Wardlow is having himself a run in AEW. He’s the current TNT Champion in his first reign, in the middle of a 15-man win streak that includes victories over W. Morrissey, MJF, Scorpio Sky, Orange Cassidy, and Jay Lethal, and has even rekindled his friendship with FTR, who were once his faction-mates in The Pinnacle.
And yet, things didn’t almost end so well for the Wardog. That’s right, while it’s been relatively smooth sailing for Wardlow in AEW besides having to be employed MJF, the 34-year-old almost didn’t make it to the show due to issues with addition, as he detailed to Matt Hardy on The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, as transcribed by Fightful.
Yeah, so a little deeper into personal. So I’ve had some moments like that recently. So I’m actually very thankful. I used to hate the fact that I kind of ruined my 20s. I used to be so upset, but like, man, ‘That’s your 20s That was your time to live.’ It’s like, ‘No, no, no. Now is my time to live. Your 20s were just a learning lesson.’ I thank God today that I went through what I went through, then, because I’ll never go through it again. Right, you’re never going to hear, ‘Wardlow’s got to take time off because he’s got personal issues, or because he’s got addiction issues, or he’s been through it, I’ve learned my lessons. That is why I am so so focused today and why I know I’m going to be so successful moving forward because I’ve learned my lesson with that sh*t. It is nothing but focus from here on out.
For most fans who had never heard of Wardlow before he arrived in AEW – or forgot about his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo on the WWE edition of Undercover Boss – this is probably news to them, as the supersized powerhouse seemingly arrived in Tony Khan’s company a complete product, but to hear the champ discuss how he almost didn’t make it to the company is powerful stuff, especially considering the struggles Matt’s brother Jeff has had with addition inside and out of AEW. Fortunately, Wardlow had a few nice things to say about Jeff Hardy too, which will certainly make the suspended Superstar smile.
The Hardys’ AEW debut was a full-circle moment for Wardlow.
Elsewhere in the podcast, Wardlow discussed what it was like to be on the same show as the Hardy Brothers, again via a transcription from Fightful.
The wild thing is is that segment happened right before I went out. So I had like this crazy moment. I’m getting ready for my segment and I hear the Hardy Boys music play and Matt & Jeff Hardy are out there and there’s a Swanton being hit. This is all happening moments before I’m walking out to cut a promo that still is mind-blowing to me. I mean, how much wrestling I watched growing up and how much I obsessed with it, and how far off track I got after high school, for a while seemingly ruin my life and my dreams. I mean I went down a really bad path for a while with drugs and alcohol and depression and sort of finally make it into finally be in this company. Not AEW company, but the company of the likes of Matt, Jeff, and so forth. It is a beautiful thing that is overwhelming. It’s overwhelming on a daily basis, how much damage I did to my life and to be able to get it all back and fight for it back and be here and be sitting next to this man. It’s like, no matter how much wrong I did in life, it’s moments like these that make me realize everything was done. Everything happened for a reason and this is absolutely the path that I’m supposed to be on, and I’m absolutely exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Well, it’s certainly nice to know that the return of Hardy was as exciting for the boys in the back as it was for the fans watching along in the stands. With Jeff reportedly finished with rehab, according to Dave Meltzer, and preparing for an eventual return to the ring, according to his brother on another episode of The Extreme World of Matt Hardy, it looks like the day may soon arrive where one of the most popular performers in TK’s company is finally back in an AEW ring. Let’s just hope that, like Wardlow, he has put his addiction issues behind him once and for all.