wrestling / Columns

Will Not Die: Matt Hardy as a TNA Main Eventer

January 16, 2016 | Posted by Dino Zee

Writer’s note: I’m going to break from my usual protocol and discuss some spoiler-related stuff this week. So, if you’ve not read spoilers, you may want to either proceed with caution, or come back another time. This is your one warning: SPOILERS BELOW!!!

This past Impact, we saw Matt Hardy lay the challenge on the line to current TNA World Heavyweight Champion, MY BOY, Ethan Carter III (EC3 to his friends). EC3 was at first against the idea, proclaiming that he’d beaten Matt time and time again, and that he didn’t deserve a shot at the belt. It was quite the logical conclusion for EC3 to make, considering he had just defeated Hardy (again) cleanly for the title the week before!

Credit to the superstar from North Cackalacki however, as he came up with a plan that he figured would guarantee him one… more… match, putting his career on the line. Suddenly, EC3 became very receptive to the idea, and it was announced that this coming Impact would see the rematch take place.

Of course, many TNA fans may be at the brink of exhaustion when it comes to these two going at it, and that’s more than fair. This feud has never really made sense, with Hardy failing time and time again to get it done on his own, only to have to rely on his brother acting as a cheating official to finally get one over on EC3 (without beating EC3, of course). At the same time, EC3 would have most likely earned an immediate rematch, but instead made everything more difficult on everyone (himself included) by invoking the legal action that caused the entire World Title Series to take place, and end with a final match of, as stated, Matt Hardy vs. EC3.

So I’m not afraid to admit that when this match was signed, I was annoyed. It just doesn’t make any sense from any standpoint, honestly. Even the This is EC3’s chance to get rid of Hardy forever! rationale doesn’t really hold, because a) he’s beaten the man repeatedly and b) Hardy’s probably not gonna get another shot at EC3 again anyways, so why even bother giving in to the request? Let the dumb hick stew in his shortcomings, knowing that as long as you’re champ, he won’t get any more chances. That’s what I’d do were I a scripted heel on a wrestling program.

But it’s TNA, and the last name is “Hardy,” and so being surprised at his placement on the card should be the least surprising thing in the world, and we should just be happy that Matt doesn’t get the same unbeatable treatment that his hulking brother Jeff does.

The next day, I made the mistake of checking out some Impact spoilers. Normally I avoid spoilers, but sometimes I just can’t help myself, and I know that I’ll most likely be watching no matter what because I’m a giant dork that loves to watch wrestling. And as I read the spoilers, I saw that Matt Hardy will capture the TNA World Championship from EC3 in their rematch, and will do so after receiving help from Tyrus, with EC3 possibly coming out of the whole thing a babyface.

That’s right – we’ve added a Double Turn to the Feud That No One Cares About!

Now it’s gonna be a classic!

No, not that kind of classic.

And that leaves me here, waiting a few more days until I tune into Impact, and I watch a program with an ending that I detest. Let’s put all the cards on the table: I’m not a big Matt Hardy fan. In fact, at this point, I’d say I’m simply not a Matt Hardy fan at all. I loved the V1 days. I loved the feud with MVP, and I loved the split with Jeff and match at WrestleMania 25. That was probably, if I can recall correctly, the last time I was excited about the prospect of a Matt Hardy match.

This isn’t an indictment of the man, either. I don’t care what he does in his personal life. I just know that Matt Hardy hasn’t entertained me in nearly 7 years, so I’m a little confused as to why TNA puts so much stock into him.

I’m also probably offending the Wait and See crew by dogging a match without having seen it, so let me put your fears to rest: I don’t care how good the match may be, I still feel the result is the wrong one, and that’s what angers me. Whether they go out and tear the place down for 25 minutes, or they give us yet another half speed 8 minute encounter is really irrelevant to me. Just wanted to clear that up.

And did I mention that, on the same show the challenge was laid out, that Drew Galloway lost to Kurt Angle for some odd reason? Imagine if Drew had stepped up to challenge EC3, angry at how his rightful 1 on 1 match was turned into a 3 way because Dixie loves the Hardyz, and how a dirty referee drastically affected the outcome of the match? How EC3 has yet to prove that he can defeat Galloway? And then Matt Hardy could have had the “honor” of being one of Kurt Angle’s chosen fall guys on his way out? Would that have been so bad?

Look, frustration isn’t hatred, and I’m not hating on TNA. I’m just frustrated that this Matt Hardy Reclamation Project has taken over six months of my time, and led to TNA effectively spinning its wheels for the last three. It’s frustrating because the company is right there on the verge with young talent that could easily carry them for the next five to ten years, but we’re still preoccupied with what currently amount to nostalgia acts. It’s 2016, and you’re promoting Matt Hardy as your World Champion? I can’t possibly be the only one who considers this a puzzling option at best.

Hell, they just signed a new guy in Mike Bennett, and in one week, they have him go from cutting a promo to a huge arrival, to doing backstage nonsense with EC3. Because Matt Hardy needs that airtime?

No one cares about Mike Bennett.” Neat.

The question, of course, is where we go with Matt Hardy once he’s taken the belt from EC3. The most obvious call – and leading speculation – is Matt vs. Jeff, as soon as Slammiversary, and as late as Bound for Glory. Man, if we absolutely must do this, I’d really like it if I don’t have to watch Matt hobble around as champ for the next 8 months or so until Bound for Glory comes around.

On top of that, didn’t we just use Bound for Glory as a universal Hardy Wank, Brought to You By TNA? We had Matt celebrating with the belt, his wife and kid there, Jeff in there, Papa Hardy in there… wasn’t that enough?

But even if we just go along with this plan, and say “Sure, building to Matt vs. Jeff at a bigger show is a smart move,” the question remains – who else does Matt Hardy wrestle? We’ve seen enough of him against EC3, even if they reverse the roles. Matt Hardy vs. Lashley isn’t compelling (to me). Matt Hardy vs. Drew could work, but that only leads to another Drew loss, which would be ridiculous.

Nearly everyone on the roster moves better than Matt at this point, so we’ll have a champion who needs to be made to look good every time out, which is a detriment to the younger guys who can absolutely put together entertaining matches without needing the other guy to do all the heavy lifting.

So even if we were to blow this off at Slammiversary, we’re still looking at a solid four to five months with Hardy as champion, with the obvious conclusion that he loses to Jeff, right?

And no, I haven’t forgotten about Tyrus. I just don’t see him taking the belt from Matt. Maybe once Jeff beats Matt, but I don’t see it happening any time before that. As always, I’m not a psychic, and I can easily have this dead wrong.

What had seemed like a company looking to the future with the new year has quickly turned back into the same old crap when it comes to TNA. We get it, TNA: you guys love the Hardy Boys, and you’ll give them any belt that they want. But they’re getting near the end, and Matt’s arguably been beyond that point for a while, at least for the level at which you’d like to keep him.

Eventually, though, Matt and Jeff are going to be gone. At that point, will you have sacrificed your entire roster to the cause of keeping them on top? Or can we finally reach the point that we have them lose to younger guys with way more upside so that the future isn’t completely wrecked? Or should I just accept that Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy = John Cena and Randy Orton, and there’s nothing that will remove them from the top besides retirement?

Come on, TNA. I know they can be addictive, but you’ve got to shake the Hardy reliance. You have plenty of bright stars; open your eyes and take them in.


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article topics :

Impact Wrestling, Matt Hardy, TNA, Dino Zee