In case you didn’t watch the show last night (and I’m sure so many of you did), “Impact Wrestling” featured an announcement of a match between Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy. This one is being billed as the final battle and will be held at Matt Hardy’s home in Cameron, North Carolina. Now while this sounds interesting on paper, we’re going to take a look at how TNA has turned this into such a huge mess that it almost drove me away from the show.
The apex of Jeff’s success came at “Armageddon 2008” when he won the WWE World Title for the first time in a big surprise. Soon after that though, bad things started happening to Jeff, such as being burned by his pyro, someone trying to run he and his girlfriend off the road and someone burning down his home, killing his dog in the process. Let me repeat that: someone KILLED JEFF’S DOG AND TRIED TO MURDER HIM.
As you probably know, the attacker wound up being Matt, who was jealous of Jeff’s success and wanted to take everything away from him. Since this is professional wrestling, this set up a wrestling match at “Wrestlemania XXV” with the two of them facing off in an Extreme Rules match with Matt winning and hopefully letting off some of the steam that had tortured him for so many months. Jeff would then beat him in an I Quit match a few weeks later at “Backlash 2009” to end the feud.
The matches were certainly watchable and entertaining enough but they certainly weren’t exceptional. There were various issues to it but above all else, I don’t think people really wanted to see these two fight. The Hardy Boyz were one of the most entertaining teams of all time and it’s really hard to get behind the idea that Matt actually tried to kill Jeff and did all these insane things to him for months. It didn’t help that they didn’t have the most intensity in the matches when it was literally a feud built around such intense levels of violence.
Both guys would be out of WWE by 2010 and made their way to TNA where Matt was, shall we say, a bit out of shape and looking like he had put on a few dozen or so pounds. We’ll skip over Matt’s DUI and release from the company and get to Matt returning to TNA in 2014, teaming up with his brother again because time heals all wounds, including the whole attempted murder thing.
After a pretty successful tag team run, Jeff broke his leg in a motocross accident (because he’s Jeff Hardy and does stupid things), leaving Matt to have a singles run. This run paid off as Matt won the TNA World Title at “Bound For Glory 2015”, vacated it two days later because TNA had to run a months long tournament because they taped so much in advance, and then won it back in January 2016, turning heel in the process.
And then things went nuts. Matt felt Jeff cost him his title and wanted an I Quit match for it, which resulted in a no contest after Jeff dove off the set through Matt through a table. After this, Matt returned as Willow (a Jeff Hardy character in a mask) and attacked Jeff before revealing himself.
For some reason Matt now had wild half black and half white hair (split down the middle), spoke with a bizarre British accent, and spoke of being broken by his Brother Nero (Jeff’s middle name). In other words, Matt was hurt that his brother had gone so far to try to hurt him and wanted revenge. This led to Jeff coming to Matt’s home in North Carolina where Matt played a piano before going into a barn where his wife Reby threw a fake baby at Jeff, allowing Matt to drive him through a table (in slow motion), off the apron of the ring he kept in said barn.
As you might expect, this was widely panned and even parodied by members of the TNA roster. It fell firmly into the “so bad it’s amazing” territory and that’s not what you want when you’re leading up to one of the biggest matches of the year. At “Slammiversary 2016”, Jeff defeated Matt in a mostly tame Full Metal Mayhem match. Nine days later, Jeff defeated Matt again in a steel cage match. A week later, Matt was brought out in a wheelchair (“This chair with wheels” as he called it.) and attacked Jeff again, setting up one more match this coming week at Matt’s home.
I know I’m in the minority on this, but I cannot stand this whole story for a few reasons. First of all, the feud was treated as the biggest story on the show. The World Title match and highly entertaining feud between Ethan Carter III and Mike Bennett were shoved to the side while Matt vs. Jeff got more TV time, more hype and more attention than anything else.
This presents a problem when it feels like it’s all about letting Matt and Jeff do whatever they want because they’re the biggest names TNA has left. It’s true that TNA’s roster doesn’t exactly have star power anymore, but for all intents and purposes, Matt and Jeff’s star power exists because of what they did back in WWE. Neither of them has been there since 2010 and now they’re really just two older guys who are bigger names but aren’t likely to draw a major outside crowd. In other words, their strongest value is questionable at best, especially when the TV shows are averaging just over 300,000 viewers.
The second problem is the feud being serious but having Matt as what he has to know is a comedy character. I mean, just look at the performance and tell me that it’s supposed to be something serious. I’m well aware that it’s probably Matt’s latest way to show how brilliant he is and how cutting edge he can be or whatever you want to consider it, but it’s this weird comedy/serious hybrid and that defeats the purpose of a serious feud.
Maybe that’s what they’re going for with the character but it’s been distracting since Broken Matt debuted. Am I supposed to feel sorry for Matt, who comes off as needing help but keeps starting all these problems? It really comes off as confusing and more for Matt than anyone else. The story calls more for a hard edge to Matt but instead we’re getting some weird trip into Matt’s mind to see what he thinks is interesting or entertaining.
Finally, the matches just haven’t been great. The Full Metal Mayhem match was entertaining but lacked the big bump (though that’s probably best all around as I don’t need to see these two nearly kill each other) to make it special. The cage match was just a cage match with a big spot at the end, though neither of them felt special.
It doesn’t help that neither of them have been the big finish. Both of them are matches that just happened and then a week later the next match was set up for another week later. It’s really hard to get behind a series of matches when the first two feel like a means to get to the end. For all the hype crammed into the matches, there really wasn’t much to either of them as Matt was still broken and whining about the same things. Even this week on “Impact Wrestling” he was talking about how he was defeated but wouldn’t stop. That’s fine enough as a way to continue a story (lame but fine enough) but stretch this stuff out for a while.
It’s hard to find something that this feud has done well but it’s dragging down a lot of the other good things that TNA is doing at the moment. There are a lot of interesting feuds and good matches going on but most of them are having to take a backseat to this Hardys feud which happened seven years ago and was only moderately successful back then. Now it’s being treated as the greatest feud in TNA history when it’s not even the best feud in the company at the moment. Maybe Tuesday is the final match but I have no reason to believe that’s actually the case.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews, check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up my new book on NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume II at Amazon for just $3.99 at:
And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at: