Matt Hardy And Chris Jericho Reveal Original Plans For Hardy's AEW Debut With Vanguard 1

After weeks of speculation, Matt Hardy arrived in All Elite Wrestling last Wednesday on Dynamite. Hardy allowed his WWE contract to expire on Mar. 2, making him a free agent. For weeks on social media it was teased that Hardy would be revealed as The Exalted One, but that role ended up going to Brodie Lee, formerly Luke Harper in WWE.

Instead, Hardy debuted as a surprise partner for The Elite in their battle against the Inner Circle.

Speaking to Chris Jericho on Talk Is Jericho, Hardy discussed how the debut, which happened on a closed set at Daily's Place in Jacksonville, FL, came about.

"I was extremely excited and pumped about debuting in Rochester, especially being a double debut. You get Brodie Lee and Matt Hardy. Evil Uno and the Dark Order guys did a great job playing into the smart fans as far as 'Maybe Matt Hardy is The Exalted One.' AEW, the people that book it, did really well with that concept also. I feel like with the diehard audience as they get larger and smarter, our job is to keep them guessing. I thought we did a good job at keeping them guessing. A lot of people thought I was going to AEW, but they didn't know what my role would be. That's what I wanted to keep them guessing on. It was still a home run in an empty arena, but considering the reaction we got from the TV audience, I was very happy. I felt like I did my job," he said.

Hardy's debut included Vanguard 1 making a fly-in appearance as Chris Jericho cut a promo from the top of the stage. During the conversation between Hardy and Jericho, Jericho revealed that had they been filming in Rochester, the debut would have happened a bit differently.

"Had we been in Rochester, we weren't allowed to fly Vanguard in the arena. The actual airport rules, for some reason, we couldn't fly a drone in there. We would have had to do it from the outside, which would have been fine, but when it was happening, I couldn't see it or hear it, they just kept telling me to stretch, so I'm just talking. Finally, Matt Jackson goes, 'Hey, look at this' and I'm thinking, 'Finally, it's there.' Had there been 6,000 people, somebody would have seen it prior, pointed, and there would have been that reaction. But with nobody there, it was strange because there's nothing until 'there it is,'" said Jericho.

Hardy continued, saying, "Originally, the drone was going to fly back to me and we were gonna get a beauty shot, but that didn't happen. So, I went live, it was an audible."

Jericho was surprised to learn about Vanguard 1 flying back to Hardy, saying, "I had no idea it was supposed to fly back to you. That's one of the great things about AEW. As over-rehearsed as WWE can be, you know every single thing. In AEW, sometimes that stuff slips through the cracks and you're forced to improv, which is kinda what the essence of what wrestling is."

Hardy and Jericho are set to meet in a face-to-face confrontation on Wednesday's episode of AEW Dynamite.

Fightful will have live coverage of Dynamite beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

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