Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage
Is Matt Hardy’s gimmick broken? It’s fair to say it’s not having the same levels of success as it had over in TNA. With that in mind, in today’s Sunday Sermon we’ll look at the current Matt Hardy run in the WWE and where it goes next.
Craig: For months we waited. We longed for the Hardy Boys nostalgia reunion to give way to the gimmicks that made them so entertaining in recent years over in TNA.
Sure, it would take a while for the legal issues to be resolved but it would be worth the wait, right? Well, it’s starting to become obvious that maybe, in fact, it wasn’t worth the wait.
After the initial strong burst, the reaction is noticeably weaker to the delete chants. I don’t put the blame fully on Hardy. After all, in TNA entire shows and PPVs were built around him. In the WWE he gets twenty or so minutes for a match and moments for a promo. It was always going to be hard. Through in a programme with Bray Wyatt, was it doomed from the outset?
Jamie: Hands up, I don’t get it. I obviously knew of the ‘Broken’ gimmick from TNA, but – like a lot of WWE viewers – I don’t watch TNA. My knowledge of the Broken Hardys largely came from watching videos on YouTube to see what all the fuss was about. I assume there was a backstory in TNA as to why such an experienced and well-known wrestler like Matt Hardy would ‘break’ and go all weird, right? Has he had that in WWE? Maybe he has and I missed it, but it feels like something announcers should be hammering home to get his weirdness over, but they don’t. I also don’t like his feud with Bray Wyatt, largely because he’s weird too. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Woken (or Broken) Matt Hardy to feud with a ‘normal’ Superstar to emphasise just how nuts he has become?
Also – and I don’t want to totally shit over this gimmick because I want to like it – it just all feels a little 2016.
Brian: Woken Matt seems to me at least for now… to be a toned down version of his Broken character. Where is his biting of wrestlers ears? Where are his “Great War” segments with his wife Reby and son Maxel? Where is Senor Benjamin? No ‘Lake Of Reincarnation’ or Vanguard 1? It’s hard to say how popular the Broken gimmick really was because it was done in TNA/ Impact wrestling where there is far less viewership than WWE programming.
All I know is, it was very popular for TNA standards and was for a long while…the only real must see stuff they had. I agree with Jamie that the gimmick seemed rushed on Matt. As if they finally had legal possession of the gimmick so quickly slap it on Matt before the judge changes his mind. Matt Hardy slowly and gradually became “Broken” by losing the TNA world title and losing his feud with his brother Jeff Hardy. Which brings us to the other element missing from the original gimmick…no Brother Nero.
Jeff ‘Brother Nero’ Hardy was just as important to the gimmick as Matt was and all these elements have not been a part of the Woken version. Maybe WWE is saving them all for Wrestlemania? Let’s hope so…because the Broken/Woken gimmick can work if done right to a larger scale of fans. Bringing in Jeremy Borash from TNA/Impact was a bigger deal than most fans will realize. He along with Matt put together all those great video segments in TNA. Having him aboard will truly help the gimmick get over better I feel.
Jamie: I understand that Matt Hardy now has ownership of the gimmick and its trademarks, including the ‘Broken’ name and ‘Brother Nero’. I, therefore, hope that Brian is right and that going forward we will start to see more of what made the gimmick so popular in TNA. I feel like his feud with Bray Wyatt is almost like a preview of things to come. I hope so anyway, otherwise, it’s just a crappy feud!
As Brother Nero is such an important part of the gimmick, WWE may have a second bite at this particular cherry by portraying Jeff’s descent into madness, because they sure as shit rushed Matt’s. Matt could even play it off as if he has been waiting for his brother to join him. This would make sense because I don’t buy Matt Hardy in the WWE singles ranks, but as a team, with Jeff/Nero it’s a different story.
Waiting is the word for this whole gimmick in my eyes. Matt, the WWE and the fans have been waiting to see it and yeah, they jumped the gun a little, but by all accounts, they now have the green light to use the gimmick in its entirety so there is no need to merely dip their proverbial toes in the water.
Brian: Definitely, as of now the feud with Bray Wyatt is horrible and has done nothing to elevate anyone. All we have really seen is a laughing battle between Bray and Woken Matt. They had a very unmemorable match at the Manhattan Center for Raw’s 25th anniversary but not much else. A lot of key pieces of this storyline are missing. Does that mean if/when they add Jeff Hardy, Maxel, Senor Benjamin it will all work?
It is hard to tell. I mean how many casual fans will “get this?” Do they really care enough about Matt Hardy and the Broken universe he created in TNA? What will this do to Bray Wyatt too? Bray has been lost ever since he lost his WWE title last year to Randy Orton. He needs another big run. He needs a Wyatt family to assist him in this feud with Matt.
Craig: Jamie is right, the WWE does have a second bite of the cherry when Brother Nero is back but I am not convinced they’ll, by that stage, not just be adding extra layers to something that isn’t working. Although something involving a Wyatt Family and the Hardys may be fun, how many times do we need to see the Wyatt Family get back together?! I think, on a number of levels, a programme with Bray Wyatt just now is a hospital pass for anyone.
Brian: Craig, I don’t know if Jeff Hardy will help this gimmick get over. He may or he may not. I am not talking about a Wyatt family reunion with Harper and Rowan. What about a new Wyatt family with new members? Maybe War Machine?
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.