Matt Hardy's AEW In-Ring Debut Was a Shot Across the Bow at WWE

On the March 18th edition of Dynamite, Matt Hardy brought his “Broken Brilliance” to AEW. He arrived on the scene to aid The Elite in their battle against the Inner Circle. This led to a weeks-long promo war between Hardy and Chris Jericho, which involved Jericho trying to recruit Vanguard-1 and Hardy challenging Jericho to an “Elite Deletion” match.

Hardy made his long-awaited in-ring AEW debut on the May 6th edition of Dynamite, where he teamed up with Kenny Omega to take on Jericho and Sammy Guevara in a Street Fight. Hardy was a member of Team Xtreme long before he became his broken self, so he was no stranger to this type of match. Not to mention that he has also been in several encounters at the Hardy Compound, where all sorts of crazy antics have occurred. In his street fight against Jericho and Guevara, Hardy proved that he still has it in the ring, which is something that AEW seemed much more willing to show than WWE was at the end of his run.

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Hardy entered the match as his broken persona — or Damascus, as he’s been calling it. He brawled with Guevara and Jericho for a few minutes before Jericho took him out in the entrance tunnel early on in the match. Hardy soon returned, this time as himself. He was wearing a completely different outfit and this is how he spent most of the in-ring portion of the match. While he and Omega didn’t necessarily have Hardy Boyz-type chemistry, they did work well together in the ring, putting on a good show against Jerich and Guevara. Hardy also showed that he still knew how to get extreme. With a little assistance from Omega, Hardy jumped off a ladder to put Guevara through a table, showing he still had the insanity from all of his TLC matches within him.

When the match went backstage, it got even more hectic. Jericho and Jake Hager beat Hardy up and threw him inside an ice chest. He was gone for a while, then re-emerged as Damascus once again and proceeded to drive a golf cart through the backstage area, ramming into Jericho. Then he helped Omega into the cart, turned around and chased down Guevara, taking him out as well. Hardy was going to assist Omega with his attempt to put Jericho through a table with a moonsault off a scissor lift when the rest of the Inner Circle stepped in and allowed Jericho and Guevara to win the match.

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Overall, Hardy looked great in the match. He may not have gotten the most offense in, but he had the most memorable moments, during both the in-ring and backstage portions of the fight. He was protected well throughout the match, getting time to switch between his characters and avoiding having to eat the pinfall for the loss.

WWE didn’t give Matt Hardy many opportunities to showcase his in-ring skills during his last run, focusing more on his promo work and his “Woken” character until it was abruptly dropped. He was essentially reduced to jobber status in his last few matches in WWE, but AEW showed in this Street Fight that Matt Hardy still has a lot more to offer than just his promo skills. He may be 45 years old and have a history of injuries, but Hardy just proved that given the right match, he can still bring the goods in the ring as well.

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Matt Hardy recently made his AEW in-ring debut and he showed that he still has it. He had an opportunity to shine that he hasn't had in quite a while.

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