Till My Head Falls Off: What Next for Matt Hardy on RAW?

The following column was originally posted on TheWrestlingBlog. Please feel free to email any comments to Matthew Michael at this address or post them on the blog… Oh, and note: this was written before WWE.com posted that Kane had been arrested, which may be a hint of where the storyline is going next. With Kane “arrested” and Lita “injured,” perhaps they’ve got something interesting in the cards…

So I’ve loved the build up so far, the run-ins from the crowd, and the Internet play … but where does the Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita(/Kane?) story go next?

With Matt’s WWE on-screen character being “someone who was fired and who’s not authorized to be here,” they can’t simply have Bischoff come out and make a match. They also can’t keep having him do run-ins and getting arrested. And they really can’t try to explain the entire situation within detailed “WWE TV storylines” that last saw Matt on TV in August 2004 getting injured at the hands of Kane during the Black Wedding (10 months off of TV in WWE time is like several years).

James Caldwell at PWTorch, who has been doing a great job churning out a column a day lately, brings up some great points; one of which I’d like to quickly address here. The next logical step within WWE kayfabe — a step that, if one stretches the imagination, could be possible in “real life” — is to have Bischoff or Vince come out, address Matt Hardy’s run-ins, and invite him to television to speak his mind.

Why would they do this? Well, aside from avoiding litigation, they can arrange it so that he could only come back if he promised to stop interfering in their TV broadcasts.

And why would Matt agree? He’d be given time on WWE TV on his terms. Sound a bit like what’s really been going on? Yeah, thought you might like that.

In real life: Matt gets injured, fired, loses his girlfriend, makes a big stink about it, gets tremendous fan support, and WWE hires him back because they recognize the fans want him there, so it’s good business … but they likely hired him back with Matt having a ton of leverage. His terms? Being able to work the indies, say what he wants, and get put over Edge at some point down the road, most likely coming out looking stronger than he had ever been before in his WWE singles career.

On WWE TV: Matt loses his girlfriend, gets injured, dissappears/gets fired, comes back 10 months later making illegal run-ins to attack Edge, his former good friend who is currently with his ex-turned-slut. In order to get control over the situation and stop the run-ins, WWE agrees to bring Matt back, but of course, Matt has all the leverage. His terms? A streetfight with Edge at Summerslam, and possibly a chance to get his revenge on Kane as well.

A couple of quick points:

– In order to really put over the “real” aspects of this, Vince McMahon should be the one to come out and “put a stop to the nonsense” and confront Hardy. In fact, Vince can even do one of those “do you guys want me to give Matt a chance to speak/fight?” to the crowd, as if he’s “letting Matt back reluctantly because the fans demand it.” The problem with Bischoff doing it is it’s a bit less “real,” and the problem with Johnny Ace doing it is it’s a bit TOO “real” (since as far as mainstream fans go, Johnny Ace is one of the guys that breaks up fights, not anyone with any real authority).

– Vince or Bischoff should make Matt have to beat KANE before he gets his match with Edge. It allows Matt to get his revenge on the man who originally stole his girlfriend away — or to form some sort of alliance with Kane, since Matt’s really angry at Lita, who “played both of us the whole damn time.” Plus, it makes him “earn” it.

– For as long as possible, they should really let Matt have free reign on the mic, and come across as as much of a rebel as possible. Keeping his indie dates is one thing; but TALKING about them is another. Pushing the envelope is one thing; but actually letting Matt SHOOT (within reason) is key. Plus, any cursing, bleeped or not, they can throw into the mix … and any out-of-character remarks from J.R. & Co. they can add will only add to the realism of it all. Heck, I’d even find a way to get Jeff, Shannon Moore, Shane Helms, or even some ROH guys a role in this.

This could be huge for all parties involved, and has already made an impact on how WWE presents storylines, both on the air and online. I’m personally looking forward to seeing how this all plays out (and am willing to give them all the benefit of the doubt until it does, rather than nitpick). But hey, that is just my opinion on the matter…

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