Matt Hardy left WWE to sign for WWE in 2020, ending a three-year run on his return to the company.
As one half of The Hardy Boyz, Matt Hardy spent the best part of two decades in WWE, perform in a wide variety of roles.
Whether it be his ECW Championship run, his real-life feud with Edge or his multiple TLC matches alongside his brother, it was never a dull moment for Matt Hardy.
However, he left WWE in 2020 to sign for AEW, becoming one of the first big WWE stars to make the jump over to the promotion.
But why did Matt Hardy leave WWE to sign with AEW? In this article, we’ll go through all the reasons why Matt Hardy rejected the WWE to move to Tony Khan’s promotion.
Why Did Matt Hardy Leave WWE?
Vince McMahon Didn’t See Him As A Wrestler
Matt Hardy revealed that Vince McMahon wanted to move him backstage, as a producer, and no longer be a wrestler in the WWE.
Speaking with the Daily Mail in 2023, Matt Hardy claimed that the writing was on the wall, and that Vince McMahon didn’t consider him a wrestler any more.
He wanted to keep wrestling and not be confined to a backstage role, so rejected the WWE and joined up with AEW in March 2020.
“I think Vince had already made up his mind. He wanted me to make the transition into being a producer and that’s where he saw me at. So, I knew as long as he was in charge he’s ultimately going to get you there, because that’s just how this is. “
“If Vince sees you in a certain light or certain way, and that’s where he wants he’s gonna get you there. You know they threw some big offers on the table saying myself and Jeff, we can do something with Bray, and they, you know they were trying to appease me in different ways and whatnot, and give me something that would be satisfying.”
“But I knew Vince was ultimately going to move me off being a wrestler and move me backstage, and I just wasn’t ready to do that yet.”
He Didn’t Want To Work In NXT
Before leaving WWE, Matt Hardy was offered the chance to work in NXT.
Triple H was the head of the brand at that point, and had built it into a “super indie” show.
They had gone head-to-head with AEW (and lost) in the Wednesday Night Wars, and Vince McMahon wanted a change in the promotion.
This included more main roster stars going down to work, which is what Triple H wanted Matt Hardy to do in NXT.
Speaking with The Daily Mail, Matt Hardy revealed that he turned down the chance to wrestle in NXT, instead signing with AEW.
“[Triple] H gave me a very generous offer to wrestle in NXT and do some [of] my Broken Matt. Maybe give me a little bit of a stable, and then [I would] still be able to supplement that by being a backstage producer with WWE.”
“If it would have been the era where Triple H was in charge, I could have ended up saying then, ‘Maybe.’ But it was the right call for me to leave and step out to AEW.”
Matt Hardy Joined AEW Because Of Their Easier Schedule
Matt Hardy called AEW his “best job ever”, in a reply to a fan on Twitter explaining why he left WWE for AEW.
The fan was discussing the current work schedule of Matt Hardy, describing how Hardy has more time for his children than ever before.
The Broken One agreed, revealing he only works one day per week and has more time with his kids “than most parents”.
“Work 1 day a week, with exception of PPV weeks/4 times a year. I can take any 3rd party booking I want. Best job I’ve ever had. Chose @AEW cuz I believe in their vision & it allows the most time with my family. My kids have more time with me than most parents. They’re my life,
He Was Friends With The Young Bucks
AEW founders The Young Bucks were a big factor in Matt Hardy rejecting WWE to sign with AEW.
Alongside his brother Jeff, Matt Hardy wrestled the Young Bucks in Ring of Honor, the night before his WrestleMania 33 return.
They remained friends over the years, and their inclusion was one of the reasons Matt Hardy left WWE for AEW.
He also cited creative freedom as another reason, in a recent interview on the Chris Van Vliet Show.
“So I made up my mind that I needed to go somewhere else, and AEW was the best-case scenario because the Young Bucks – I’m great friends with those guys – and here’s there’s just such a refreshing creative liberty and creative freedom where you have input and you really have a hand in the direction of your career goes in.”Matt Hardy on friendship with the Young Bucks
What did you think about Matt Hardy leaving AEW? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.