Any WWE fan can see that Matt Hardy has been in a bit of a slump as of late, since brother Jeff has been injured and off television. Without a bonefide partner, Hardy has been out of tag team division action, had a minor role on the Survivor Series Preshow, and has had little when it comes to storylines on Monday Night RAW.
Still, while we could all see this as fan, you know something is up when Michael Cole mentions a slump on commentary.
It’s clear, WWE mainstream audiences are the cusp of seeing the Broken Matt character emerge: an out-of-the box persona that was first seen in May 2016 and has received a lot of attention from the wrestling world, considering Hardy debuted him in TNA.
I truly believe that the attention that Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero received from wrestling fans, those in the industry, and the greater sports entertainment community as a whole was one of the major factors that brought the Boyz back to their WWE home. While I’m very excited at the idea of seeing the Broken gimmick roll out on RAW, I’m nervous too; worried that Creative may mess it up. After all, Broken Matt on TNA was a main event character and given plenty of air time on the show to truly relay a message and connect with audiences.
Broken Matt’s success was around a time when TNA was struggling to stay above water and the its success reminds me of that old idea around the chances you take when you have nothing to lose. I guess what I’m implying is I don’t think there were many people limiting Hardy creatively with the gimmick; TNA was a sinking ship and really, when you have nothing to lose, you’ll take incredible chances. Big chances involve big risks and big risks can often turn into success. Which is what the Broken gimmick experienced.
The WWE certainly is not in that position at all right now and I question the amount of creative control Hardy will have over this storyline as it rolls out. I would have also liked to have seen more of a lead up to Broken Matt, and that may still happen. But the fact that Michael Cole mentioned that Hardy was in a slump as of late at the beginning of the match and then Matt started his ‘delete’ chant at the end of the match with Bray Wyatt leads me to believe that if Broken Matt doesn’t appear next RAW (which would be rushed in my opinion either way), he’s sure to appear the following. I’d also don’t like the fact that this seems like an upper-mid-card program when it should really be a headlining story. That said, here are some of things I’d like to see happen with Broken Matt, once he debuts in the WWE.
DO Stay True To The Character: Broken Matt achieved tremendous popularity outside the WWE for a good reason. The character was something different for what pro wrestling fans are used to seeing. There were cheesy moments, but all in all, the Broken character walked of a fine line of ridiculous and mesmerizing, which made for great wrestling television. His attack on brother Jeff worked well and the evolution of the Brother Nero story brought things full circle. If WWE Creative can stay true to the character, costume, verbiage, actions, etc., many fans that haven’t been exposed to Broken Matt in the past will feel finally feel like a part of his story and those that have been there since the beginning will have a surreal moment seeing him in the WWE and gain an incredible sense of nostalgia in the process. Those feels get wrestling fans all the time and this is a story that can evoke these kinds of emotions.
DON’T Rush It: I was hoping for a bit more teasing about a Broken Matt return. The ‘delete’ after his Wyatt match was cool, but a bit of downer because you know it’s coming; there’s no wondering. If I was part of WWE Creative and rolling this out, I may have had Matt drop some bigger hints via promos first. Not just a ‘wonderful’ here and there; I would have him go in and out of Broken and regular Matt within the segment. Not to say that this can’t or won’t happen still, but as much as I want Broken Matt to return, I also wanted to sit and wonder if he was coming back. I wanted to be able to say, ‘is this going to happen or not?’ Or ‘how is this going to happen?’
DO Make It Bigger: With Brock Lesnar and his Universal Championship on hiatus, RAW has the time to roll out the return of Broken Matt in a bigger fashion. The high-level programs going on right now are good, but Broken Matt entering the WWE … well that is something we all thought would never happen (thanks to lawsuits, etc.) … and it should be a bit grander. If he is coming, and if the idea is that his first program would be with Bray Wyatt, I want to see a bit more hoopla around. Wyatt and Hardy were going at it on Twitter before Matt returned to the WWE, staying in their respective personas while posting on social media; and everyone went nuts for it. Fans want to see this program and see it go big. The Wyatt/Hardy match on RAW was underwhelming. I want to see Wyatt play massive head games with Matt until he’s forced to unleash Broken on Bray. I would like to see this as more of headlining main event that a filler and right now, it has the feels of a filler storyline, as these men haven’t been up to much lately.
DON’T Forget The Family: The one thing that struck me about TNA’s Broken gimmick with the Hardys was that it involved the entire family. You had Matt, Jeff, wifey Reby, Señor Benjamin (Reby’s dad), and King Maxel. It reminded me of the old days in wrestling when real-life blurred into storylines. When Ric Flair had his entire family were involved in storylines in WCW or the Harts would bring in a member or two once in a while when it came to program. Remember when Jake the Snake’s wife was included in his program with Rick Rude back in the day? I know some that are turned off by this in storylines, but I like it. I’m pretty sure the WWE is going to shy away from bringing toddlers or babies into that squared circle for any program (sorry, Wolfie), but I must be honest, I felt the entire Broken family had some sort of role to play in the gimmick’s success. To stay true to why it was originally successful would mean to stay true to this element of Broken. It’s a long shot, Señor Benjamin could make an appearance, but something tells me the kids and Reby will stay backstage. Still, how cool would it be if Broken Hardy versus Bray Wyatt meant that Wyatt tries to break Matt by using his family, wife and kids? Could make for some cool promos. I’m thinking Wyatt, rocking Maxel and Wolfie on that chair and playing mind games with Matt in the process.
How it rolls out is anyone’s guess, but here’s hoping that the WWE Creative sees the value in keeping Broken as broken as it was in TNA.
WNZ fans! Are you excited about Broken Matt coming to the WWE? Leave your comments below!