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Matt Hardy: Working in Ring of Honor 'more creatively fulfullling' than WWE

As his publicity tour for ROH's debut PPV Best in the World continues, the WWE legend compares the places he's worked, talks about where he sees his role in wrestling today, which of the WWE's recent cuts surprised him the most and why - and more!

Matt Hardy has been hard at work, promoting this Sunday's traditional pay-per-view (PPV) debut for Ring of Honor (ROH), Best in the World.

The former WWE legend and tag team innovator has been working with ROH for almost two years now, and his tenure with them and his breadth of experience at WWE, TNA, running his own independent promotion in North Caroline with his brother Jeff (OMEGA Championship Wrestling), put him in a unique position to comment on where ROH is right now - and compare them to other companies and especially the biggest pro wrestling company of them all, WWE.

And he did just that on the latest edition of Straight ShootAubrey Sitterson's wrestling talk show.  The whole interview is embedded below and is definitely worth a watch (Hardy was also a guest on David Shoemaker's Grantland podcast, Cheap Heat, this week).

On comparing working in ROH to WWE:

It's more creatively fulfilling for sure.  I pretty much have control of whatever I want to do from a creative aspect.  I'm kind of pitched a direction that the company or the story is going, and I get to build the layers on top of it.

In WWE, now more than ever - and I think it bleeds through to a lot of the performers - you can see that there's a Hollywood writer who writes lines and gives this person a specific couple of sentences to say and you can tell sometimes it doesn't seem natural coming from them.

Now what I'm doing, I turn the volume up, I use my time in WWE against the ROH fans in many, many ways and it's just fun and I feel like it has a great sense of authenticity to it because it is something I can believe in.

Sitterson also asked Matt to specifically compare in-ring work in the famously fast-paced and spot heavy ROH to other places he's worked:

The way I look at it, these guys wrestle an extremely athletic style and for me, if I'm looking to be the 'bad guy', I'm not tyring to do anything to elicit cheers.  So to go to the ring and be in that role of he heel or the bad guy for me - it's actually pretty easy, and I enjoy it, because I can kind of be a basic wrestler.  I don't have to do the stuff that beat my body up for so many years...I go out there with the mind set I'm not trying to prove myself or prove my athleticism.  I'm out there trying to get over the context and the entire segment and especially the good guy that I'm across the ring from.

That also leads to a discussion where Hardy talks about basic wrestling psychology (and intimates that ROH and the indies could use more of it), and also reveals his insight into the arc of his career and where he fits in the pro wrestling scene today:

I was always in the role where I had to take chances, had to take big bumps, had to do exciting moves, had to go through table, off I'm just more of a meat and potatoes guy there [ROH] and that's the role I need to play.

Ring of Honor actually needs more guys like that, because I think when it's all said and done, you can have great wrestlers that do amazing, athletic contests that dirt sheets might say, 'Oh my God! That was five stars! It was so incredible!', but you have to have a bad guy who is going to emotionally get the fans connected to them and say 'I want to see this guy get his ass whipped'.

And right now, I pride myself on being that guy.

It's a traditional view that has been espoused recently by Jim Ross, too, so it's not groundbreaking.  But it is humble and insightful, which isn't something you'd have expected from a guy who was YouTubing fake suicide notes a few years back.

v1 also shares another perspective with an industry legend on the recent WWE cuts.  The name that surprised him the most was Drew McIntyre, and like Chris Jericho, he wonders if 3MB wasn't his downfall.

Drew is extremely talented and very gifted... he can do everything, he just got caught up in the three man band thing and they kind of sent him down a certain path and when you're there you sometimes kind of catch a bad break.

It's definitely worth your time to give the whole thing a watch, as he goes into more detail about heat in wrestling today, talks about whether he thinks Christian should or would leave WWE, his own future in the industry and more.

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