Free from the shackles of WWE tyranny, Matt Hardy has suddenly started to sound like the dirtsheet writers he loved to bash on Twitter and YouTube just four months ago. In an interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal's Phil Strum to hype his main event appearance next week on a Northeast Wrestling show, Matt was surprisingly candid about the issues of concussions in the wrestling business and WWE's gruelling road schedule. Matt talked about a concussion epidemic within WWE and even noted the same hypocrisy of WWE banning chair shots to the head while still promoting a Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV that Irv Muchnick has noted regularly in the past:
So much of a big deal was made of the concussion thing. I was in the meeting where the no-chairshots thing was brought up. Over the past year, I think like 32 or 36 wrestlers had concussions. It's not that the chairshots are going to help, but the reason they banned them is because perception was reality. There is a way to do them that was somewhat safe. Most concussions I know of in wrestling weren't caused by chairshots. Then you have the situation with Jeff and Mr. Anderson where that concussion was caused by a bad chairshot. Yet, WWE still does TLC pay-per-views. And after the pay-per-view, you have two nights of television. They have to be careful about not setting a double-standard.
More amazingly, when calling for WWE wrestlers to get more time off for their own health and wellbeing, Matt sounded like his arch nemesis Wade Keller of the Pro Wrestling Spark newsletter, who has been the most vociferous champion of that cause in the professional wrestling community in what seems like forever:
One thing I do agree with is that it would be great if they cycled everyone off. If they could find a way to cycle talent off for six to eight weeks and still paid them and not made them want to come back and be bloodthirsty for a payday, it would be beneficial.
Times when I was injured or hurt, whether I was healing my abdominal injury or I had my appendectomy and I was home, the rest of my body heals up. But then you get back on the road for three or four months, and it's back to the way it was, year after year. I really think WWE is backing themselves into a tough corner with a really tough schedule. They ask more of the guys, but they don't give them more. They just work you so hard. It's so much more pressurized than ever before. It's just so nice to have freedom and be able to heal. They need to find a way to give guys six to eight weeks off at a time. It would really help out the business. I heard that John Cena just recently got hurt. I saw the video online. And I know that Randy Orton and Edge and Kane are all pretty physically beaten up. You're working night in and night out and that's where creative would be more important than anything else. To stick to the story and keep some guys off TV.
Of course, when talking about Jeff Hardy's recent admission of guilt in a plea bargain over drug charges, his bad habit of reflexively bashing the Internet reared its ugly head again:
There's definitely a lot more to everything than meets the eye. I hate it for Jeff. So many people jump to conclusions and that's where information and the Internet can be somewhat of a negative. With the Internet having such a strength, a snowball effect becomes a full-fledged storm.
Well, we can't expect miracles to happen overnight, but this is still a promising sign that his insanity of 2010 may have passed with the dawning of a New Year and he's turned over a new leaf for 2011. Chael Sonnen should take note.