Matt Hardy Now Free Agent; Did AEW Keep Him From WrestleMania?

Much has been said about his status, and we can say that Matt Hardy is now a free agent-but did AEW keep him from WrestleMania?

Matt Hardy Free Agent WrestleMania
Credit: WWE

Much has been said about his status, and we can say that Matt Hardy is now a free agent-but did AEW keep him from WrestleMania?

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In the weeks and months leading up to the biggest wrestling show each and every year, there was a lot of speculation. Fans were clamoring for big surprises. We always are, and 2024 was no different. With certain match announcements came certain expectations. For example, with a lot of hinting, fans were expecting names like John Cena or Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 40. And if you saw the show, you know that we did get Cena and The Undertaker, but no Austin.

Those names were some of the biggest surprises, but they were not the only ones we had heard rumors of. Leading into the event, Nick Aldis and Adam Pearce made a big announcement. Specifically, there would be an unprecedented six pack ladder match. The prize was significant. On the line were the RAW and SmackDown tag titles, which had been held by a single team (not the same one) for nearly two years. Given it was a ladder match…and it was in Philadelphia, there were some guesses.

What did we get…

Matt Hardy Free Agent WrestleMania

The easiest guess was a return of the Dudleyz. This was something Bubba Ray trolled fans about for a bit on social media. In the end, he himself returned to serve as a guest referee on night two, but did not wrestle. Another team well known for ladder matches? Matt and Jeff Hardy. Both brothers have been recently vocal about their displeasure of how AEW has used them. We have not seen them on air in forever. And, with respect to Matt…we knew his AEW contract was running out soon. Jeff didn’t sign at the same time, so his availability was a little trickier, but it didn’t stop fans from dreaming.

Well, according to Fightful, Matt Hardy is now a free agent. But, based on how his free agency came to be, we now ask…did AEW keep him from WrestleMania 40? According to Fightful, they may have. Now, officially, no one from WWE has said (or would say out loud) that they were going to bring in the Hardys to wrestle had they been available. Jeff Hardy remains an AEW talent until he is release or his contract expires. He signed in 2022, so he could be there another year or two depending on the contract length. But, Matt Hardy landed there in 2020, debuting during the pandemic in an empty arena. His deal was set to expire before WrestleMania, but Fightful’s report indicates that, one way or another, AEW added a few weeks to his deal to ensure it did not run out until after WrestleMania.

What About Jeff Hardy?

To be fair, there wouldn’t have been a point of having Matt without Jeff. I doubt WWE would have trotted out just a single Hardy for the weekend. However, perhaps Tony Khan was concerned that if Matt were free, Jeff would just leave. Granted, he is under contract. As cool as another shocking Hardy return could have been, I doubt WWE would want to breach anyone’s contracts. Either way, Matt Hardy is now a free agent. And AEW did things so that he couldn’t appear on WrestleMania weekend.

Introduced to professional wrestling in the 1980’s thanks to Superstars and Saturday Night’s Main Event, John’s passion for the... More about John Deegan

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