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September 2016: Did “Broken” Matt Hardy Fix Wrestling?


Imagine going to the cinema to see Star Wars and then, the next night, going to the theater and the story continues right in front of you, live on stage, with the same actors. This is essentially what The Hardy Boys are doing nowadays in TNA Impact Wrestling. At age 42, Matt Hardy has reinvented himself into one of the most captivating characters in wrestling today.

When I first saw “The Final Deletion”, I wasn’t even sure what it was. Was it wrestling? Was it a movie? Was it both? Was it backyard wrestling? Was it a TNA product or was it something he just funded and filmed himself? I’ve watched it a couple of times now and honestly, I’m still not sure what it is, but I will say that I like it. I really like it.

Be Yourself

The thing I like the most is that Matt Hardy is able to be Matt Hardy. I don’t have any sources on the inside of TNA, but I’d be willing to bet money that Matt pretty much has free reign, creatively, to do whatever he wants with this character and that the TNA creative team just works with him to make it fit into the other storylines they already have going on. One thing that strikes me immediately about “Broken” Matt is that this is something that no “creative team member” could ever come up with. It could only be born from the demented mind of one man. Things like this are the result of trusting in a talent to be able to get himself over instead of relying on the company to get him over.

Talking the Talk

The “Broken” Matt Hardy character is a very well thought out character with a whole slew of little nuances that really tie everything together. First of all, the most noticeable thing is his accent and the way he speaks. He actually talks with a stupid-ass accent that sounds like an American doing a bad impression of a British accent. He also has a completely different vocabulary as this character, like calling Jeff Hardy “Brother Nero” and referring to things differently, like calling a wheelchair a “chair with wheels” or calling the TNA World Title the “Title of the World”.

Like all successful wrestlers, he’s also got his fair share of catch-phrases like “ (insert name) … I knew you’d come” and “obsolete, delete, obsolete, delete”.

Dressed for Success

The second thing is his appearance. He completely changed the way he looks. He has a weird afro hairstyle with a big white streak going down the middle. He’s got different ring gear including a very gothic, almost 17th-century-looking ring jacket.


House Hardy

He’s also got this whole entourage of people with him that help to get him over. I think it’s great that Jeff Hardy is going along with this whole thing. Let’s face it, Jeff was always more over than Matt. He was more charismatic, a better worker and just seemed to connect with the fans more. But in this incarnation, Jeff is taking a back seat to Matt and letting him have the spotlight. He’s a secondary character in this story and it’s working. There’s also his wife, Reby and their son, “King” Maxel, who was actually almost kidnapped during the “Delete or Decay” match (the second installment of their “Final Deletion” type of match). And then there’s his groundskeeper, or whoever he is, “Senor Benjamin”, a completely non-wrestling character, Vanguard 1 (a robotic flying drone) and of course, his dilapidated boat “Scarsgar”.

Tolkien, Eat Your Heart Out

Yeah, I know, it’s a lot to take in and if you don’t understand everything I’m talking about or can’t paint a mental picture of it just yet, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s almost like being introduced to The Lord of the Rings saga for the first time. It takes a while before you really start to get a clear idea of who the characters are and what they are all about and for everything to sink in, but once you get it, you become completely immersed into Broken Matt’s world and you’re hooked.


How Far Down Does the Rabbit Hole Go?

Matt either spent a lot of time planning this thing out beforehand or he just kind of made little additions as he went along and kept adding things to make the character get deeper and deeper. He goes into a lot of detail in his interview on episode 270 of Talk is Jericho and that’s the best place to get a complete picture of the storyline, but in a nutshell, Matt became “broken” after a match ended in injury and he returned, using the “Broken” Matt character. He’s now claiming that he has accessed a higher part of his mind. He realized that he is only a soul trapped inside a vessel (his body) and that his soul has been alive for over 1,000 years. He can communicate with the “seven deities” who rule … everything, I guess. Although, he hasn’t revealed who they exactly are yet. He has “deleted” his brother Jeff Hardy and all that is left is an obsolete mule, Brother Nero. Now, he has drawn a line in the sand. Either you are with him and will realize his broken brilliance or you are against him and will be deleted and rendered obsolete as well.

Delete or Decay

If that’s not weird enough, the second installment of “The Final Deletion”, entitled “Delete or or Decay” wasn’t even a wrestling match. It was … well, again, I’m not exactly sure what it was. This time it was even more obscure than the first part. At least in the first part there was a wrestling ring and wrestling moves and a referee (a guy called “Kevin Quinn”, who I actually wrestled a few times in 2004). This time there was a zoo full of animals who had souls of famous people in them, graves dug for the members of Decay, more fireworks, Brother Nero being stabbed, Maxel almost kidnapped, Senor Benjamin abducted and Vanguard 1 nearly destroyed. Oh, and Matt Hardy somehow sucked in green mist that was spit at him and he spat it back out again at Rosemary. I think there was actually one wrestling move, though. Brother Nero gave Crazzy Steve a brain buster into a swimming pool.


Has Matt Hardy Made Traditional Wrestling Obsolete?

With this story, the weirder it gets, the better it becomes. It’s so strange how the horror movie type footage we see on “Delete or Decay” manifests itself into the Impact Zone (or the “Zone of Impact” if you will). It seems like it wouldn’t be possible, but it is. Somehow the characters we see in these wonderfully arranged fight scenes on the Hardy estate come to life in a pro wrestling setting in front of a live audience. I’d even like to see them take it further and bring Vanguard 1 out during a match to interfere or something like that.

Is this actually “pro wrestling” as we’ve come to know it? Not really, but it’s a form of it and for me, it’s actually much more entertaining than just seeing who the next number one contender will be and who will hold the title for the next few weeks until the next pay-per-view. This whole “mixing of worlds” that Lucha Underground innovated is a great evolution of professional wrestling, incorporating a more TV-show-drama-series aspect to it.

Will TNA Be Deleted?

As great as this storyline is, it may all come to a crashing halt as it seems TNA Wrestling is really in a financial pickle at the moment. I know that’s been the rumor every couple of months for the past 10 years, but it really seems like TNA might not even make it until October’s “Bound for Glory” pay-per-view if they don’t find an investor.

It seems that Dixie Carter is not very willing to give up her majority share in the company, but at the same time does not have the finances to keep the company going. WWE is also rumored to be a possible investor if they can’t find anyone else, but they are reportedly only interested in the video library and would probably just delete the company after acquiring it. Billy Corgan might also buy the majority shares, giving him full control of TNA.

But no matter what happens, Matt Hardy has done what few guys at his age do, and that’s take a chance, roll the dice and completely reinvent himself at an age when most guys (I picture Virgil here) are just sitting behind a table at fan conventions, trying to squeak out a living by selling autographed 8 x 10 pictures of themselves from their glory days.

What do you think of “The Final Deletion” and “Delete or Decay” and the whole “Broken” Matt Hardy character? Is it broken brilliance or should it be deleted?

- Daniel Austin (Don Roid) (blog) (podcast)


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