On June 25, during the late hours of Friday night and early Saturday morning, Matt Hardy was filmed running ropes and taking back bumps in his wrestling ring. When most would be resting to catch an early flight to the next house show, Matt Hardy was rigorously training inside the BCR Dome, located just outside his million dollar home in Cameron, North Carolina.
Matt Hardy took a moment between bumps to boldly state, “By the end of 2010, I will be the hottest product in sports entertainment. Scratch that, pro-wrestling. Bank on it.”
The statement, posted on his YouTube channel, is amongst a series of videos reassuring fans that 2010 will witness the culmination of his career. But can Matt Hardy emerge from mid-card slump to full-fledged WWE World Champion?
Though inspiring, Hardy’s goal is highly unlikely because SmackDown’s main-event card is already filled with the star power of The Undertaker, Kane, Rey Mysterio Jr., Jack Swagger, and C.M. Punk.
And besides, Matt Hardy has had a hard enough time trying to surpass the young up and coming superstars. Most recently, Vince McMahon sided with Drew McIntyre and suspended the 10-year veteran who was justly exacting retribution for the weeks of vicious beatings.
Regardless, after being reinstated by General Manager Theodore Long and defeating Drew McIntyre in a match, the chapter of Drew McIntyre, according to Matt Hardy, is “done, finished, finito.” Thus, leaving Matt with only one “gold” left to accomplish, to win the World Title that has eluded him for over a decade.
Reasons like Matt Hardy isn’t champion because of the politics, or because Vince McMahon likes big guys, or Matt Hardy hasn’t been given enough chances may have something to do with it, but it isn’t the reason. Matt Hardy’s greatest affliction has been his emotional persona. He usually has found a way to cope with his inner demons but at the expense of moving forward.
Unfortunately, Matt Hardy’s emotions have mostly been triggered by his baby brother, Jeff Hardy. And throughout his 10-year-long career, the formula for a successful Matt Hardy has been time away from his brother.
When Jeff was released from WWE in 2003, Matt Hardy dubbed himself “Matt Hardy: Version 1,” became WWE Cruiserweight Champion, and successfully defended it against Rey Mysterio Jr. during his first singles match at WrestleMania XIX.
Then years later, when Jeff was suspended for 30-days and forced to miss WrestleMania XXIV, Matt Hardy shocked the world when he resurfaced in WWE to prevent MVP from winning the Money in the Bank ladder match. Matt Hardy’s feud with MVP picked up where it last left off, resulting in him winning the WWE United States Championship. His first solo title since the days of “The Mattitude Era.”
So was this the rise of Version 2?
Despite impressive runs with the United States and the defunct-ECW Championships, Jeff’s escalation as the company’s WWE Champion emotionally side-tracked Matt away from his goals, yet again.
It would not be until suffering from a hernia that Matt Hardy was able to find solace in his brother’s success. Whether it was the knowledge of Jeff choosing not to re-sign with WWE, or if he truly meant it, Matt Hardy is once again on his own in the WWE, which means the greatest run of his career is imminent.
Although, before 2010 ends, Matt Hardy will have to reinvent himself from the ground up. Possibly a run with the Intercontinental Title is in order, or even forcibly inserting himself within main-event matches to make his bold statement of becoming the hottest product in pro-wrestling a reality.