Within the past year, Impact Wrestling was subject to rumors of its demise, lawsuits, and new ownership. Through all of it, the Hardys were a bright spot for the organization in an otherwise turbulent time. First, “Broken” Matt completely reinvented himself, a character that isn’t necessarily for everyone, but undoubtedly generated a cult following. Even more impressive is the fact that Matt Hardy could’ve easily skated through the rest of his career off of the name he made in WWE, but he took a chance and a step forward to progress his career. Jeff Hardy, renamed “Brother Nero” following a feud with Matt, joined the gimmick, and the tag team had a renewed run. The “delete” and “obsolete” monikers were progressive storylines at a time of uncertainty for the company.
Since the Anthem purchase, TNA is stable and some cost cutting measures were used to trim the roster. Reportedly, both of the Hardys’ contracts expire in the next two months, unless an extension was already reached. There was some speculation in recent months that The Hardy could be on the WWE’s radar because of their rejuvenated characters, it’s doubtful either of them depart from TNA.
Matt and Jeff left WWE on less than ideal circumstances more than once at different times so it’s possible neither side would open the door for another business agreement. All things considered, The Hardys don’t really need the platform of the WWE, and the WWE doesn’t really need the star power that they might bring to the table at this point in their careers. There are several different full rosters within the promotion and an entire performance center of young prospects so where would Matt and Jeff fit into the picture? For Matt and Jeff, it was reported that they have creative freedom within their “Deletion” angles so why would they sacrifice the ability to mold their own personas for the strictly structured WWE format? Along with less restrictions on character development, The Hardys don’t have restrictions on working the independent circuit, where they can decide their own schedule and maintain a premium booking fee because of the continuous TV exposure that TNA provides.
As seen recently on Impact, The Hardys will take the TNA tag titles to other promotions, including a match with The Young Bucks for Ring Of Honor during Wrestlemania weekend. For the TNA side of things, the group gets the chance to showcase something very rare for a national pro wrestling company, interpromotional matches, which is something completely different than what fans will see on a WWE show. The other companies involved in this equation get the appearance of the Hardys at their event to boost attendance and the exposure on national TV so basically, everyone wins in this situation. The same could be said for The Young Bucks, a tag team almost exclusive to ROH in America, working some matches for Impact. Even though the teams have worked matches before, both have enhanced their characters since and it would be a different stage. After the bout in ROH in April, why not book a rematch for a possible TNA pay-per-view? Why not maximize the effect of the opportunity for the cross promotion? If there’s a series of matches planned, the tag titles could theoretically switch on different shows before they return to each respective team. An angle where there could be title changes anywhere at any time certainly adds an intriguing aspect to each show.
It’s a harsh reality, but the WWE dominates 95% of the pro wrestling market in the United States, and any other wrestling entities “competing” with each other are simply further dividing a smaller piece of the pie. A mutually beneficial working agree doesn’t hurt any group’s status, but rather ensures stability. Again, the bottom line is, the WWE is recognized as THE example of pro wrestling in this country so other organizations that find their profitable niche is probably the best case scenario. If ROH and the Hardys can work together to provide an entertaining alternative, there’s no downside for anyone involved. Plus, the more credible options there are for the fans, it helps the entire industry.
In fact, the argument could be made that there’s much more the Hardys could do in TNA, depending on the direction that Anthem decides to take the promotion. I’ve written before that it’s extremely important for Impact Wrestling to establish more revenue streams, and the embarrassing house show attendance during the Hogan era highlighted the lack of advertisement for the company. Considering the popularity of the “delete” chants, even on non-TNA shows, if Anthem ran another house show tour, why not promote “Total Nonstop Deletion” house shows to monetize the cult following with The Hardys featured on the card? If there’s the “broken” entrance way and set at the venue, it gives the fans more of a “special event” than simply just a non-televised version of Impact. The nostalgia surprise appearances could be used as another selling point because fans wouldn’t know who might show up at the event.
The bottom line is, the Hardys don’t really need another run in the WWE, and there’s no reason for them to limit themselves to nostalgia run based on the events of a decade ago after generating such a following with their reinvented personas. The importance of options in any industry shouldn’t be overlooked and the working agreements that the Hardys have with the flexibility of their TNA contracts allow for alternative products for the fans.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
E mail firstname.lastname@example.org | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta