Matt Hardy believes AEW has pushed Vince McMahon to make decisions he normally wouldn't make.
WWE is opening the forbidden door on Saturday at the Royal Rumble as Mickie James, the reigning IMPACT Knockouts Champion, will return to the company to compete in the women's Royal Rumble. James is a legend in wrestling, but many were surprised that she was announced as one of the thirty participants in the Royal Rumble.
Speaking on the Wrestling Perspective podcast, Hardy weighed in on McMahon making a decision that caught fans off guard.
"It really shows how much AEW is changing and causing the business to evolve in many capacities," he said. "Vince McMahon is so protective of his IP and the WWE and because AEW has been as hot as it is, whenever Dynamite started, he took NXT and said, 'I'm not really worried. If we have to sacrifice NXT, it's fine, let's put them head to head.' With the Wednesday Night Wars, AEW won that, and Vince McMahon specifically put that NXT head-to-head against AEW to try and cut into the audience and try to slow us down from gaining any momentum on his Raw and SmackDown viewerships. That was his initial mindset behind it. Once we started...Tony was working with other places with IMPACT, you had guys coming from New Japan, NWA, it really made it so compelling and interesting to watch. You wanted to tune in every single week. Besides the great action and great All Elite Wrestling talent, you never knew who could show up. This appearance of Mickie James in the Royal Rumble, I feel like Vince was pushed to do this because now he has to continue to keep up with AEW and how they are unpredictable and how you never know who is going to show up. I feel if there's no AEW, if there's no forbidden door, Vince doesn't do that and doesn't bring outside talent into the Royal Rumble. It's great for the business in general because it has pushed Vince to change. I feel most people would agree with me on this. Vince and WWE became stagnant over all those years where there was no competition and he wasn't pushed."
In an interview with Sam Roberts, James commented that she believes her appearance had less to do with the Knockouts Championship and more to do with her being Mickie James. You can find her full comments by clicking here.
Hardy is currently signed to AEW, where he just sold 51% of the Hardy Family Office to Andrade. You can learn more about the storyline by clicking here.
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