“I have #BROKEN down the MORTAL BOUNDARIES of the brain. I SEE ALL.My mind has fully #WOKEN. I AM MORE. I shall DELETE the wicked & CONSUME whatever emotions are EMITTED. I AM MAGIC” - Matt Hardy via his official Twitter page in 2017
It’s safe to say that Matt & Jeff Hardy (The Hardy Boyz) are one of, if not the greatest tag team of all time. Matt along with his brother, were able to stay relevant throughout three different eras, by adapting with the times and enhancing their characters to stay current and in-turn consistently have a genuine and pure connection with the core fan base. Notwithstanding this, Jeff has arguably always been the popular of the two, maybe in part due Jeff being the more ‘high-flying’ of the two during their initial WWE peak back in 2000-2001.
However, Matt has always had a following, those fans who could see Matt’s psychology in his tag-matches and single matches alike, could see that Matt obviously had an eye for what makes a match work at the most foundational level and this quality is invaluable both from a business perspective but from also a fan-service level. Matt’s entire career has been evidence that Matt’s wrestling brain is his biggest asset, subtle things that Matt has achieved throughout the years are evidence of this, and they are things that are rarely discussed, due in part to people taking them for granted.
This article serves as a reminder of how talented the pro-wrestling legend is, but will also acknowledge Matt’s recent revelation regarding his health and how in-spite of this, he will continue to add value to WWE and their product for many years to come.
Matt’s first solo run back in 2002 was a clear indication that he was a visionary. The Matt Hardy: Version 1 character was a 2018 gimmick, working and getting over in 2002. The gimmick was simple but effective. It was, in essence, a heel, cocky Matt Hardy along with Shannon Moore; Matt would have ‘Matt Facts’ on his video-tron such as “Matt Hardy hates pizza”, it was a great gimmick that was extremely entertaining and was way ahead of its respected time.
Matt in his tenure in WWE would seem to make everything work, no matter how ‘messy’ the storyline could get. In 2005, following a real-life incident involving Edge & Lita, Matt became the #1 babyface in the company practically overnight, people connected with the ordeal of what he had gone through on a personal level; something that is very hard to attain on a scripted pro-wrestling show. One of Matt’s more notable singles feuds was with M.V.P, the year-long feud over the US Title which involved the two talents being forced to be tag team partners was the highlight of WWE programming at one time, due to Matt’s desire to put his all into the angle and its subsequent follow up.
Matt’s ECW Title win in 2008 was huge for him, at the time the ECW Title was still in theory being classed as a recognised World Title and the reaction to Matt winning was extremely positive back in September of 2008. Matt managed to make a feud with Mark Henry work, this prior to Mark Henry’s character truly evolving to what it would become years later, Matt for a couple of months carried a brand as a top, successful babyface and it worked incredibly well.
Matt’s most famous solo work came in TNA/Impact Wrestling. Matt created the ‘Broken Universe’, following a heel turn, Matt would present himself as a new ‘broken’ man, with part of his hair bleached alongside an hilarious accent. Fans didn’t know what to make of the new persona at first, whenever something ‘new’ surfaces in wrestling, the natural thing is to turn away from it as it not what fans are used to.
However, the gimmick slowly but surely began to get over; with creative, ‘out there’ segments which were never seen before on a mainstream wrestling programme, which in-turn made everyone pay attention to Matt, the subordinate characters and TNA as a result. The gimmick was bold, brave and cutting edge. Matt took something that had never been touched before; in essence Matt created an entire universe of profitable characters that were presented accordingly, so that in-turn, they never seemed to get stale.
The gimmick will and will continue to be inspirational for all major promotions for years to come, WWE themselves copied elements of the ‘Final Deletion’ in segments with The Wyatt Family and The New Day, but they never achieved the success that Matt’s TNA work did.
Matt has the inherent ability to work with talent from a producer point of view on making their matches connect with the core audience. But additionally, Matt has the ability to write and produce segments that are a little different to the norm; segments that try and draw a new audience in. It’s without hesitation that Matt once he finally decides to retire for good will be a huge asset to WWE’s behind the scenes department.