Matt Hardy Says Complex Stories With Nuance Are Rewarding For Fans, Addresses ‘Wrestlers Ignoring TV Cameras’ Trope
Matt Hardy is evolving, and one way you’ll see his character grow is the way he tells a story, not just the gimmick he’s using.
Hardy spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of AEW Revolution, where he will compete with “Hangman” Adam Page in a Big Money Match. In the past, Hardy was vocal about wanting to see wrestling adapt a stronger form of deep storytelling. At the time, he used examples like Game Of Thrones and Breaking Bad as shows that did things correctly, and said that wrestling could (and should) take cues from television shows to add a more dramatic take.
When asked if he thinks wrestling is near his goal of seeing long-form storytelling in wrestling, Hardy says fans are seeing those payoffs now to both complex and subtle storylines and it’s very rewarding.
“I’ve always been an advocate of long-term storytelling. I’ve also been a big advocate of very detailed, subtle storytelling. And that’s one of the things that I’ve loved so much about this story with myself and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page. There’s a lot of things that we have left to the viewer to figure out. Much like if you’re watching some show, like if you’d watch a Game of Thrones, it’s one of those deals where, in Game of Thrones, you have to watch every single step, every scene, catch every detail because there’s a lot of things that will be called back later on and if you weren’t paying attention, you didn’t get it,” Hardy explained, “and that’s kinda like what we’re trying to portray from a pro wrestling storytelling standpoint in myself and Hangman Adam Page.”
“It’s been fun and I think it’s been cool, and even like, just recently I went back to explain part of the story online, which I did myself to clue people in if they weren’t following. Because I just feel like for the longest time—and I know WWE, they are big believers in it—you almost have to hammer the audience over the head. It just has to be simplified, it has to be a very easy story to follow and I feel like we’re at the point where there’s so much great entertainment out there, pro wrestling audience really is a niche audience in many many ways,” Hardy said, “and you do wanna do things that are going to attract casual fans in. But I think the people who have been watching, who have been watching long-term, I think you need to reward them by telling these stories that are intelligent, long stories that also have subtle details that they have to pay attention to.”
Matt Hardy DOES. NOT. LIE. pic.twitter.com/1DoLnQBjbK
— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) February 25, 2021
As a follow-up to his response, Hardy was asked if he’d agree with the analogy that stories can be simple enough for kids with details peppered in for adults, similar to some Disney movie humor. Hardy said it’s a fair assessment, noting that kids will know who the good guys and bad guys are right away, but nuance is used
“I feel like kids who are watching, they’re gonna say, ‘This guy’s probably the bad guy, that guy’s the good guy, I wanna see my good guy win’, you know, kids aren’t going to get too thoroughly into it. They kinda want to understand a little bit of what’s going on,” Hardy said, “but I feel you can still tell these more complex stories that have nuance and have twists and turns in it.”
Hardy also addressed the trope of wrestlers ignoring the television cameras in the past, acting surprised weeks later when they “realized” things that the audience saw already. Hardy how that details like that are very important today because of the rapid evolution of video and media, and why his character has mentioned it.
“I love the idea of me setting Adam Page up to sign a contract where he’s going to get 30 percent and I’m trying to act like I’m his friend and I really care and I’m trying to take advantage of him,” Hardy said, “but yet he’s still the smart babyface and he outsmarts me and switches out the contract. But then I’m the smart heel and I catch up to what he’s done because I actually watched the show back, you know?”
“And I feel like that’s something too that is very important in this day and age. Like in real life, if that happened in a scenario, at some point, this talent that got screwed over, they would see it back on video footage because everything’s documented in this day and age. I’ve enjoyed this kind of storytelling and I’m very excited,” Hardy explained, “very hyped for this match. I feel like this is going to be the Matt Hardy that I probably should have started AEW with, when it was all said and done, that shows up at Revolution.”
I appreciate the good hands like Shaq & Tully Blanchard who really stepped up. You’re welcome for tonight’s epic show, @AEW fans.
CASUAL FANS LOVE ME! pic.twitter.com/Wz6r427r7a
— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) March 4, 2021