wrestling / Columns

The Final Deletion: A Piece of Brilliance

July 7, 2016 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
Image Credit: Impact Wrestling

You have to hand it to TNA and the Hardy Brothers. For a brief period, and especially for one night, they made people care again. Say what you will about Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, TNA, and the Final Deletion, but you can’t say that they didn’t get people talking. Some people loved it and will keep watching, willing to give TNA a chance (or another chance) because the Hardys hooked them in, but guys like Bobby Lashley, Ethan Carter III, and Drew Galloway were able to keep them around. Some people thought it was a great one-time spectacle, enjoyed it for what it was, and will simply move on. Others hated it and were always going to hate it because it involved the Hardy’s, two guys who peaked many years ago. No matter which category you fall in, you were still talking about it.

Despite the over the top theatrics, the story they told was a rather simple one. Matt Hardy hates his brother Jeff. He hates him for costing him titles and beating him in matches, but truthfully, he hates him for all the years that he had to play second fiddle. Jeff was always the bigger star. He won the world titles in WWE, he had the natural charisma, he had the memorable moments in the big matches. Matt had to work twice as hard and was still scrutinized. Jeff could screw up and was still glorified. It all led to Matt being “broken” and turning in the greatest performance of his life.

“Broken” Matt Hardy’s motivation was obvious. “Delete Jeff Hardy.” Delete Jeff from using the Hardy name. Delete his wrestling history from existence like a user deleting their browser history at the end of the day. It all culminated at The Final Deletion, a masterpiece spectacle that Matt brilliantly pieced together.

The story would end where it started, in the backyard. This is the first piece of brilliance laid out by Matt. The Hardy’s started out as backyard wrestlers where they played by their own rules. There were no fans around to distract Matt and cheer on Jeff. Matt brought it all back to simpler times before the fanfare, the merchandise deals, the titles, and the accolades. He brought it back to when it was just them, when he felt in his heart that he would be the more successful of the two. By luring Jeff to his battleground and getting him to fight on his terms, Matt took the first step in his deletion of Jeff.

The match itself was over the top and insane, but don’t be fooled by the fireworks and murder attempts, there was a story being told. The ivy fence represented the differences between both men during their careers. Matt wanted to be the white fence, the perfect babyface who everyone loved and wanted to cheer for. Jeff was the ivy, growing in all directions and uncontained as he constantly overshadowed his brother. The ladder is an obvious representation of their most famous matches. The fireworks was Matt trying to destroy Jeff with his own flashiness and a callback to his feud with CM Punk, Jeff’s most famous singles feud. Jeff protecting himself with nothing more than a trash can lid was their way of showing just how bulletproof Jeff has been throughout his career. On the other hand, Matt needed “a dilapidated boat” to protect himself because he’s never been able to get away with mistakes like Jeff. This is a man who was released from WWE after they found out his girlfriend cheated on him. The lake and Matt’s attempt to drown his brother was their careers drowning before TNA saved them as resurrected both of them, just like Willow appearing when Matt thought things were finished.

The final moment is Matt’s coup de grace. There’s absolutely no reason for there to be a large Hardy symbol in the middle of the battlefield, except that there is. A small tombstone would not suffice. Matt planted that symbol there, along with the ladder next to it, because he knew that Jeff could not control himself. He knew that Jeff would, at some point, climb the symbol and jump off of it. Despite there being no crowd to appease, Jeff is Jeff. He climbed a tree earlier in the match and he was going to climb this symbol. Once he ascended the symbol, Reby appeared and handed Matt a “1” candle that was a birthday candle for their son, but was truly a symbol that showed there could only be 1 Hardy and that Hardy would be Version 1 Matt Hardy. The lit candle was used to set fire to Jeff and the Hardy symbol, burning the Jeff Hardy brand down once and for all.

The Final Deletion was a classic. Whether you picked up on the small details or not doesn’t really matter. The Hardys and TNA put together a piece of television art. It had something for everyone. If you just wanted crazy action and explosives straight out of a Michael Bay movie, you got it. If you wanted storytelling that rivaled The Wire, you got it. If you wanted two men throwing themselves into this thing with everything they had, you got it. It’s not something that can be done often, if ever again, but it’s something that was beautiful and memorable and should be cherished until the end of time.

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