The final chapter in the battle between Matt Hardy and his former employers, Impact Wrestling, is finally over. The dispute centered around the intellectual property of the Broken gimmick used by Hardy, his wife Reby, and his brother Jeff while wrestling for Impact. Though the Hardys funded tapings and came up with most of the material, Impact Wrestling claimed ownership of the gimmick, preventing the Hardys from using it after leaving Impact during a brief sting in Ring of Honor.
The Hardys debuted in WWE nearly a year ago at WrestleMania, doing a nostalgia gimmick, as Hardy feuded with Impact executives like President Ed Nordholm on Twitter. It wasn't until November when Hardy finally came to an agreement with Anthem, opening the door for Hardy to begin portraying the Broken character again. However, learning nothing from the entire situation, WWE went with a similar gimmick, calling Hardy "Woken" instead of "Broken," presumably so they could own the trademark themselves. Furthermore, most of the aspects that made Broken Matt Hardy interesting, like the inclusion of family members, skits filmed at the Hardys' North Carolina compound, and Vanguard One, a drone owned by former Impact producer Jeremy Borash, were missing. In their place was Hardy engaging in laugh-offs with Bray Wyatt, a disappointing replacement. The idea of Hardy doing the Broken gimmick in WWE, it seems, was far more exciting than the execution.
But now, according to PWInsider, Impact has officially signed over the Broken Universe trademarks to Hardy, giving him full and complete ownership of everything associated with the gimmick. And in a surprise move last week, WWE even signed Borash to a deal with the company, bringing the other creative mind behind the successful gimmick under the WWE umbrella. But with months of Hardy doing essentially nothing but laugh at Bray Wyatt while losing matches, is it too late to save the Broken, or Woken, gimmick?
We can probably expect the feud between Hardy and Wyatt to continue at least until WrestleMania. Maybe WWE was in a holding pattern, waiting for the trademarks to go through, before taking any real steps to develop the story, but unless they make some changes quickly, adding in more complex elements of the Broken gimmick and, hopefully, filming some segments at the Hardy compound (perhaps with Borash producing them), the once-mighty Broken gimmick will be dead in the water by April.
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