WWE finally pulled the trigger and allowed Matt Hardy to bring his unique vision to Monday Night Raw. We talked about it a bit in the Best and Worst of Raw for this week, but just like we did for The Final Deletion and DELETE or DECAY back over in Impact, we absolutely most give the Ultimate Deletion the full highlights treatment. You would expect no less from us.
Gang, strap in. It’s a weird, bumpy ride to North Carolina for the Ultimate Deletion.
We open with Bray Wyatt making his lantern-lit way the 574 miles from Stamford, Connecticut to Cameron, and looking none the worse for wear. He pauses to smile at the folly of such an ostentatious display of wealth in the form of a giant “H” on the gate and the ruination of the last famous entertainer who dared to tempt fate with wrought iron initials (please, Hammer, do not hurt them or fade away and classify yourself as obsolete).
He does not get long to savor that moment before Vanguard-1 buzzes up into his grill and gives him the ol’ Terminator treatment.
If you didn’t legit crack up at “lantern” on the HUD, I’m not sure if we can be friends. It’s so delightfully simple and stupid. The only thing that would have made this better is if “Husky Harris” was in the bottom right corner or if Vanguard-1 went the full Arnold and was scrolling through potential human language responses and settled on “F*ck you, asshole.”
I stand corrected. Jesus, how did they ever talk Vince McMahon into putting this on the air? This is Re-Animator type sh*t right here. Let me write it out so you can actually see the pitch in black and white: a possessed swampbilly cult leader receives instructions from the hologram of a possessed time traveler being projected from a sentient drone so they may have a professional wrestling match in the woods at midnight, accompanied by piano.
We move forward in time (there is a LOT of jump cutting in this latest installment of the Woken/Broken Universe and I, for one, am glad that Matt has been revisiting Breathless) to where Reby Hardy is plucking at the ivories of eighty-eight (which I need to type out fully, for fear this post might get flagged as some avant garde white nationalism).
Bray Wyatt shuffles in from the reeds having wandered off the driveway and Woken Matt Hardy is twirling around like Gary Oldman listening to Beethoven. We have a little bit of laughter back and forth and then Hardy lands the best joke of the whole night with “Enough!” That has to be a rib on McMahon, right? “Hell, goddamn pal, are you ever gonna, you know, wrestle?” Which the pair then do, in some light brawling — while still wearing their jackets.
I feel like the only real missed opportunity here (aside from a candelabra in the shape of Matt’s symbol on top of Reby’s piano) is the absence of an otherworldly bell to kick off the Ultimate Deletion match. I mean, if we’re going through the trouble of having a falls count anywhere, no DQ match in the middle of the Carolina woods in March, ring the goddamn bell and unleash the hounds of hell.
The Fireworks Factory
Holy sh*t, we literally finally got to the fireworks factory. I am solidly in the pro-Ash category when it comes to Ash vs. The Evil Dead, so any and all references to the “boomstick” are immediately getting a Best from me. I mean, this is why pro wrestling just works. We all know that is just a big roman candle that Matt picked up at South of The Border, but if you want to say a robot sidekick set it off to distract the assailant of his skunk striped fighting wizard master, well, of course, naturally.
My only regret about this segment is when I watched it back for this article and realized that Bray actually says, “Where are my manners?” and not “I am a God! Where am I, man?” At the time, the idea of Bray Wyatt breaking character and kayfabe for a microsecond to straight man it up and be all “Sh*t, man, y’all live in the f*cking sticks” made me hyperventilate.
Side note: While I am very happy that Matt took the moment to remind everyone of how cool Bray used to be (“Does this look familiar?”) and flashback to the footage from those first Wyatt Family vignettes, I’m more than slightly bummed that they didn’t intercut some of the Wyatt Family/New Day compound match footage. How great would it have been to see WWE call back their history twice in quick succession, followed by Matt laughing as Bray shuddered at the memory of when he was a bigger deal than Braun Strowman? Country Strong’s hometown in North Carolina is so small it makes Cameron look like Charlotte. Whoo!
I quit. I’m dead you guys. Amazing. This is Scooby-Doo territory. The Land of Obsolete Men should have just been a hallway with a bunch of doors for Matt, Bray and the Harlem Globetrotters to run in and out of infinity times. I need King Maxel dressed up like Don Knotts. I need Jeff Hardy dressed like Scooby Dumb for f’ing up his career for the billionth time and not knowing how to download the Lyft app. I needed one luchador in this match just so somebody, anybody could get their masked ripped off and lament their foiled plans because of these damn kids.
I mean, you had Señor Benjamin right there! Give him one of Ricardo’s old El Local masks. Have him and Sami jump into the Lake of Reincarnation and have them both come up as El Generico. I know Señor Benjamin is Puerto Rican, but so are Los Matadors, so shut up. I digress.
Be vewy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits in an abandoned Hot Topic. /yakkety sax
The Mower Of Lawns
Guys. What? Hardy doing the classic “this one or that one” with Bray’s wheelchair or his own lawnmower is just too much goodness. How did the wheelchair get there? Who cares. Did we need an insert shot of the Ferrari engine in the Mower of Lawns? Definitely. Did we need a cutaway to the referee contemplating his defense to being a witness to straight up murder? Indubitably. Pillman got a ton of sh*t for whipping out a gun on Raw, but here’s one of the Hardy Boyz cosplaying as a Puppet Master doll and attempting vehicular manslaughter with a John Deere.
At this point, we’ve gone to so many different locations in under 10 minutes it feels like the first act of Rogue One, and if any of you think this is the last feature film reference I’m making in this article, please watch Bloodsucking Bastards on Showtime.
I love how Bray gazes upon the scene in wonder, and the reveal is just that it is a sh*tty practice ring in a warehouse. I was really hoping that big wooden dining table would have been in there again so that we could have done the fake-out on the white baby grand piano right into the other Hardy taking a gnarly bump on an un-gimmicked slab of wood.
Bray Wyatt’s response to almost being sliced up with a lawnmower blade is to roll Matt Hardy into a wrestling ring. Then again, the guy famous for doing dumb sh*t off the top of ladders just picked up a ladder, hit a guy with it once and then put it down, so maybe all things fade away and become obsolete eventually.
The Ultimate Deletion
The French New Wave influence rears its head again and we jump cut to the Lake of Reincarnation. Raise your hand if you made the joke that Bray was gonna go in and come out as Husky Harris? (Counting) Oh, all of us. Excellent.
As much as I love the big, dumb, horribly, dangerously close to a pun run of bits that included Bray snatching Vanguard-1 out of the air, promising to “deal with you later”, turning to see that Matt has taken shelter underneath The Dilapidated Boat only to reveal Señor Benjamin (who Bray is legitimately confused by, as they have not been introduced), and Reby’s dad is holding a souvenir mini-basketball globe and tosses it to him.
I just wanted to point out how insanely thin the section of Venn Diagram we are watching here actually is. Raise your hand if you started singing the song two seconds before Brother Nero showed up to do it? (Counting) Oh, all of us. Excellent. NOTHING IS OVER!
[Slurring] “We have a pool and a pond. The pond is better for you.”
If I find out there is a deleted scene where Bray and Jeff brawled into the Lake of Reincarnation and Willow showed up on WWE television, but Hunter made them take it out so as to not give TMZ the free shot, I’m going to be very, very put out.
Hardy hits his finisher after the brotherly distraction and get the 1-2-3. The moment we’ve all been waiting for happens and Bray Wyatt is tossed into the Lake of Reincarnation. Senor Benjamin can’t find his carcass and Matt, who should really know better, declares himself the victor and Bray Wyatt (ultimately) deleted.
So … where do they go from here? Is this going to be Sister Abagail 2.0? (Please god no.) Is Bray going to paint his face white and hang out in the rafters for a year and a half? (I’m listening.) Is Vince McMahon really going let these two goofballs continue to tell this long, ridiculous CHIKARA-ass story all the way to WrestleMania, or is this it? Was this just a pleasant diversion meant to quiet the smarks, or is WWE gonna go full hog and try to make the real money that comes with the most over gimmick in professional wrestling in the last 15 years?
If a certain Samoan goes into the Lake of Reincarnation and comes out as Leakee, I think we will all have our answer.
Subscribe, rate, review the With Spandex podcast!