Earlier this year, Matt Hardy turned heel, winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Ethan Carter III in January. What started as a subtle, typical pro-wrestling story, evolved into an ever expanding universe of strange weirdness. After being injured (in kayfabe) by his brother Jeff in an I Quit Match soon after claiming the title, Matt was taken to the hospital. When Matt returned in May he at first was merely a Willow imposter, attacking Jeff from behind. This would crescendo into Matt Hardy becoming “broken” at the hands of his brother, and giving wrestling fans some of the most delightfully bizarre television we have ever seen.
As we reported back in July, the Broken Matt Hardy angle was one of the best things TNA has ever done. Period. Matt crept out of the gate with an odd accent and a white streak in his hair. It was weird and not well received by fans as they questioned just what in the hell Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan were thinking, or if they even were. But where WWE might have cut their losses and abandoned the gimmick, TNA battened down the hatches and ran with it, refusing to give up on Matt’s creation until it was completely exhausted. And things at TNA have been all the better because of it. Matt continued to groom and nurture the Broken gimmick, battling Jeff in every possible way until finally defeating him at his Cameron, North Carolina home in what was called The Final Deletion and awarded Broken Matt with the sole custodianship of “the Hardy Brand.”
The Final Deletion was glorious and that was even after the previous weeks featuring vignettes, Full Metal Mayhem, and Six Sides of Steel in the Impact Zone. It featured an outdoor match with a ring in the middle of the forest, Tiki-torches, fireworks (being shot at human beings) and things being set on fire. What we assumed was the apex of the entire Broken Matt Hardy saga, ended up being just the beginning! Soon after, Brother Nero became Obsolete Jeff. Then in an amazing twist, Matt caused Jeff to snap and now he too was broken!
Jeff began to come out to a new obsolete theme song, wearing solid white contact lenses and giving up his bread-and-butter “spotfest monkey” moves that were his claim to fame throughout his career. All the while, Broken Matt Hardy refined his gimmick coming up with new and clever accents, vignettes, and pre-taped video packages that helped strengthen and solidify TNA’s ratings. Every time it seems like the Broken Matt Hardy angle has worn out its welcome, he surprises everyone with something even more over the top and hilarious than he has ever done before.
Matt was recently on the Talk is Jericho podcast and said it was important for Impact Wrestling to find their own way and identity, claiming: “My broken universe is something different that has never been seen anywhere else before.” Even going so far as to say Vince McMahon would be scared of it and would never let Matt attempt it. He certainly has caught the attention of everyone across the pro-wrestling landscape, including Bray Wyatt. It’s now rumored that WWE is interested in signing Matt once his TNA contract is up in February. But why would he want to leave? TNA’s ratings are strong and he would never have this level of creative freedom on Monday Night Raw.
It just goes to show that if you commit to a concept and give everything you have towards it, people will embrace it. One could argue that Matt and Jeff are in the twilight of their careers and might be close to retirement. But then along comes this Broken Matt Hardy idea and they are now the most talked about segment, not just on Thursday nights but in all of pro-wrestling. Matt has to be commended for putting his entire being into this role, come hell or high water, and really helping to single-handedly put TNA back on the map. There’s even rumors of WWE buying them out now.
Featuring self-aware drones, mischievous gardeners, explosions, divine mystical beings in the lakes and woods, under water costume changes, pool fights, child abduction, a car-jacking, and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, Matt Hardy’s Broken Saga has been truly groundbreaking. With even Billy Corgan teasing that perhaps this will all culminate with a Broken Matt Hardy movie. With Delete or Decay coming up at Bound For Glory, TNA has a real chance to continue building on the non-stop train that is Broken Matt and Jeff Hardy. If they can somehow defeat Decay and become Impact Wrestling’s Tag Team Champions, the story will once again evolve in another direction and give us yet another reason to tune into TNA’s product.
Tonight is the final show before Bound For Glory. Be sure to tune into #ImpactOnPOP and see what new antics Broken Matt has for us as we head into this weekend’s pay-per-view. And be sure to check out our friends over at the King of the Mountain podcast for complete TNA coverage.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker