wrestling / Columns

Broken Promises: The Hardys Leave Impact

March 5, 2017 | Posted by Dino Zee
Hardys Broken Universe Broken

I spent nearly all of 2016 complaining about Matt Hardy. Hell, who am I kidding? I spent all of 2016 complaining about Matt Hardy, and in fact, had started up during the later stages of 2015. To be fair, when I started, I was griping about a man who was far past his prime. Yet, due to the injury his brother had sustained, this man found himself in constant TNA World Championship matches. We ignored the absolute silence his appearances garnered; how his interviews rambled and went nowhere; and, most importantly, how he would receive more title shots, despite not earning any of them.

I would gripe about how he was put into the 2015 Bound For Glory main event through a series of circumstances that never once made any sense. It didn’t make sense that he was given any type of opportunity to even enter the main event, considering how often he had lost to Ethan Carter, III (MY BOY, EC3). It didn’t make sense that Drew Galloway would try to help his team win, which put Hardy in the main event, which changed Galloway’s earned one on one title shot into a three way dance. It didn’t make sense that the champion never rightly pointed out any of the above issues with Matt Hardy getting another title shot.

When Matt then ended the show with the TNA World Heavyweight Title, I grew even angrier, and let the bitterness continue to flow. He’d then give up the belt immediately due to threat of legal action from EC3, which would lead to the World Title Series, which led to Carter regaining the belt, only to lose it almost immediately to Matt Hardy, who had finally gotten desperate enough to find a little help, enlisting the services of Tyrus.

Still, I griped.

Hardy was not the figure to start the year off as champion, in my opinion. He couldn’t put on good matches, he looked gassed after four minutes, and he was still a completely non-threatening figure that was still trying to be taken totally seriously, while failing miserably at it.

Hardy would break from his usual “Jeff’s Brother” persona, and become Big Money Matt. While this was your usual “Heel puts on a suit and talks condescendingly to the audience” character that we’ve seen quite a bit the last ten years, it was still a very welcome change for Matt, whose previous heel run as “Cold Blood” Matt Hardy just didn’t catch on.

As Big Money Matt, Hardy began to cultivate a character who was hell-bent on proving himself. He wasn’t just Jeff’s Brother, and he wasn’t just some old timer hanging on for a payday.

Still, I griped.

The infatuation with Matt was growing stale, and I didn’t understand why he needed to be champion when TNA had more than a few better choices available. On top of that, I felt that beating Matt Hardy wasn’t something that would earn anyone a rub. That said, what is the point of putting a belt on someone who can’t possibly get anyone else over?

In March of 2016, Drew Galloway would use his Feast or Fired to surprise Hardy with a challenge for the belt, and would win the match. As I had thought, this win didn’t really propel Galloway any further than he already was with the audience – which was a very popular babyface. While it added the gold belt to the overall presentation of Galloway, the act of beating Matt Hardy was almost glossed over, as there were no real plans for a feud between the two, and thus no real reason to carry on with rematches.

At that point in time, I had assumed that TNA finally came to their senses, and that the Matt Hardy Project was over. I figured he’d take some time off, and either reform the Hardys with his brother, or just come back as Big Money Matt, with a fresh slate ready to make some people pay. Instead, he’d attempt to get a final revenge on Jeff, only to fall short, and be put through a table via his brother’s famed Swanton. It was at this point that I was sure that Matt was going to take a break.

Only, as I was figuring out the plans, Jeff Hardy was being stalked by someone claiming to be Willow, Jeff’s own alter ego. Jeff would eventually find himself scheduled to wrestle Willow on Impact, leaving the fans to wonder how this was possible, and who would be wearing the black and white hooded mask to take on The Charismatic Enigma. It was during this match that we’d all realize that Matt Hardy wasn’t done. In fact, he was only… just beginning!

Matt would reveal himself to have been Willow, using the distractions to set Jeff up to fall. He would then begin the Broken Matt Hardy experience, soon introducing us to Vanguard 1, Señor Benjamin, The Scribe, The Seven Deities, and more!

He would tell us that his goal was simply in dismantling the entire legacy of Jeff Hardy, piece by piece. That to accomplish this task, he would have to break his brother mentally and physically, proving his dominance over Jeff (now referred to as simply “Brother Nero”) so clearly that there would be no question as to who the better brother was.

Still, I griped.

It struck me as so stupid. Stupid fun, sure, but still stupid. The vignettes got weirder and weirder. What started with Matt playing piano and screaming “BROTHER NERO – I KNEW YOU’D COME” before a slow motion Side Effect put Jeff through a table eventually lead to The Final Deletion where Fireworks battles and Dilapidated Boats became the stars.

On top of that, Matt won! He got what he wanted, he beat Jeff, he owned everything Hardy-related. And yet, it continued. Matt remained broken. Jeff would honor stipulations as well as he did when he was EC3’s assistant – that is to say, that for roughly 2 weeks, he sulked and did whatever he wanted while standing next to Matt, until Jeff finally had enough.

Now Jeff, who had fought for months to get Matt’s head right, and who, even while supposedly doing Matt’s bidding, still wasn’t completely on board, was suddenly broken, too. Now he embraced Brother Nero.

And, as you can guess, still I griped.

Sure, I had some fun with it, too. I used the Broken Universe as fodder for my ZeeWI columns, freaking out about Matt attacking fans, launching psychological warfare on his brother, and even using his private residence as a place to attack wrestlers with a variety of weapons and booby-traps.

As it went on, I found myself not only ironically enjoying the Broken Universe, but just simply enjoying it. I still had my usual gripes – this benefits no one but Matt and Jeff Hardy, it doesn’t let anyone else look good, and it leads to anyone who messes with Matt and Jeff to look ridiculous when they end up at a final battle on the Hardy Compound. Decay was completely neutered after Delete or Decay, I felt, and never rebounded, while Lashley and Eddie Edwards even found themselves in a stupid game of Wrestling in the Woods during their visit to the Compound.

When the Hardys regained the TNA Tag Team Titles, I had hoped (stupidly, at this point) that we would finally see the end of the Broken Universe. That there’d be some silly video showing the Seven Deities leaving Matt’s vessel, and that he’d go from Broke to Woke, having made amends with all that once troubled his soul, and doing so all in one year.

Sadly, this was not to be. Instead, both brothers would double down on their Broken personas, with Matt even offering to free Brother Nero to be his Jeffiest best, and Jeff instead choosing to remain Broken, because the fashion is way better or something. And once that decision was made, Matt would be hit with another premonition, one that claimed that the two would embark on a quest to become the greatest tag team in all of space and time.

While they would constantly name drop teams like WWE’s New Day and Ring of Honor’s Young Bucks (Day of the New and Bucks of Youth, if you will), Matt and Jeff would back up their huge claims by winning “Mexico’s tag team titles” at the highly respected Lucha Crash promotion when they defeated Psicosis and Super Crazy. While not the AAA or CMLL titles many probably assumed when Matt said they’d win the Mexican tag titles, it was still a pretty neat thing to see on Impact.

This would be repeated when the Hardys would be shown winning the Mid-Atlantic and MCW tag team championships, getting their total up to four tag team championships in their possession. All were helpfully shown on Impact in vignette form.

It seemed like Matt’s premonition would come true. Until real life got involved, as it usually does.

News came out this week that Matt and Jeff Hardy had not re-signed with Impact, and were in fact done with the company. Super Important Reby Sky even sent out a few threatening Tweets, because there is no one more valuable in the wrestling scene than Reby Sky! Watch out! She might make you listen to that accent of hers.

The rumor mill went further, claiming that Matt and Jeff are in talks with WWE, who are very interested in their return. With New Day acting as hosts for WrestleMania this year, there’s even some hope that the Hardys can sign in time to have some type of altercation at the biggest show of the year.

Yet, still, I gripe.

A year and a half went into rebuilding Matt Hardy. The entirety of 2016 was devoted to Matt Hardy and his Broken Universe. He and Jeff won every meaningful match they were put into. Jeff was given World Title shots while still a tag team champion. They were completely protected, with any of their losses made to look as fluky as possible.

And now, there is absolutely no pay off to any of it. No one at Impact Wrestling benefitted from wrestling The Broken Hardys in 2016, outside of getting a little additional TV time. No one got over because of it. Champions were rendered secondary to the act. And now, it’s all simply over. We’ll probably have a tournament or something to fill the vacant tag team championship positions. Or maybe we’ll take care of it all in one night. Either way, no one in the company was able to beat these guys. Not Decay. Not the brand new and needing some heat DCC.

Impact fell all over themselves for the two, and now they leave, and they leave with some apparently sour feelings over how they were treated.

Only attacking a fan is a more ridiculous thing from Hardy than feeling disrespected in any way by the company that made him a two time World Champion and basically let him make the company his own playground for the final seven months of 2016.

And with that, we have to assume, the Broken Universe may be done. There’s definitely a chance that WWE allows Matt and Jeff to run with it, but I can’t see it continuing on in the way it existed in Impact. Maybe they keep the ring gear. Maybe Matt still talks in an odd manner. But I doubt WWE allows the full experience with The Compound, the Ancillary Characters, the Fireworks, the holograms, and all that other stuff.

Which, if I’m honest, makes me want to gripe.

Because at this point, I don’t want the Hardys to be anything but Broken. They’re just not as fun when they’re normal.

So yeah, maybe I spent all sorts of time and energy griping about something, only to miss it when it looks like it’ll be gone. And maybe I didn’t give enough credit to Matt Hardy for the work he put into reinventing himself two separate times in 2016 alone. Maybe.

What I’d like, if it’s really coming to an end, is just one more fully Broken video. Indulge me in some fantasy vignette producing…

They’re outside, approaching a tall fence. It’s foggy. There’s skulls on the fence posts. There’s a giant door to enter, but it’s locked. Matt and Jeff, with their sets of tag team titles, approach. We see a sign reading “Meek Mahan Land.” There’s a bin next to the door. Matt looks to Jeff, who nods back. Matt places one of his belts into the bin. The door slowly opens a bit. He puts the rest of his belts in, and the door opens slightly more. Jeff then follows, until his Impact Tag Title is the final belt. He places it in the bin, which causes the door to finally open completely allowing them to enter.

Matt looks at Jeff. “Delightful!”

Jeff begins to walk through the door as Matt looks back at the camera. “All we needed to regain entry to Meek Mahan Land was to collect all of these worthless belts, first!”

They both pass through the door, the bin containing the belts explodes in flames, and the WWE Hardys theme begins to play.

So long, Broken Hardys? Who knows. Either way, thanks for the WONDERFUL memories.

It’s All Wrestling. It’s All Silly. We All Love It.

article topics :

GFW Impact, The Hardy Boyz, TNA, Dino Zee