Great wrestling rivalries are built on simple reasoning. I hate you; you hate me lets fight. The Matt Hardy/Edge/Lita love triangle situation was perfect; maybe not for Mr Hardys future life plans, but for a wrestling angle, Vince had struck pure adulterated adultery gold. The Matt Hardy/Edge rivalry in 2005 immediately caught fire when Hardy was fired from WWE; prompting the subsequent revelation that Edge and Lita had been having an affair off-screen while Matt had been off recuperating an injury. The legit scandal was shocking news and earned Hardy mass fan support in the process, while simultaneously earning widespread hatred for both Edge and Lita (complete with the You Screwed Matt chants which followed the couple wherever they went). Eventually, the heat from fans built to the point that WWE had no other choice but to rehire Hardy and face the issue head on. What followed was a superb example of worked shoot booking that was truly a sight to behold. Both men hated each other and it was evident for everyone to see. The reason was simple; one man had stolen another mans girl and there wasnt a viewer watching that couldnt sympathise with that scenario. Add to this some shoot subtleties here and there like Hardys renegade Ring of Honor references over the house mic and the insane ByteThis phone call between Hardy and his estranged ex and the angle went from white hot to nuclear. And it was all set to explode at SummerSlam...or so we thought. Sadly, the SummerSlam match was bizarrely short and instead of Hardy getting the revenge he needed and the fans so badly knew he deserved, he instead took a complete pounding at the hands of Edge and it was brutal. McDonalds French Fry machine didnt take as many potatoes as Matt Hardy did that day and, before the match had really even begun, the referee had called for the bell in a match that lasted less than five minutes. Edge was declared the victor while a semi-conscious Hardy was left to lick his own wounds when he was capable of doing so. The sight of Hardy bloodied, on the wrong end of a Rated R beatdown was far from what the fans had expected, wanted or needed. Not only did it derail his momentum as the valiant babyface returning for justice, it emasculated his character as a man who was out for revenge against the homewrecker who tore his life apart. The two would feud for another month or so trading beatings and victories before Hardy lost a Loser Leaves Raw match at the WWE Homecoming special and got shipped off to Smackdown, ending their feud after just a couple of months. With genuine palpable heat between the two men and a real reason to back up their programme, there was no storyline hotter than the Hardy/Edge/Lita scenario in 2005 and the Hardy vs. Edge feud had legs that could rival Stacy Keiblers. Instead, Hardy was unceremoniously jobbed out to Edge in under five minutes, which not only hurt the storyline going forward but damaged the reputation of protagonist. After that, the subsequent matches struggled to live up to excitement of the SummerSlam encounter, leading to the whole resolution of the feud arriving far too soon.
Occasional wrestler, full-time gym rat and lifelong lover of the grapple game. Would probably buy you a shot of Jack at the bar in exchange for witty banter...and preferably more Jack.
@MartynGrant88 for more wrestling-related musings and weight room wisecracks!