Though he has always been uber-popular when performing alongside his brother Jeff, Matt Hardy has recalled feeling frustrated at feeling second-best when on his own.
Matt Hardy has had enough of being constantly compared to his brother Jeff.
The two-time IMPACT World Champion detailed his feelings to co-host Jon Alba on the latest Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, explaining how frustrating it is to work as hard as he does, and still be compared to his sibling.
This was such an issue for Matt that, in 2002, he allegedly had to plead his case to Vince McMahon. Both Hardy brothers received a singles push at the same time during this period, though ‘The Charismatic Enigma’ got over more easily:
“Well, one thing for me that was very frustrating I think with WWE, it’s just, I had this very strange barometer, I feel like as a talent. Because on my own, very established, people do like me, over, trustworthy. Every time when I go out, you know, I’m going to produce every single week, I’m a hard worker. But there was like the standard that because Jeff was my brother and my partner, I feel like people always expected like, ‘Well, if he’s not as over as Jeff, then they, you know, we can’t use them in the same way.’
And that’s one of the things [that] was very frustrating. I remember, there was one point where, you know, I told Vince right when I first turned heel, and I was trying to get the opportunity back in 2002. And I said, ‘Look, I am very popular, Jeff is extremely popular. I know you think that Jeff is like 20 times, or 10 times more popular than I am. But I promise I am very popular on my own. And like, let me step out and let me have my own opportunity, and like, don’t judge me against Jeff, like judge me on my own.’
And I feel like that was always a sticking point with WWE, they always looked at it like Jeff is really over, Matt, not as much. Maybe it’s because of Jeff or whatever. But like I felt like I never got the credit of all the hard work and the equity that I created myself as far as being Matt Hardy, as far as being a talent that was over on his own.
And I wanted to be judged on my own, not being judged as the brother of Jeff Hardy because Jeff is like this anomaly that is like extremely popular, and extremely beloved, you know, so I always felt that was kind of like, I was swimming upstream in so many ways, because of that deal. Because of Jeff’s popularity, I was always compared to it. And it was always like a barometer to me, I felt like with the main office, especially with Vince.”
Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy have enjoyed mass success throughout the years, whether they were on the same or opposing sides of the squared circle. Arguably their greatest successes came together against The Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian in the Attitude Era, and subsequently as The Broken Hardys in IMPACT and ROH.
Both Hardy brothers are now signed to All Elite Wrestling, though Jeff Hardy is currently absent after being arrested for a DUI charge on Monday, 13 June. It’s reported he’ll return once his legal matters are resolved and he’s shown he can maintain sobriety.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy and link back to this article with a H/T to Inside The Ropes.