Fans watching WWE Raw on Monday might have noticed something a little off about Matt Hardy after he lost to Bray Wyatt in a match. As the crowd chanted his name, Hardy seemed compelled to shout a familiar catchphrase: DELETE!
Of course, fans have been awaiting Hardy's return to his Broken gimmick since he left Impact Wrestling earlier this year along with his brother (Nero). Prior to that Matt and Jeff Hardy's Broken storyline was the one bright spot in a pretty lousy year… er… decade for the beleaguered wrestling promotion formerly known as GFW formerly known as TNA. But when the Hardys left, Impact threatened Ring of Honor over potential use of that gimmick, even getting an ROH PPV canceled on one cable provider.
By the time the Hardys arrived in WWE, they were relegated to a nostalgia act, reliving their 90s glory, even though they had so recently reinvented themselves with the groundbreaking gimmick. The following months saw Matt Hardy and his wife Reby Hardy engaged in an epic Twitter feud over the rights, which the Hardys say they created, even funding some tapings with their own money, against Impact, Dutch Mantell, new (at the time) (but now deposed) Impact executive Jeff Jarrett, and Impact parent company Anthem Sports & Entertainment executive Ed Norholm. Behind the scenes, a legal battle was also taking place over the rights, as we were constantly reminded of by the Twitter battle.
And it looks like the Hardys have won that legal battle, or at least that Anthem realized there was no reason to continue it other than spite. The company sent a statement to Sports Illustrated saying:
We have seen the character development and will be interested to see where they take the concept. Our new talent agreements all incorporate language that allow talent to continue to use their IMPACT persona after they leave the company. We are working with our legal team to amend our existing agreements to extend this to all of our current and former talent.
And PWInsider reports that the company doesn't plan to fight Matt Hardy's trademark registration anymore. Additionally, WWE is reportedly working a new character for Hardy that will be similar to the Broken gimmick, but not quite the Broken gimmick (so that WWE can own it and this can all happen again in a few years).
So all's well that ends well for Matt Hardy… or is it begins? In any case, Reby Hardy seems pleased:
But maybe, once more, for old times sake, an old classic?