’t in Hardy’s vocabulary.
“I’m really looking to try to be in good shape and athletic as possible,” Hardy said. “I’m not working about being bigger or having huge muscles. I just want to be athletic. I’m Matt Hardy. I’m the guy who helped create the TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs match). I’m established. I just want to be healthy and for [wrestler and girlfriend] Reby [Sky] to continue to improve wherever we wrestle. That’s been a blast for me.
“Extreme Rising has been a blast. I’ve really been enjoying them. When I was working with WWE, it was just the WWE style. Now I get to do a Ring of Honor style or a Ring of Honor match. Then I might have 2CW [Squared Circle Wrestling] or NEW [Northeast Wrestling], two of the top independents in the Northeast. They have a more regular style or WWE style with a smarter audience.
“Then there is Extreme Rising, where I get to do the extreme side of wrestling. Then there is Crossfire in Nashville, which is starting TV and work a more Southern style. It’s fun for me to be able to do different things. It helps break the monotony of just being a wrestler and doing the same thing over and over again.”
With so many growing companies in different parts of the United States, Hardy sees an almost throwback to the territory days.
“I think it’s coming back around, and there is going to be a market for that,” Hardy said. “It’s going to be good because there are so many talented guys out there. Guys I’ve wrestled who haven’t had a break or not a specific body shape or size WWE is looking for, but are really good and talented. They deserve a chance to practice their craft and make money. I see a lot of places coming up. I think social media helps. These Internet pay-per-views or on-demand shows are out there. There are a lot of different ways to promote your events compared to back in the day, where it was just TV and radio.
“Social media and the worldwide web provide help in the success of these independent events. I see some places that are rising up in different areas as almost a throwback to the territory days in a modern fashion.”
• Follow Matt Hardy on Twitter: @MattHardyBrand.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.
• OMEGA’s “Chinlock for Chuck,” to donate, visit www.chinlockforchuck.com. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Chuck Coates battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.