In 1996, Hulk Hogan, perhaps desperate to remain relevant, turned heel for the first time in 15 years, joining fellow veterans Scott Hall & Kevin Nash to form the New World Order in WCW. Unfortunately, what should've been a short-term storyline, no more than 6-10 months tops, in this writer's opinion, became bloated and spiraled out of control because Eric Bischoff, seeing the ratings, played the gimmick into the ground. While the concept has been refreshed by the Bullet Club, it still runs the risk of reverting to stagnation. We'll discuss that another day.
20 years after the foundation of the nWo, another veteran wrestler went on a radical path that fans have embraced, but an uninformed fan might think he's gone completely insane.
That would be Matt Hardy, or, as he prefers to be known now, "Broken" Matt Hardy. The only thing broken about him, though, is in his head.
What started as a feud with brother Jeff in TNA morphed into something completely crazy. In time, Jeff was "deleted" after a sort, and was being billed under his middle name, Nero, subservient to Matt, who was affecting a British accent better than Booker T ever did. It's clear that instead of solving Jeff's substance abuse issues, which have gotten Jeff in trouble with both WWE & TNA, Matt seems to be indulging himself on the same bong. How else to explain Matt's year old son, Maxel, becoming the youngest wrestler in recorded history, even though the "match" with Rockstar Spud in North Carolina last month was a total farce in every sense of the word?
We can get behind the idea that Matt saved enough money from his time in WWE, Ring of Honor, and his earlier tenure in TNA to buy a drone (Vanguard 1) and hire a personal gardener. However, every gimmick has its expiration date, as the nWo found out the hard way.
At Ring of Honor's Final Battle PPV last month, Matt appeared on the video screen to cut a promo on the ROH tag champs, the Young Bucks, who happen to be friends of the Hardys. At the subsequent taping, as shown last week, the Bucks took a drone, pretended it was Vanguard 1, without mentioning it by name, and superkicked it. At the recently concluded TNA tapings, Matt talked about making challenges to not only the Bucks, but to "The Day That is New" (New Day) and the Wyatt Family, unaware that neither team now holds titles. Not surprisingly, reports say that WWE has expressed interest in bringing back the Hardys if TNA doesn't re-sign them when their contracts expire next month. If TNA doesn't beat the "Broken" gimmick into the ground, WWE almost certainly will.
TNA may be finding new viewers on Pop-TV (formerly the TV Guide Channel) with Matt & Jeff's stoner-inspired antics, but they'll lose those viewers if they don't improve the overall product. The "Broken" Hardys may have saved TNA from extinction for now, but extinction, or, in their parlance, deletion, is still a very real possibility. For the sake of the brothers' health, there must needs be an ending to this silly fairy tale, and soon.