Matt Hardy should not have finished the match, and AEW must learn from their mistake

Matt Hardy makes his entrance (photo courtesy of AEW)
Matt Hardy makes his entrance (photo courtesy of AEW) /

Matt Hardy was competing against Sammy Guevara at ALL OUT in a “Broken Rules” match when he was injured. The match was allowed to continue.

Whether you were watching AEW ALL OUT live or saw clips and gifs later, you know that Matt Hardy should not have been allowed to continue his match.

Very early in the “Broken Rules” match against Sammy Guevara, Hardy was injured in a spot where they overshot the table, and Hardy’s head visibly bounced off the concrete.

After checking on him, referee Aubrey Edwards threw up the X. However, Hardy continued to try to keep the match going. In his state, it’s hard to know if he was even aware she was calling the match off. It also appeared that Guevara didn’t see it and he continued the match and at one point, audibly called for Edwards to count.

Hardy tried to stand up and visibly struggled. He could barely stand up straight or walk. Edwards again threw up the X, but Hardy continued to defy her. The camera stayed on Hardy as he struggled. Shortly after this, the match appeared to be over and the commentary table seemed to think it was as well. To everyone’s surprise, the match continued.

They clearly jumped ahead to the finish, which included Hardy and Guevara climbing up the scaffolding. Someone on commentary mentioned that the cameraman slipped. They hit their spot and Hardy won the match.

During the pay-per-view, it was reported that Hardy went to the hospital. In the media scrum afterward, Khan gave opening remarks in which he said he made the call to stop the match to have Hardy looked at by a doctor. He said that Dr. Sampson cleared Hardy to finish the match. Based on that, the match was allowed to continue.

In the media scrum, Khan also said that Dr. Sampson was not and could not be overruled by any wrestler. Hardy did want to keep going, but that was not why he was cleared. Khan admitted to being scared for Hardy several times. He also knew that the scaffolding spot was coming up and that was one of the reasons he wanted Dr. Samson to check Hardy.

The match was incredibly hard to watch. As soon as Edwards threw up the X, that should have been the end of it. Hardy was clearly concussed. The remainder of the match was a disaster. Khan should have overruled Dr. Sampson. If he didn’t, Cody, Kenny Omega, and/or the Young Bucks should have made the call as Executive Vice Presidents to step in. As of right now, we don’t know who saw what and when. However, someone should have called the match other than Edwards.

For longtime fans of Hardy, it was hard to care about anything else. Many fans have watched what he has put his body through for 25 years. He has sacrificed his body for our entertainment for decades. Someone should have stepped in for Hardy and protected him.

Through no fault of their own, the Broken Rules match overshadowed Hikaru Shida vs. Thunder Rosa. Allowing the match to continue put a damper on the rest of the show.

Although Khan said that Hardy was “okay” several times in the scrum, Hardy’s wife says otherwise. Her tweets are now protected, but before they were, she sent out a tweet that included a screenshot of her texts to her husband. In the last sentence of her caption, she said, “Shame on everyone in that g—-n building.”

In another tweet this morning, she included a clip of Hardy stumbling and falling while struggling to continue the match. The tweets says that Hardy “needed additional imaging done after his CT. He’s still in the hospital. 1000% concussion. Anyone with eyes could have told you that tho.”

During the media call with Khan on Thursday, he said he was good friends with Chris Nowinski. Nowinski is a former wrestler who is the co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. AEW and Nowinski need to examine what happened with Hardy and why their protocols failed. They need to come up with a new plan immediately, especially when they have wrestlers like Darby Allin and Joey Janela who like to do dangerous spots.

Khan admitted being scared for Hardy. He also admitted that he has never had to ring the bell to stop a match for a doctor to check a wrestler in a match on a live show. He made the decision based on what Dr. Sampson told him and on Hardy’s willingness to continue the match. How do you go against a medical evaluation and a veteran wrestler that knows his body? I can imagine it was extremely difficult.

AEW has to listen to their referees. Edwards made the call twice to end the match and was overruled. She appears to be the only one who actually knew that the match needed to end. She put Hardy’s health ahead of the match and the company. She should be commended for her actions.

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In the end, the wrong decision was made. The match was not more important than Hardy’s health. There is a very good chance that this concussion will effect Hardy for the rest of his life. He is on the later side of his in-ring career. He is the father of three very young boys. We don’t know yet how this concussion will affect Hardy in the short-term, let alone the long-term, especially given the additive effects of concussions.

AEW must learn from this mistake. It is the biggest one of their short existence. Changes must be made immediately and protocols for talent safety must be ever-evolving. A wrestler’s health and well-being must come first before anything else.