Is MVP playing head games with injured Hardy?
WWE Tag Team Champions Matt Hardy & Montel Vontavious Porter may have defeated Rey Mysterio & Finlay on SmackDown Friday night, but the price of their tandem victory may have been too great. After suffering a severe gash that went skull-deep and required 17 stitches to close, sutures and a throbbing headache were the last things Hardy needed weighing on his mind before squaring off against his own partner at Cyber Sunday. Check out photos of Hardy being treated by doctors after the match...
Friday night's incident now begs a question that's more sensitive than even Hardy's head wound: Whether or not his tag team partner can be trusted at WWE's interactive pay-per-view this Sunday. No matter which match stipulation you vote for these two Superstars to compete in -- a Boxing Match, a Mixed Martial Arts Match or a Wrestling Match -- Hardy's injury, and MVP's loyalty, will be smack-dab in the spotlight.
Rather than brag about his newfound Cyber Sunday advantage or picking up the win for his team Friday night, however, a very somber United States Champion expressed seemingly genuine regret in the locker room shortly following the Tag Team Match.
"Matt is my friend, and I don't want to see my friend hurt," a distraught Porter said. "You see, we're a team. I like to picture Matt right next to me, carrying his WWE Tag Team Title, and me carrying mine. If he's injured, how can he function as my teammate?"
Before MVP & Hardy became "the most functional dysfunctional tag team in WWE history" and captured the WWE Tag Team Titles last August, one would never have associated SmackDown's Franchise Playa as someone concerned for others' wellbeing. Our fans have long suspected that MVP uses the shared bling as part of a "keep-your-enemies-closer" strategy; if Hardy is too busy defending the tag team gold, he can't focus on pursuing the Ballin' Superstar's U.S. Title.
However, recent weeks of MVP calling his once-hated partner "friend," plus a seemingly alarmed reaction to Hardy's injury Friday night, has cast a shadow of doubt over prior accusations. In fact, some fans now suggest that after months of working alongside Hardy, MVP may in fact have developed a genuine appreciation and respect for his partner.
Cyber Sunday could very well provide the perfect test for Porter's newfound loyalty and intentions. With all three match stipulations, Hardy's gashed skull will offer a very large target -- and advantage -- for Porter to exploit. The question now is: Will the true MVP shine through? If he takes advantage of Matt's injury, he'll be exposed as a liar and a fraud. If he deliberately avoids the head wound, then the Franchise Playa will have demonstrated that he values Hardy's friendship more than proving which Superstar is the better competitor.
"I'm just really concerned about my partner right now," MVP reiterated. "Matt sustained a terrible blow, and he bled quite a bit. I hope the powers-that-be take his health into consideration first and foremost, even if that means having to pull him from the match at Cyber Sunday."
Perhaps realizing that last comment is bound to raise the collective eyebrow, Porter quickly explained, "I'm just worried about my friend's health; I really am. Without Matt, I can't defend the WWE Tag Team Titles, and everyone knows that they mean so much for me. I want Matt's safety to be considered -- that's all."
A short time later, WWE.com informed a convalescing Matt Hardy of MVP's comments. Thinking long and hard for several moments -- and not because he was still woozy from the gash in his head -- Matt admitted that he has trouble in fully believing his partner's concern.
"When MVP calls me his friend, I want to believe that he honestly thinks of me as that -- a friend," said Hardy, whose dried blood still clung to his freshly stitched scalp.
"One way or the other, I'll find out what his true intentions are at Cyber Sunday.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried to a degree, but this," he added, pointing to the seven-inch slice across his head, "is a big target. We'll see if he's the friend he says he is."