Okay so at the beginning of this year’s countdown I briefly touched upon how Woken Matt Hardy’s “Ultimate Deletion” not only shows that the landscape of WWE is slowly beginning to change with Vince mostly focused on the XFL and Tripsy having more control over the booking, but also a success in that it prevented third hour ratings drop-off for Raw for the first time in 4 years. Today I want to expand on what the success of Woken Matt and the Broken universe means for WWE in the long term, and where the Hardys and their clan can take this into the future.
Firstly, Ultimate Deletion was fully devised and plotted out by Matt Hardy, while letting Bray go with his character instincts. Why is this significant? Well, for years WWE was leashing a LOT of it’s performers. All but the main eventers had scripted promos rather than the old bullet point promos, and NO ONE had any real creative control, or even much input into their storylines. Cody Rhodes, for example, left the company SPECIFICALLY because Creative was ignoring and shutting down every idea he proposed for himself, choosing to keep him trapped in his Stardust gimmick, which he and the fans both know had run it’s course and was past it’s sell-by date, but Creative refused to let him change. Frustrated with his lack of creative input or opportunities to earn a better push through his ideas, Cody left.
The lack of Creative Control for most of the roster has had a deeply negative impact on WWE TV over the past decade. Storylines got stale and repetitive, and wrestlers stagnated. There are and were guys on the roster who could have been SO much more if the leash were loosened more. retired WWE Youtube show “The JBL & Cole Show”, which was JBL & Cole’s baby and had ZERO input from Vince, Tripsy or Creative, but let any wrestler who appeared on it come up with their own shit, was IMMENSELY entertaining, and indirectly shamed WWE Creative by showing how entertaining so much of their roster could be if allowed to try out their own ideas. This show was where Bad News Barrett came from, but Creative clearly didn’t understand the gimmick as they cut everything that was actually entertaining about it and just gave Wade Barrett generic promos tacking the I’ve Got Some BAD NEWS schtick on as window dressing. As another exaple, forer NXT and WWE star Justin Gabriel, who was wasted in WWE as a generic flippy guy with no promos or character, was seen on the show literally juggling flaming baseballs. No, seriously, he was LITERALLY JUGGLING FIREBALLS WITH HIS BARE HANDS. With THAT ALONE I could think of 6 ways that package him right off my head that would get him over. And Heath Slater’s time as Clem Layfield proved he can do SO much better than the “I got kids” schtick he’s presently stuck with.
But Matt was given a chance to bypass Creative entirely. Tripsy took a leap of faith and trusted in Matt’s imagination, his vision, his creativity. He not only let the leash go slack for Matt Hardy, Tripsy handed him the leash entirely, and it paid dividends. And that might mean other wrestlers can finally start to get a little more creative slack. And that can only benefit the company.
That said, what might be down the road for Matt himself, and all those surrounding him? Well as I discussed yesterday in the Mania Rumours piece, the immediate future centres around what will happen in the Andre battle royal. One way or the other it’s very likely someone will interfere either on Matt’s behalf or to screw him. Most likely Jeff. And if Brother Nero does indeed appear and screw Matt out of the win, that will set up a good few months of feuding for them. On the one hand, this will be new to WWE audiences who’ve never watched TNA/Impact. On the other, it could all too easily become a cheap rehash of their TNA feud. Matt’s been given the reins of his own horse, he needs to be careful it doesn’t tread the same ground.
More interesting is the potential of others to get involved as the Woken Universe goes forward. Jeremy Borasch for example, now under WWE’s employ, could be made an on-air personality to have some involvement. There’s also Steven “Crazzy Steve” Scott, whom the WWE signed last year but has yet to utilize, who has history with the Broken Hardyz, and could easily be slipped into the story with the proper build. Though rumours also suggest he never actually signed with WWE despite being seen working out at the Performance Centre, so that could just be an afterthought. We could also get more appearances by the Hardy family for PPV events, such as Queen Rebecca playing Matt to the ring on her baby grand.
But most likely, will be the repackaging of Bray Wyatt. With apologies to the Bullet Club, Windham Rotunda went all in with Matt on Ultimate Deletion. He embraced it and got to be the most interesting he’s been in years. And as WWE too is going all-in and playing along with Matt’s genius, they will likely allow Matt and Bray to decide what Bray Wyatt will be when he comes back from the Lake of Resurrection. And I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with. After all, remember that down in NXT, Tripsy DOES let his roster there have some Creative Control, and he listens when they have their own ideas. It was Becky Lynch who created her steampunk persona and shed the Irish Lass Dressed In Green Dancing a Jig shit she’d been originally stuck with. It was Finn who got to decide how or even if his bodypainting schtick would follow him to NXT. It was Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who came up with the Betrayed By His Best Friend angle.
And when Wyatt was in NXT proper, after shedding the awful Husky Harris gimmick, it was him, Windham, who created everything we recognize about Bray Wyatt. Given the freedom to recreate himself with his own ideas, especially with Matt helping, and perhaps becoming part of the Broken/Woken universe, Windham could FINALLY give the WWE Universe the Bray Wyatt they need.
Basically, Matt Hardy being allowed to control his own fate can only help WWE in the long run, not only because of everything HE can bring to the table with the Woken gimmick, but because of all the other wrestlers who might get their own ideas heard because of Matt.
And if you don’t think the potential Matt has brought to the WWE is a blessing, well, feel free to…. DELETE yourself.