Cardona dives into his partnership with Steph De Lander as well.
Going into WWE WrestleMania 39, as Cody Rhodes was making the media rounds, in one of the interviews he did, he shared the story of when he set up a meeting for Matt Cardona with someone in management ‘somewhere’. Rhodes claimed that during the meeting, Cardona expressed that he would not be wearing any Nightmare Family apparel or associating with Rhodes on-screen.
Cardona addressed that as he and Steph De Lander were chatting with Sam Roberts. He confirmed that he did not want to be a part of the Nightmare Family in AEW, but he did not say that in front of management and Rhodes in the same room.
He joked that he is looking to sell the Nightmare Family jacket that was made for him. He shared that he did pitch to Tony Khan to release a Matt Cardona action figure on the night he debuted in AEW.
Cardona: There’s some truth to that (Cody Rhodes’ story about Cardona not wanting to be in the Nightmare Family). It’s a Cody story. I did not want to be a part of the Nightmare Family. That is true but I do have the jacket in my closet and if you wanna buy it, hit me up (he laughed). BookMattCardonagmail.com. I’m thinking about selling it. It says ‘Strong Island’ on the front. I’m not wearing that. But no, listen, I thought the AEW thing… See, that’s not true, that is untrue (Cardona turned the opportunity down while in the same room as Rhodes & management). That is not true. That’s a Cody story, it’s a Cody story. I’ll tell you this, the day I met Tony Khan, I pitched, ‘Hey, we should drop my figure on RingsideCollectibles.com. The first night, pre-order.’ It’s never been done.
Present day, Cardona is traveling the independents alongside Steph De Lander. The pair are consistently featured in Game Changer Wrestling.
Cardona said when they first decided to work together, he wanted to get her on shows he was already booked on. He told GCW promoter Brett Lauderdale that he would fly De Lander in, pay her and take care of her hotel just so she could be on the show. De Lander added that she felt that pressure the first go-round.
Cardona: Okay, well, how am I gonna get her booked on all these shows that I’m already booked on? GCW, cheap Brett Lauderdale says, ‘No.’ So it’s, ‘Okay, f*ck you Brett. I’m gonna fly her in, pay her and put her up. What are you gonna say about that?’ And then Brett looks at her and goes, ‘Oh sh*t. That’s a tall sumb*tch,’ and then, you know, just bringing her along and then she’s emailing the promoters. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m on this show. Email this promoter.’ It just was a team effort.
De Lander: I felt pressure because I was like, there was a lot riding on this and if I sh*t the bed, this is a one-and-done and thanks but no thanks. So I felt pressure on that day to really show out and I did. I did what was asked of me, we did well and then all of a sudden, we’re booked on every GCW show we can do. So, it went well but it was a short-term investment for a long-term gain and I think that is something we apply to a lot of different things whether it’s merch, whether it’s gear, whether it’s videos, whatever else. We invest in what we’re doing because we see the payoff and I think that’s kind of what makes us different to a lot of indie wrestlers at the moment I think.
De Lander and Cardona refer to themselves as the Death Match Queen and King respectively. De Lander shared that she is ‘terrified’ of Death Matches but knows at some point, she’ll have to do one. She thinks it’ll likely be with Cardona.
De Lander: Yeah, I’m terrified (of doing a Death Match). I tell him (Matt Cardona) every week, I go, ‘I don’t wanna do it, I’m not doing it’ and he’s like, ‘Mhm, at some point, mhm, maybe.’
Look, the thing is obviously I’m not stupid. At some point, I’m gonna be having one Death Match. But it’s gonna be the best Death Match you’ve ever seen. Not as good as yours. It’s gonna be the second best Death Match you’ve ever seen, and that’s just because of the way I do it, that’s the way he does it. We’ll be in it together probably so the thing is-is when we do it, it’s gonna be insane. So as much as I am terrified of it… Legitimately f*cking terrified. We were at the show the other week and I literally was like, ‘I cannot watch. I can’t watch it. I hate it’ but, I will put my big girl pants for a day to give the people what they want but it will be insane.
In July, both Cardona and Steph are heading to Japan. Cardona will be challenging for the DDT Pro-Wrestling Universal Championship at Wrestle Peter Pan.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Notsam Wrestling with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.