Vince McMahon once threatened to fire two top Superstars if things between them got out of hand, warning that neither man would work in wrestling again if they disobeyed him.
The SummerSlam clash between Edge and Matt Hardy was one of the most anticipated WWE matches in a number of years. While there had been matches featuring bigger stars on bigger stages, those bouts didn’t have that little something extra that this one did. Genuine, real-life anger and animosity.
Not only did friends turned enemies Matt Hardy and Edge really not like each other, the reason why had played out very publicly in the months leading to the match. Earlier in the year Hardy had revealed that his long-time partner Lita had been having an affair with the Rated R Superstar.
Hardy’s conduct over the matter led to him being released, although he quickly returned setting up the match at SummerSlam.
Speaking on his podcast, The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy, the star recalled Vince McMahon sitting down with himself and Edge to lay down the law ahead of the match. McMahon explained as only he could that in no uncertain terms were the pair to take liberties with each other, or try and legitimately hurt each other in the ring. If they did, as the most powerful man in wrestling, he would make sure they never worked again.
“Vince McMahon in his mind, he was worried there’s going to be tension between myself and Edge. So he called us into his office and he was going to sit us down and talk to us, and also let us know how he wanted the finish of this match to go specifically, in detail. So we walk into the room, and we were getting along good at this time. You know, there were moments where there was some tension, obviously. But Vince was going to talk to us both and make sure to lay down the law, so to say.
So I remember myself and Adam, we go we sit in there, there’s a couch across from his chair, and we’re sitting on opposite ends of the couch. You know, there’s probably four feet between us. We’re sitting and the first thing Vince says, he says, ‘Adam, Matt, you know, the WWE is my company, right?’ He says, ‘You know that this event, SummerSlam, is my event that I created, right? We both go, ‘Yes.’ He says, ‘You know that I have rented this venue for the night, right? So this is basically my arena. Do you understand that?’ We go, ‘Yes.’ He said, you know, that wrestling ring out there? That is my wrestling ring. Do you understand that?’
He said, ‘I’m going to tell you about this right now. If either one of you go out there tonight and try and take liberties with each other, if you try and intentionally hurt one another, I am the most powerful man in this industry. I promise you neither one of you will ever work a day in this industry again. Do you understand?’ We go, ‘Yeah, sure. ‘We understand,'”
As the story continued, Hardy also revealed that McMahon used a bizarre analogy to explain the psychology of the match and how he wanted to go. The former Chairman descended into a monologue about human instinct, and how it was only natural to want to eat anyone that you saw in a wheelchair.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.