Matt Hardy made his debut for AEW on Wednesday's AEW Dynamite, appearing at the end of the show as the surprise partner for The Elite. Hardy let his WWE contract expire at the beginning of March, making him a free agent.
Hardy has been very outspoken about his desire to be fulfilled creatively in wrestling and, as he explained on Talk is Jericho with Chris Jericho, AEW gave him the best opportunity to find fulfillment.
"It got to the point where WWE has so many talents under contract. And the reason they have these talents under contract is because they don't want anyone else having people that can move the needle or make a difference," said Hardy. "So, they're trying to scoop up all the talent across the globe as far as monopolizing the business. Once AEW started, it was another place that had a great TV show, star power, it allowed other options. I could have stayed at WWE. They tried very hard to sign me, they offered me very good money. But I know my role would have been minimized. For me, more important than money, is to totally utilize my creativity. I want to enjoy it. I want to be driven and feel the passion I have for this. I want to be creative and want to have fun. In WWE, a lot of times they suck the fun out of things because it's become such a business and you just become a cog in the machine. To me, it wasn't about being a cog in the machine and making X amount of dollars. It was about enjoying what I was doing and enjoying every single second I have left doing this. AEW turned out to be the best case scenario for me."
Hardy's criticisms of lack of freedom in WWE are nothing new from ex-WWE superstars who are now elsewhere. Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley have both expressed their frustrations about being "shackled" by the WWE structure.
When asked by Jericho about the differences between WWE and AEW, Hardy replied, "Such a laid back atmosphere. I knew the majority of people working there. The one thing I really noticed is, 'Hey, I'm thinking about doing this.' 'That sounds great.' As opposed to like, 'Well, we've got to ask so and so and then ask so and so, and he's gotta ask Vince.' It made it super easy. I did some promos and vignettes at the end of the night and I said, 'This is what I'm thinking of saying, sound cool?' They were like, ' Sounds cool.' And I did it. It was very easy and very refreshing to not have any kind of restraints on you. Just go and be creative and do your thing and do you. Nobody does themselves better than them."
Hardy is expected to join The Elite in Blood & Guts against The Inner Circle. The match is scheduled to take place on the next episode of AEW Dynamite, though it is up in the air as to whether the show will happen next Wednesday.
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