Matt Hardy, Edge and Lita were part of one of the most interesting, controversial and unique angles to come along in pro wrestling for many moons. Sadly, it came screeching to a halt the night Vince McMahon, in kayfabe, hired Matt back to Raw.
The moment Matt Hardy climbed out of McMahon’s limo and they shook hands, the angle lost all of its appeal. Then, after the Edge/Hardy debacle at SummerSlam, I thought for sure the magic was gone. All that was left was another mid-card feud that offered nothing more than filler before the main event.
TODAY’S ISSUE: I’m interested in Hardy vs. Edge again.
But all that changed for me on Monday the 29th of August. When the announce crew ran down the card, I didn’t have high hopes for the Matt Hardy vs. Edge street fight. In fact, I was sure it would be another bad chapter in a story in which I’d already lost interest. “They’re going to continue beating that dead horse…” I thought to myself.
However, from the moment Lita taunted Matt as an “errand” she was running for Edge, I felt the angle was rejuvenated. Lita asked Matt how it feels to know he will never get to touch her again, taunting him while removing her jacket, revealing a skimpy top that left little to the imagination. Matt struggled slightly to compose himself, and when Lita told him he could go to Hell, he responded, “Oh, I’m going to Hell alright, but I’m not going alone. I’m taking Edge with me!” I found myself cheering for Matt again right then and there.
I also expected Edge’s attitude to be one of disinterest, as in “I destroyed him last week at SummerSlam, what else do I need to do to him?” Instead Copeland showed some real fire, claiming that he would finish what he started, and that the only reason “Matt Hardy will not die” is that Edge hasn’t taken Matt’s final breath from him yet. He assured the viewing audience, however, that he would indeed be taking said last breath from Matt during their street fight later that night. This was very intense, and it piqued my interest in the match that much more.
By the time they hit the ring, I was excited to see where the story would go. For a while, the match seemed to focus on selling the “Matt Hardy will not die” concept. Hardy absorbed tons of punishment, but kept fighting on. JR even quoted Hardy’s new t-shirt a couple of times on commentary. Edge continued to pound on Matt, until Hardy finally gained the upper hand on the edge of the stage.
The huge bump they took off the stage into the gimmicked electrical equipment was over the top, of course, but it served as a big development to take the story to the next chapter. I don’t think their SummerSlam match can make the same claim, although having Matt lose to Rob Conway the next night on Raw did seem to establish just how damaged Hardy was after being TKO’d the night before in his brief-but-bloody battle with Edge. I’m not sure how well they continued that story during the street fight, but they did get over that Matt would do anything to himself in order to hurt Edge. I dig that intensity. In the storylines, Edge stole Matt’s woman while Matt was home recuperating from an injury, and when Matt went public about it, the company fired Matt for “airing dirty laundry”. You’d better believe Matt would be intense, and want to sacrifice his body to injure Edge.
Now, intensity and storyline advancement work very well for me as a fan. *However, I found it offensive and insulting when the announcers used their Owen Hart voice in an attempt to sell the seriousness of the big bump from the stage.
I’m anxious to see how they continue this saga, especially after reading Matt Hardy’s comments in a Q & A that SummerSlam was “Chapter One” of a five-part story between he and Edge, and that fans should wait and see what happens next.
*The Owen Hart voice of course refers to the way JR and King reacted when Owen tragically fell to his death live on pay-per-view on May 23, 1999. The King left the announce position to check on Owen, while JR spoke in the most serious voice he’d ever used. Of course, neither was playing a role at that moment. When the King returned to the announce table, he was white as a sheet and could barely talk. This was understandable, because a friend and coworker had just died right in front of him.
But when Edge and Hardy took their big bump last week on Raw, which was obviously planned and staged unlike Owen’s accident, King and Coach left the broadcast position to attend to the two wounded gladiators. It was inappropriate and insulting that they would try to make Edge and Hardy’s planned fall seem as grave as Owen Hart’s death was.
J.R. and King used the same serious tone in 2001 when Right To Censor “injured” Chyna’s neck via a Val Venis/Ivory spike piledriver during the build to the Ivory/Chyna Women’s Championship match at the Royal Rumble. Chyna even cut an interview with JR discussing her injuries while wearing a neck brace, in which she had tears in her eyes. RTC later mocked that interview, and were uber-heels for making light of the “career-threatening” injury they’d inflicted.
Chyna was dominant against Ivory at the Rumble, until she attempted a handspring back elbow and immediately sold the neck injury again upon impact with Ivory. A battered Ivory snuck in for the quick pin and then split, but the bigger story was Chyna’s health. Lying on the mat awaiting the EMTs, she had a horrified look in her eyes, as if afraid for her health. Again, The King abandoned his broadcast position to assist the “wounded” grappler as JR went right back to his Owen Hart voice. This routine is so detestable, it’s embarrassing that these professionals would consider it a good idea when they want to take an angle to the next level.
I can almost picture Vince telling JR to “do the Owen thing” on commentary. It’s hideous and highly objectionable to anyone who remembers that horrible night in Kansas City. This is one of the few things that embarrasses me as a pro wrestling fan: nothing is sacred. They’ll say or do ANYTHING to sell an angle and make money.
Still, I’m really enjoying the Edge vs. Matt Hardy feud again, and that’s what I intended to write about this week, before I got off on a bit of a tangent. My apologies…
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.
p.s. – When vacuuming, why do people keep running over a string a dozen times, then reach down and pick it up to examine it, then put it back down to give the vacuum one more chance?