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Matt Hardy Reflects on WWE Departure and Feud with Randy Orton Before AEW Debut

As wrestling aficionados, we’re always interested when a performer looks back on their careers and gives us a glimpse behind the curtain. AEW’s Matt Hardy has provided such an opportunity, reflecting on his final WWE storyline—a rivalry with Randy Orton that led up to his departure in March 2020.

Hardy’s retrospect comes from his podcast, “Extreme Life of Matt Hardy,” where he dove into the details of his last WWE run. The feud kicked off in February 2020, sparked by Orton’s heinous attack on Edge. It saw the “Viper” extend his violent tendencies towards Hardy. While fans were robbed of a formal match between the two, the segments were memorable — highly praised by none other than Vince McMahon.

Delving into the specifics, Hardy shared, “The segment Vince loved the segments so much, he loved the interaction, he loved our character work, and apparently it did a decent number, too.” The story was intended to write Hardy off WWE television. Despite the turbulent storyline, Hardy recounted with fondness his interactions with Orton, particularly the promo where he stood up for Edge, leading to a “conchairto” attack that effectively ended his time in WWE.

The narrative twist had a deeper layer; it seemed WWE dangled a lucrative bone — a re-sign offer potentially sweetened by a storyline involving “The Fiend,” Bray Wyatt. Yet Hardy’s journey was on a different course, as he soon debuted on AEW Dynamite with his iconic “Broken” gimmick. Fans vividly recall the March 18 episode, which marked a new chapter for the charismatic enigma in the world of professional wrestling.

Meanwhile, Orton’s own journey continued in WWE, returning dramatically at Survivor Series for the WarGames match and engaging in his first singles bout in over a year against Dominik Mysterio on Raw.

In a touching turn, we’ve seen Matt Riddle openly react to Orton’s praise of Hardy, reflecting on the positive times they shared as the successful tag team RK-Bro. This sentiment captures the respect and camaraderie that often bonds wrestlers, transcending on-screen rivalries and character work.

It’s these intersections of real emotions and ring storylines that remind us of the intricacies at the heart of pro wrestling — where scripted battles sow the seeds of genuine respect and friendships.

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(Transcript provided by Inside the Ropes)

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