UPDATED: Impact Sends Hardys, Ring of Honor Cease and Desist Demand Over Broken Gimmick
UPDATED: PWInsider reports that Ring of Honor, as well as all PPV distributors carrying tonight’s 15th Anniversary show, have received legal notices about the Broken Hardy gimmick. The legal demands are reportedly a decision made by Anthem Media and not something Jeff Jarrett is directly involved in; it’s simply a matter of the company trying to protect their IP.
Ring of Honor has already set their plans for tonight, and the Hardys will be appearing. It is possible that the Broken gimmick will be either downplayed or ignored during the PPV.
The site has also issued a minor correction, noting that the cease and desist letter was not fifteen pages but rather three.
ORIGINAL: As expected, Reby Hardy’s lengthy Twitter tirade against Impact Wrestling was caused by a legal threat over ownership of the Broken gimmick. PWInsider has confirmed that Impact sent a fifteen-page cease and desist letter targeting Matt and Jeff Hardy, and perhaps others, demanding that they immediately stop using the gimmick.
Impact is claiming, as earlier reports noted, that they own the intellectual properties created by Matt and Jeff due to their now-expired contracts and that they are not to use anything related to the Broken gimmick moving forward. Matt filed for a trademark for the character of Broken Matt Hardy on March 1st after his contract with Impact expired.
While it is not confirmed, Reby’s tweets claimed that Impact was also going after Senor Benjamin, who is her father in real life, despite his not being signed to or paid by TNA. It’s very possible that this would include all the associated characters including Reby’s “Queen Rebecca” and even their son, who appeared as King Maxel.
It is not clear exactly how the language in the Hardys’ contract read, but if it did include a statement that any material created by talent under contract is retained by the company than Impact could have a legit claim to the gimmicks. This is, of course, the same kind of language WWE has in place for their standard talent contracts. If such language is not in the contract, Impact won’t have much of a legal argument here.
The Hardys are set to appear tonight at ROH 15th Anniversary where they will defend the ROH World Tag Team Championships. They appeared at Manhattan Mayhem as their Broken characters; there is no indication that, as of now, they are going to be pulled from the PPV.