Impact Wrestling Told Its Side Of The ‘Broken Hardys’ Dispute, And Matt Hardy Isn’t Happy

What’s the opposite of DELIGHTFUL? Because whatever it is, that’s where we’re at with regard to the trademark battle between Impact Wrestling and Matt Hardy for the rights to the “Broken Universe/Broken Brilliance” characters that Matt created. If you’ve been following along, you know that Matt applied for trademarks on the characters in his Broken Universe, and Impact applied for the same trademarks and claim it is their intellectual property.

Previously, rumors circulated that WWE was interested in coming to an agreement with Impact or was attempting to outright buy the rights to the gimmick. Impact officials stated WWE had no interest in the trademarks, but now the company has gone one step further by releasing a lengthy email outlining its side of the story.

Ed Nordholm from Anthem Media, the man who has been in charge of Impact since its sale and has been front and center in most of these public spats, sent an email to PWInsider and other media outlets, which included excerpts from what he claims is Matt Hardy’s most recent Impact contract, and a log of legal contact between Anthem/Impact, Matt, and WWE legal counsel.

Nordholm’s full email (including the log):

Good afternoon,

In response to on-going speculation concerning our position with respect to the “Broken Brilliance” creative, I am providing this detailed log of our communications on the subject and the contractual structure of our relationship with Matt Hardy with respect to intellectual property matters (which is standard to our roster and in the industry).

There has never been any argument from Impact Wrestling that the Hardy’s were key contributors to the development of the characters and story line, or that Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy executed on their roles in spectacular fashion. But the position taken by the Hardys is a massive disservice to the contributions of the rest of the creative team at Impact Wrestling, including Jeremy Borash, Dave Lagano (sic), Matt Conway and Billy Corgan, and is totally at odds with the terms of their contracts.

The Hardys would have you believe that Anthem is somehow avoiding their lawyers to address this. This is the log of our communications with the Hardys and/or their lawyers. It is clear that we have not been avoiding them.

March 10 – EBN speaks with executives at ROH about “Broken Brilliance” being used in ROH shows. I indicated willingness to provide an arrangement that would allow the creative to be used in ROH shows and encouraged ROH to have Matt speak with me if he wanted to pursue that discussion

March 11 – EBN spoke at length with Matt by telephone about the structure of an amicable arrangement for use of the Broken Brilliance creative

March 14 – Matt sent text message to Ed Nordholm at 4:05pm:

“Tried giving you a call, it rang & went busy. I’m open to working things out amicably as we spoke about. The lawyer who represent me is interested in seeing your offer. My lawyer’s email is {redacted} which you could send the offer to for review. Thanks.”

And I responded by text at 6:41 pm

“Thank you Matt. I was supposed to be [flying] into NYC today and am a little twisted. I will pull something together with [our] lawyers and try to get it over to your lawyer tomorrow or Thursday at latest“

March 16 – At 8:25 pm I sent an update text to Matt:

“Hi Matt. My lawyer got me a draft too late to get reviewed for today. I will look at it in the morning. Sorry for the delay”

And he responded at 9:16 pm

“Ok, he’s ready for it. Thanks for the update.”

March 17 – counsel for Anthem Wrestling delivered draft proposal to counsel for Matt Hardy

March 24 – counsel for Anthem Wresting followed up with Matt Hardy counsel requesting comments on the proposal

March 27 – counsel for Matt Hardy responds that they have been away and have not reviewed the proposal but will be back “in the next few days”

After which no further communication until

April 18 – counsel for Matt Hardy leaves a voice mail message for counsel for Anthem Wrestling asking to arrange a meeting

April 20 – EBN contacts WWE by email to determine veracity of internet rumours concerning WWE interest in Broken Brilliance

April 21 — WWE respond by email that there “is no interest on our end” {redacted email exchange attached}

April 21 – counsel for Matt Hardy sends a follow up message requesting a meeting

April 27 – lawyers speak to arrange a meeting

May 16 – lawyers meet but no agreement reached

Finally, I am attaching a copy of the relevant provisions of Matt’s contract with Impact. The clause is virtually identical to the corresponding provisions of every wrestler under contract with Impact.

The facts are that we tried to accommodate the Hardys for their Ring of Honour engagements, and have tried to elicit an indication from WWE whether they have an interest in using the Broken Brilliance creative in WWE. We are not hoarding it from WWE; WWE is not interested in it.

We fully respect the decision of Matt and Jeff to return to WWE and appreciate all of their contributions to Impact Wrestling. We wish them every success.

Our focus is on the future and we will not have any further public comment on this matter.

Ed Nordholm

Naturally, Matt Hardy and Reby Sky were none too pleased about this latest turn of events, and Reby in particular claims both the contracts and the log are inaccurate. This might surprise you, but they tweeted about it!

Reby’s full Twitter comments:

“[The Nordholm email is] inaccurate. Our attorney bills say otherwise and can act as a cute little ‘log’ too. What are they trying to prove and to whom? Y’ALL ARE A JOKE and in that aspect alone, YOU ALREADY LOST. But we can — and will, make the L official, my dude @EdNordholm #NoCredEd. 

“Long story short: TNA tried a literal sales pitch on WWE re: #BROKEN gimmick (which isn’t legally theirs) and they said ‘LOLZ yeah no, thanks.’ Anthem mad because WWE didn’t fall for their offensive money grab. That type of ‘business’ is right on par with Jeff Jarrett’s gold scam.

“I just think it’s cute that TNA feels the need to ‘prove’ themselves to randoms on the internet. Know why we don’t bother? Because it’s ALLLLLL coming out in court, honey. From the attorneys we hired back in MARCH. Where are those ‘logs?’

“Oh. And you might want to try spamming dirtsheets with the ACTUAL final version of that contract if you’re going to break confidentiality. But hey, that’s cool. Something else we’ll add to the list of offenses. Thanks! Should we release the phone calls? I kinda wanna release the phone calls now … since we playin’ petty, apparently.”

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer indicated on a recent radio show that WWE’s lack of interest in pursuing the trademarks is due to Matt already having started the legal ball rolling, so they’re content to sit back and see how this all plays out. Hey, just like us!