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Csonka: In Praise of The Hardy’s Short ROH Run

April 14, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka

Welcome back to column time with Larry. Today I’d like to discuss something that hasn’t received a lot of attention (due to their WWE return), and that is the Hardy’s short ROH run. This feud with the Young Bucks was to span 6-9 months, between ROH & Impact, with the teams trading the tag titles of the two companies, and appearing on each other’s TV. But then things went south and the formerly broken brothers left Impact, and became free agents. In many ways the Hardys ROH run was a big smoke screen to throw people off of their WWE return, there were even reports that surfaced the day before Mania that the brothers had agreed to stay with ROH through the summer. This of course was not the case as they finished with ROH at Supercard of Honor and returned to WWE the next day…

You knew they’d come… At the 2016 Final Battle event, The Young Bucks defeated The Briscoes in a great co-main event match to retain the ROH tag team titles. Once the match was over, and the Bucks celebrated, the lights dropped and broken Matt Hardy appeared on the big screen to a great reaction. He teased that he and The Nefarious Brother Nero may head to the honorable ring in order to procure more tag team gold; they warned the spot monkeys known as the Bucks of Youth and the ramshackled rednecks known as The Briscoes that if they came to ROH, that they would be deleted.

Manhattan Mayhem brings a surprise appearance and challenge to the Bucks of Youth: Three months after that video message, and with the brothers being done with Impact wrestling, they made a surprise appearance at the Manhattan Mayhem event. The Bucks had just defeated Lio Rush & Jay White to retain their tag team titles, and then, Broken Matt and The Nefarious Brother Nero made their appearance, but not on video this time. They once again made their intentions known, they wanted the tag team titles, and issued an impromptu challenge to the Bucks. The thing is that the Hardys had the advantage of surprise, with the knowledge that the Bucks are so full of themselves that they wouldn’t turn it down, even though they had just worked a 12-minute match. They used their time very well, and were able to get away with doing a little less, because the crowd was absolutely loving anything and everything they did; this was the most over thing on the show with ease. I think putting the title on the Hardys here was the smart move, as it allows them to build into the important match over Mania weekend and also got the Hardys on PPV in what was a great match with the Bucks and RPG Vice. The Hardys come in for a short run, ROH gets a bump in interest from them, and the Hardys get to add another title to their long list of accomplishments; it was a win-win for all involved. This came off well, felt like a big deal and the Bucks lost nothing; they’re essentially bullet proof, especially because they just worked a match before accepting this challenge. [***½]

Winner Take All – Despite Legal Threats, the Show Goes on & the Legend Grows: The Young Bucks were to defend the ROH tag team titles against Roppongi Vice at the ROH Winner Takes All (15th Anniversary PPV). But with the Hardys now holding the gold, the match turned into a triple threat street fight, with the titles on the line. Considering that Impact threatened legal action in the form on a cease and desist letter, claiming ownership of the Broken gimmick, and then the guys having to re-book the layout of the match 40-minutes before the bell to take out all of the Broken stuff that was worked into the match, it’s amazing that the match was so good. On top of that, the fact that it was made late (due to the Hardys title win) it had a uprising amount of heat and they more than delivered on the stipulation. They had the best match on the show, with everyone getting a chance to shine (Trent tried to steal the show, he’s been the best part of every match he’s been in so far in 2017; he’s awesome), and the Broken Brothers retaining. [****½]

March 29th – The Broken Brothers Defend Against The Ramshackled Rednecks: For years fans had wanted to see the Briscoes vs. The Hardys on a big tome stage, unfortunately their meetings had been relegated to the independent scene. So ROH was smart and booked a match for TV, where they cold get the most out of it. They had a good TV match, one I am glad that they were able to fit in during the Hardys run. It was a bit unfortunate that it was so rushed, because the match was mainly there to put over the Hardys on their way to the Supercard of Honor ladder match with the Bucks. The clash with the Briscoes wasn’t the dream match many had envisioned, but it was a good match that got the Hardys on TV ahead of the Supercard of Honor match. This was good. [***]

Supercard of Honor – The Hardys Turn Back Time: And it all built to this, ROH’s big WrestleMania weekend event, Supercard of Honor. The show did the biggest attendance and gate of any ROH show in history, and due to demand, was changed to an iPPV to take full advantage and make as much money as possible on the event. They would have done some VOD business, but with live iPPV and the VOD that came with it, fans could purchase the show, and still take in NXT or the WWN Supershow live. It was a very smart business move, and while I am sure the Hardys didn’t come cheap, I really think that ROH made the most our of the Hardys run.

The match was a ladder match, which was the perfect match to make for these teams. The match was everything I hoped for when it was announced, it was four guys, killing themselves for 25-minutes to steal the show, and the weekend. And that’s what they did, they stole the show (which was a very good show), and put on the best match of WrestleMania weekend, and then, after doing the clean job, put over the Bucks as the best team that they had ever faced. And my respect for Matt & Jeff is through the roof after this, they brought in the fans and could have taken the night off and lived off of playing the hits considering their WWE return was in 24-hours, on the biggest stage of the year, in another ladder match. But they went all out, and they were once again the Hardys that everyone originally fell in love with. I love those beautiful. broken bastards.

The Hardys short ROH run was fucking great, with a very good match at Manhattan Mayhem with the Bucks, a good TV match with the Briscoes on ROH TV, the awesome street fight with the Bucks and Roppongi Vice, helping to draw this huge crowd in Florida and then, one last time, taking a trip in the wayback machine to recapture some of their old magic in this match. This had all of the wild and crazy spots you’d hope for, some great drama and the Hardys pulling off another big time performance, and the Bucks doing everything in their power to help them do so. The Hardys stole WrestleMania weekend; thanks for the house, boys. [****¾]

– Wrestling in 2017 is amazing because we get stuff like this.

So what did their run accomplish?
* It got ROH some much needed buzz.
* It gave ROH a sense that cool things can happen at any point.
* We got a short, but quality Hardys vs. Briscoes TV match.
* It gave us two of ROH’s best matches of the year.
* It proved that while the Broken gimmick revitalized their careers, that the brothers were more than the gimmick and could still deliver in big time matches.
* It gave ROH its best gate & attendance in company history.
* The end saw The Hardys, a team looked at as the most poplar and loved tag team of their generation, putting over a team looked at by many as the most poplar tag team of this generation.
* It was great.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”