Posted by Chris SurrencyThe year was 2005, the wrestling industry firmly belonged to WWE, and we were in the little transition period where things were no longer the Attitude Era but weren’t quite into the PG Era yet either. The business was nowhere near it’s peak, but it was still holding a pretty large fan base and many of the most popular stars were still around. This is also the year that we saw what I still believe to be the greatest “worked-shoot” storyline in the history of pro wrestling. CM Punk has had his moments, the Austin “taking his ball and going home” deal was pretty big, but in regard to connecting with the fans, nothing was better than the love triangle between Matt Hardy, Edge, and Lita. This one storyline alone was great enough to catapult Edge into the main event character he became and played so well for so many years. What could have been a great way to turn two upper mid-card singles stars and tag team standouts into two of the most prominent main event workers in the business feel short on one side of the coin. I’ve always been, and always will be, a Matt Hardy fan, but he wasn’t able to sustain what should have been the biggest push of his career during this time. That being said, I also don’t believe it was all his fault, in fact I believe more of the blame falls with the booking crew over Matt himself on this one. The storyline had everything needed to make for compelling television, cheating, lying, betrayal, and one man losing everything while his former friend is getting it all handed to him. You couldn’t help by pay attention to it, and if you had ever had your hear broken you just HAD to cheer for Matt and hope that he would prevail.
We all know, Matt and Lita were a legit couple, they were the Randy and Liz of their era. They were the couple that everyone loved and everyone wanted to see pull through against all odds. Unfortunately while Matt was on the shelf nursing an injury, and apparently working on a much darker gimmick to return with, Lita and Edge hit the roads with one another. As legend has it, while out together Lita and Edge started to develop a relationship with one another behind Matts back, and while Edge had a wife at home. I’m not going to pretend I know all the details, because I’ll be the first to admit I don’t. These are just the events I’ve picked up online, and we ALL know that if you can’t put it on the internet if it’s not true, right? This is where things get tough for Matt because the story claims he went to WWE management about finding texts on Lita’s phone that proved she was sleeping with Edge. Management didn’t want to get in the middle of it and essentially said to settle it on his own, again, just the way I’ve ready the events online, remember if it’s online it MUST be legit. This is when things got really screwy as Matt called into the “talk show” Byte This one week when Lita was a guest and they had a nice blowup on the phone in a public forum. During all of this Matt wound up getting fired because his girlfriend stated having an affair with his married friend while he was off the road rehabbing from an injury. The events that followed are why I think this was a worked shoot. While I’m not saying that things didn’t go down badly, I get the feeling things were cleared up well before the craziness we saw on television.
The biggest reason I got hooked on this storyline again is the way the crowds have been hijacking WWE shows lately. We’ve seen on Raw, heard about NXT, and even witnessed the insanity of the Royal Rumble, the chants can be a great thing but they also have their limits. This storyline saw the chanting of Matt Hardy’s name and “We Want Matt” chants, similar to the Daniel Bryan chants and the CM Punk chants, but still different. The Bryan chants are one thing, because it’s a fan base getting upset that the man they feel deserves a push is constantly getting overlooked, which makes it somewhat acceptable. The CM Punk chants, although I can sympathize with the fans who are upset that he’s gone, are different in the fact that you’re disrespecting the people in the ring (including Daniel Bryan) when you chant for a person who walked out on their contract. The Matt Hardy chants were about a man who had been fired for seemingly no wrong-doing of his own. This was a fan base who could sympathize with a man who was losing everything, all because he had been injured, nothing more. I had already been a Matt Hardy fan, I felt he was the more well rounded in ring worker between he and Jeff, so this put him that much higher in my eyes. Once word broke that Matt had been fired, the fans wouldn’t let it go, they wanted him around because we could feel his pain. The chants were loud, they wouldn’t stop, when Matt ran through the crowd jumped the rail and attacked Edge, the fans went nuts, and when Vince gave him back his job, we metaphorically jizzed all over the arena. Their match at SummerSlam was brutal, violent, and flat out awesome.
I’ve concocted my own crazy ass conspiracy theory of what I think may have gone down, it’s a bit crazy, but at the same time it’s not entirely impossible. Edge and Matt Hardy are students of the game and life long fans of wrestling, I could see them getting together to work out an insane program with one another to help elevate them both to the upper echelon of the business. Whether the affair between Edge and Lita ever truly DID happen, the storyline works and is one that could work again if needed. My thoughts are that Edge and Matt could have come up with the story, maybe even working WWE management in the process. Matt is out injured but goes nuts when he finds out his girlfriend is cheating, becoming a “danger to the company.” As a result, Edge sticks around and Matt is sent packing, but the crowd buys into Matt being wronged and won’t let his job be taken away. The fans force Vince McMahon’s hand and Matt Hardy is brought back into the company. Edge was able to thrive in his role as the dirty, cocky, evil character, this is what put him into the main event and kept him at that level. The only downside is that Matt Hardy as a babyface wasn’t able to maintain his side of the equation. My thought is that Matt should have gone heel off the storyline as well, being a dark, evil character, a man who only wants to make everyone feel HIS pain. He wouldn’t care about winning and losing matches, his only goal would be pain, sort of a new age Raven. I feel that this version of Matt Hardy (V2 or V3? Hell if I know) could have climbed to the top and stuck around as a main event character, maybe even becoming a protege, or at least a major adversary, for Undertaker.
Until there’s solid proof that this wasn’t something worked up in the minds of Matt and Edge, I’m going to keep believing there’s more to this amazing storyline. One thing that still sticks in my head is a picture, can’t remember if it was on Matt Hardy’s MySpace or not, with Edge and Hardy together and a caption about them knowing more secrets than anyone. If the fallout was real, it seems they’ve buried the hatchet and I respect the hell out of them for it, that’s a hell of a thing to put behind you, especially when it’s someone you work with on a steady basis. I’m sure there are people who will call me insane, maybe even an idiot, for this thought process, but I can honestly say I don’t care. Anyone who is unfamiliar with this feud, you need to purchase the WWE Network and track down every segment that had anything to do with this story as it’s what made Edge into the Hall of Famer that he is today. It’s a shame that both men weren’t brought to the mecca off their work, but we at least got to see the birth of a larger than life character that went down in the record books as one of the most decorated champions in WWE’s history. This entire article has lead me into another article and it’ll be up before Sunday, although there’s a real chance that it could fall apart even before it gets published, but what the hell, worse things have happened. The CM Punk deal has led me on this road, and as much as I hate his absence, it did bring back some very fond memories of days gone by, hopefully something is worked out and Punk returns, if not, can we at least get Zack Ryder more airtime…OK, we’re not that desperate…yet.
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