2016 was the year of Matt Hardy. While other wrestlers put on better matches, no one quite captured the imagination of the wrestling world like the Broken Brilliance of the older Hardy brother. So great was his pull and alluring his gimmick that TNA enamoured themselves around him and his brother. Yet as we move through 2017, it seems that the Hardy Brothers are destined to make their WWE return. The big question in all this – is this a good fit for them?
The idea of Matt and Jeff Hardy returning to WWE is one that’s hung around for a good number of years. Both men left the company under clouds – Matt doing all he could to earn his release while Jeff’s increasingly erratic behaviour made parting an inevitability. Since then both men have travelled various paths, Jeff rising the quickest but arguably falling the hardest as his stint in TNA became dogged with scandal. Matt though has found a second wind in the past 18 months, creating a character that not only captured the TNA audiences attention; it reverberated through the industry.
From the indies, where he became a tent pole attraction, to WWE; where Creative desperately tried (and hauntingly failed) to recreate the magic that Hardy had captured. Say what you want about the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick – it’s worked wonders on his career and made the second tier Hardy Brother the main attraction.
This goes some way to explaining why the news of Matt and Jeff Hardy leaving TNA has captured wrestling fans attention. With Wrestlemania looming on the horizon and a tag-team division in desperate need of fresh direction – it seems the stars have aligned for everyone. But the question to ask among all this – would WWE be a good fit for the Hardy Brothers?
Remember this is a company that squanders talent like there’s a fire sale in gimmick aisle. Some of the best wrestlers in the world have been woefully underutilised under the company’s watch. Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes are just recent examples of great talent that WWE’s Creative team sank the potential of – with The Nexus probably the biggest single Creative mis-fire in the company’s history. Sadly seems awkwardly immune to good ideas – with the best ideas being born from fan reaction and frustration. The Shield was arguably the last great idea WWE had when it came to a legitimate new idea – and that was three years ago.
I can’t envision a situation where he’s allowed the kind of creative freedom that’s been afforded to him in TNA, and I worry that under WWE’s Creative tenure, Matt may be forced to include various silly ideas that ultimately sink the entire ship. Worse still, WWE may even go the full hog and force Matt to incorporate their bizarre brand of humor into proceedings. The kind of humor that lumbered Gallows and Anderson with a skit-comedy gimmick throughout 2016. The kind of humor that made Nattie, one of the best women wrestlers ever in the company, endure a six month farting gimmick several years back.
If Matt Hardy is to flourish in WWE then he needs to be allowed to grow his character. There’s no point in neutering the character and scaling it down to fit WWE’s corporate requirements. If he can’t go full blood with it, there’s no point in trying to make it happen. Then again, perhaps WWE’s PG rating may help to curtail some of the more awkward aspects of the character. As fun as some of the matches at the Hardy compound have been, would they work in a WWE PPV?
Which is a shame because Matt and Jeff Hardy are desperately needed in the tag division right now. No offence to The New Day but their drifting only highlights how directionless the Raw tag-team division is right now. Smackdown’s isn’t much better in fairness, pointing to a lack of depth and quality across the board. The re-introduction of the Hardy’s might help to stimulate interest again.
For Matt and Jeff, the future is their own. The fact they’re being linked so heavily to WWE shows how well their current situation is working for them. They have options and that’s great in an industry where options are usually reserved for the few. I just hope that if WWE is their desired destination, they don’t break what made them great.