Matt Hardy has revealed that Vince McMahon once told him that it was only human instinct to want to eat someone in a wheelchair. Yes, really.
Heading into SummerSlam 2005 Edge and Matt Hardy were locked in feud which was based far more in reality than fiction. Earlier in the year it had become public knowledge that Edge was having a real-life affair with Hardy’s long-time partner Lita.
In the midst of the chaos Hardy was released from his contract before being brought back. Upon his return, the real life drama between himself and Edge was positioned front and centre of WWE television.
With fans unsure of what was a “work” and what as a “shoot” the match at SummerSlam was arguably the most anticipated match on the card.
Speaking on his podcast, The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy, the now-AEW star reflected on the run up to the event. Hardy recalled a meeting with Vince McMahon prior to the match where he read the riot act to both men, warning them not to let their real-life anger take over the match.
McMahon then proceeded to break down the psychology of the match and how he wanted the action to play out. This led to a bizarre analogy where he claimed that human instinct meant that when someone sees another individual in a wheelchair, they want to eat them.
“So it’s not going to be a long match. I want to portray this as an MMA fight. This is like a UFC fight, right? I don’t want to see any hokey wrestling bullsh*t. [This] is going to be like a brawl a fight short and effective. Matt’s in here, he’s kicking the shit out of you. You’re real piece of shit, Adam, so Matt kicks your ass the whole match.
Then, you’ve got some spot, right? You’ve got some spot picked out where Edge hits a lucky move and then Matt hits the post, right? All of a sudden, his face is a crimson mask, and he’s bleeding all over, and that’s where you are able to take the advantage, is that the spot you guys have?’ ‘Yeah, that’s what we have.’ We told him in detail this what we were talking about doing, and he said, ‘Okay, great.’ I’m gonna explain something to both of you right now, this is really what I want to see.
This is basic psychology. This might sound crazy to you. But I have done many, many studies in the basic psychology of human beings and animals. He said, ‘Have you ever seen two animals in the wild — in the Wild Kingdom, when they’re going to fight one another? Have you ever seen one animal wound another animal? When it wounds that animal and the animal starts bleeding, and it smells the blood, it gets bigger, It swells up, it [growling noise], and it just wants to kill the other animal? Do you know what I’m talking about?’
He said, ‘Listen to me, these are your primal instincts. This might sound crazy, but when two animals — the primal instincts kick in and survival kicks in, and it’s their basic primal instincts, and we all have them, even as human beings. If you see someone weaker than you, you see someone that’s crippled or in a wheelchair, deep down your primal instinct, you want to destroy them, you want to eat them, you want to eat them alive!
That is what we do. That is what human beings do to one another. That is our basic primal instincts. When you look at a primal human being and the psychology behind it, that is our instincts. You want to take the person who’s weaker than you, that is below you in the food chain, and you want to f*cking EAT THEM! Do you understand?! That’s what I want to see out of this match.”
Naturally Hardy and Edge were freaked out by the surreal monologue, but later came to realise that McMahon was just trying to bring them close together.
“Adam and I now, we had got so freaked out from Vince’s monologue, we were sitting beside each other almost like cuddled like, ‘What the f*ck?! Yes, we understand. We will follow this to a tee. Thank you very much, boss.’ As time ticked on down the road, myself and Adam, we think Vince brought us in there and he tried to like freak us out to bond us together. Give us something to talk about and really like, we were on that page. Everything about that match was super professional.
But, Vince went crazy. He told us, ‘If you [have] ever seen a crippled person or person in a wheelchair, you want to eat them.’ That’s the quote. He said, ‘That is basic instincts, human psychology, us at our core.’ I swear to God, me and Adam have said many times since then, man. Maybe he just did that, to really try and give us something to talk about — how f*cking insane he was and that was the psychology behind that it helped bond us before that match,”
At SummerSlam, Edge was declared the winner of the match after the referee stopped the match. The feud continued until early October when Edge won a ‘Loser Leaves Raw’ Ladder Match, banishing his rival to SmackDown.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.