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Matt Hardy – ‘A Great Locker Room Leader Is One Who Isn’t Afraid To Tell The Truth’

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On a recent edition of his “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy” podcast, TNA veteran Matt Hardy discussed the importance of staying connected with fans, leadership within the locker room, and more.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On keeping a pulse on what the fans want: “It has been, and it’s always changed a lot over time. I know once we started becoming successful, whenever I broke away from my brother and I finally got an opportunity to be a heel and be a singles competitor. Which, I had asked Vince McMahon, I said, ‘Just give me an opportunity.’ I was busting my a*s, I was working hard, I was eating great, I was training hard or whatever maybe. And I started doing Matt Hardy Version 1, the Sensei of Mattitude. And even like my entrance, how did the funny thing like with the computer uploading, and then there’d be the Matt Facts and everything else. Like I knew that once the internet was starting to come into being very relevant and very important in society, I knew that would play a part. And it was so funny, because I was a big fan of trying to promote things through the internet. And like 2004, 2005 — and I got a lot of s**t over that, too. And it’s so funny that they like to say, ‘Oh, this isn’t really going to matter. It’s not going to be good.’ But then you fast forward six, seven, eight years later, then everything they do and promote, you’re gonna see snippets there. And it’s like, a great pathway where someone can watch it on their device, it sends it back to your TV show or back to your Premium Live Event that is there, whatever. And that’s being ahead of the curve.

“And today, you said 2024. I’ve noticed there’s a big outspoken audience more than anything else on the internet. And you can’t listen to them to some degree, but you have to also remember that it’s also like a niche part of the audience. Still at the end of the day — and Danny has said this too. You really know pro wrestling when you understand it’s not about pro wrestling. It’s about storytelling, it’s about a character. It’s about trying to find out if this guy’s going to succeed in his endeavor, whatever he’s trying to do. Is he going to win this match, is he going to fail, is he lose his match? And sometimes failing is part of the process, it’s part of the story, and sometimes it builds character. And now I realize that there’s that strong niche audience, and there’s things you can do that seem real that you can kind of work with. Kayfabe isn’t even just like kayfabe anymore. Sometimes it’s you putting out something that they believe about you, and just like leaning into the bit.”

On being a great locker room leader: “I think a great locker room leader is someone who is not afraid to tell the truth. And they will tell hard truths whenever they have to. But also at the same time, they have to realize that they can’t be biased in whatever you say. If you have a view, that is something, you can’t be biased in. You have to call it straight down the middle. You know, it is sometimes hard for people to do that. Like for instance, I’m sure a lot of you have seen all the buzz that was going around about the Punk interview. And he made some points that were legitimate. But also I mean, there were some points he made that he was very biased on too, you know what I mean?

“So that’s what I’m saying, I feel like a real locker room leader has to be down the middle, and you have to be honest. You can’t be afraid to look at yourself in the mirror and admit, ‘Oh, I kind of did this wrong, may have done that wrong.’ You need to just try and speak hard truths, whatever it may be, and like really assess things for how they really are. And like don’t necessarily be set on absolutes when it comes to something. Try and deal with everything on a case-by-case basis. Like if you see something going on that’s wrong, and it’s pretty clear that someone may be in the wrong. I mean, that might be the time to say, ‘Hey, can I talk to you.’ And you pull to the side, or whatever it may be? But I feel like defusing stuff is something a locker room leader would do as well. Which is important. And don’t let things get to it. Because there’s a lot of times, there’s tension building up between people or entities, whatever it may be. And you just have to shut that s**t down. You’ve got to nip it in the bud. And that is something that’s very important. I think that’s something a locker room leader does. So I think you try and speak truthful, you try to speak in unbiased ways, you don’t do it for a selfish reason. You know, you don’t have any — you don’t have any skin in the game, so to say. You just do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

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