Update: Mike Johnson of PWinsider has more information on the collapse in contract negotiations between TNA and Matt and Jeff Hardy.
The Hardy Boyz might be on the move. According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero have officially made TNA obsolete and will be done with the company when their current contracts expire this week. With the next round of Impact tapings starting after those deals expire, that means the current TNA tag champs won’t be losing the belts in the ring.
If you haven’t been paying attention, Matt Hardy has completely transformed himself over the last year, becoming the hottest American wrestler not working for WWE. His rebirth into Broken Matt Hardy, who looks and talks like the host of a local UHF station’s Monster Chiller Horror Theater block, reinvigorated his career, and for the first time made him a bigger star than his brother, Jeff Hardy. It quickly became an entire family act, with Matt’s wife Reby, her father Senor Benjamin, and Matt and Reby’s toddler son Maxel becoming crucial parts of the show. Eventually Jeff himself entered the fold as the rechristened Brother Nero, and over the last several weeks he and Matt have been traveling the globe (via the drone Vanguard 1, who has both the power of teleportation and a drinking problem) collecting tag team titles from different promotions. These exploits are chronicled weekly in Impact segments taped at Matt Hardy’s home in Cameron, North Carolina, where he seeks wise advice from his giraffe George Washington.
These absurd characters and vignettes have been the most entertaining thing in wrestling over the last year, and perhaps in many years, but they haven’t really helped Impact in the ratings. With new ownership taking control of TNA at the end of 2016, changes were clearly coming, but it’s still surprising to see the company let its hottest acts walk away. There’s no word yet on where the Hardys might be headed, although in the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio Dave Meltzer reported that the Hardys weren’t accepting any independent bookings after a certain date in April. That’s usually a sign of an impending WWE contract.
Could the peculiar genius of Broken Matt Hardy survive a jump to the micromanaged and creatively stagnant WWE? Paste will have more thoughts about that later.