This past Monday’s edition of WWE Raw provided an interesting moment involving the former Tag Team Champions, Matt and Jeff Hardy. The brother duo were in ring doing a promo when Jeff Hardy mentioned how some people thought they should become “obsolete” and later Matt mentioned they were nearly “broken.” Both words drew big reactions from the WWE Universe that is very familiar with their Impact Wrestling “Broken” characters that drew a lot of praise in 2016. Since the Hardys returned to WWE this April at WrestleMania, there has been speculation that the “Broken” gimmick might finally be back.
There’s been a lot of discussion about the gimmicks in the past few months and we’ve been all over it. Jeff Hardy talked about how he and Matt were the ones that paid for Impact tapings at the Hardy compound, their Broken gimmick was even mentioned on WWE Network when the brothers talked to Corey Graves and on July 2nd, Matt took to Twitter to thanks the fans for their support while noting that their legal battle with Impact might be over.
It’s been a confusing situation with so many rumors out there about what might happen. Keep in mind that while the Hardys deals were up earlier this year, Impact was going through a transition with Anthem buying the company and Jeff Jarrett returning to the company (now named Global Force Wrestling) to be the boss.
In a new update from Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso, there’s some info on how Impact Wrestling tried to re-sign the brothers before they went back to WWE. It was noted that Impact Wrestling wanted to sign Jeff Hardy to a lucrative deal and offer Matt only a fraction of that. Matt was also promised a spot on Impact’s creative team, but that was taken away when Jeff Jarrett took over.
It’s interesting, but not surprising, that Impact would only want to retain Matt for a fraction of what they wanted to pay Jeff. To a lot of people in wrestling, Jeff is the bigger star. He’s the multiple-time World Champion in WWE and was arguably the most popular guy in WWE in 2008 and 2009. Matt wasn’t on that level, but Matt is still a big star. Also, the part about Jarrett removing the idea of Matt being on the Impact creative team makes sense since you would assume Jarrett would want his own people in there.
The Sports Illustrated report revealed new details noting that the deal was very close, but then Impact wanted more. Barrasso continued:
Both sides came to terms on an agreement, sources say, with the Hardys paying $10,000 to $15,000 for the rights to the trademark. The deal would have included a non-disparagement clause, which Matt’s wife, Reby mentioned on Twitter. A $1,000 fine would have been levied for the first offense, and then $5,000 penalties would have been enforced thereafter.
The Hardys were even going to sign a press release to put an end to the situation on good terms. The deal changed suddenly when Anthem wanted 50% of all Hardy revenue, which seems pretty absurd to add onto a deal that was nearly agreed upon. That included Jeff Hardy’s art and music, which led to the deal falling apart again.
I think it’s pretty ridiculous for Anthem to want 50% of all Hardy revenue. It’s not like the Hardy Boyz team started with Impact Wrestling. They are WWE guys that are back home where they made their names in the first place.
The report from Sports Illustrated also includes the following statement from Global Force Wrestling:
“WWE has clearly stated via email that they do not want the ‘Broken Brilliance’ IP [intellectual property]. GFW has been and always will be open to a licensing agreement for the IP to all parties, which is customary in the music and entertainment business, but revolutionary in the professional wrestling business.”
Anthem is playing hard ball. They don’t have to agree to terms with the Hardys on anything and they are willing to make things difficult.
On Thursday, Matt sent out two tweets explaining his stance.
Those comments would support what Barrasso wrote about how Matt received a low offer from Impact/GFW and how the Anthem guys could end this at any time.
Here’s that promo from Raw in case you missed it.
In this writer’s opinion, the Anthem guys are just being a pain in the ass and could have agreed to those negotiated terms. I don’t blame Matt, Jeff and Reby wanting to make things ugly and personal to get what they want. It might be the best course of action for them after all.
To summarize all of this, there’s still no resolution with this issue at the moment even though this week’s Raw made it seem like it was close to ending.