Last night, at the beginning of his Broken Rules match against Sammy Guevara at AEW All Out, Matt Hardy fell from a lift, overshot a pair of tables meant to break his fall, bumped his head on a cement floor, and was apparently knocked unconscious. After a few seconds, Hardy apparently regained consciousness and began trying to continue the match, but referee Aubrey Edwards made the decision to stop it. Then, a minute later, the match restarted. Hardy returned to the arena area and battled gingerly with Guevara, taking no bumps. They fought quickly to a scaffolding area and climbed it, and Hardy threw Guevara off into a heavily-padded area to win the match.
The injury, but moreso the decision to restart the match, left a sour taste in many fans mouths and hampered the enjoyment of the rest of the show for many. Wrestling fans today, and especially AEW fans, are well aware of the worked nature of pro wrestling and would have understood the match stoppage after that bump. As well as AEW coming up with some way to keep Hardy in the company even though the match stipulation said he had to leave the company if he lost the match. Nobody would have held putting a performer's health above the story against AEW.
But that's not what happened. By restarting the match, AEW tried to put the story first, and that's a questionable moral decision, to begin with. But it's also a questionable booking decision because, as mentioned previously, nobody watching that show believes that the story is "real" and, as a result, continuing the match served to take people out of the critical zone of suspended disbelief required to enjoy pro wrestling. Instead, they watched Hardy wobbling through a rushed finish and felt mostly concerned for his health and a range of emotions, including confusion, anger, and betrayal at AEW's decision.
In a post-show media event, Tony Khan said that the on-site doctor cleared Hardy for concussion protocols in the brief time where the match was stopped. Hardy himself, obviously, wanted to continue, as wrestlers often do when they get hurt. And Khan said that Hardy was sent to the hospital after the match, where he was once again cleared of any injuries. Matt's wife, Reby Hardy, disagreed on Twitter and had harsh words for everyone involved in the decision, though she also locked her account on Sunday after her tweets were circulated, a first for the notoriously outspoken wrestling personality.
The fact is, fans aren't doctors. I'm not a doctor. Reby Hardy isn't a doctor. The doctors may well have cleared Hardy of having a concussion, and maybe he really was fine to finish the match. To be fair, Hardy, after a thirty-year career of abusing his body with a bump-heavy wrestling style, wobbles when he walks even when he hasn't smacked his head on the concrete. But even accepting all of that as true, AEW still made the wrong decision by continuing the match.