Welcome to the Ultimate Deletion review.
Reader… I knew you’d come. Ever since Matt’s several Deletion events in TNA and the Wyatt Family aping them, we’ve wanted a confrontation between the two groups. As fans we begged for it, making it one of the main reasons we wanted the Broken Universe in the WWE.
Then…time moved on.
Bray pooped the bed with an uneventful title run and terrible Wrestlemania defense. He was champ a year ago, and now no one will miss him when he inevitably misses Wrestlemania. Then there’s Matt.
The Broken gimmick cooled while it was shelved during a legal battle, Jeff Hardy was injured, and then the character was introduced after losing a simple match to Bray. No real build up, no fraternal betrayal, he just lost a match. Why the hell did that break him? Matt Hardy loses tons of matches in the WWE.
So they’re relying on all the good will Matt has built up with the character previously to see him through this mess. Yes, make no mistake, this feud has been a mess. They stripped down two amazing mic workers to asinine statements and excessive laughter.
Can the WWE’s production value and The Ultimate Deletion save this feud and, better yet, save Matt and Bray from becoming OBSOLETE! Or will this be half-assed fan service that Vince doesn’t really understand? So, let’s go through the Great War and see if it lived up to expectations.
It begins with Bray walking up to the compound alone, which seems really stupid to do. You don’t know what traps are set, why wouldn’t you want backup? All I could think while watching this was, “where’s the rest of his cult?” Maybe a firefly or two in masks behind him for moral support?
I’m just saying a cult leader without a cult is just some asshole screaming in the woods. Bray makes his way through the ominous gates to every suburban housing edition you’re ever seen, and is confronted by Vanguard 1.
The second thing you notice, especially when Bray starts talking to the seemingly sentient drone, is that something about Bray seems out of place in this world. Matt isn’t a comedy character, but he’s in no way serious. Broken Matt is…ludicrous. Bray is a different kind of disturbed and a serious character. Wyatt has always tried to have the same gravity about his character as Mankind displayed early on. So, to place a serious character in this absurd world feels a little out of place.
Bray is told to follow the music to an outdoor ring where Matt awaits. The music is Reby playing a broken version Live in Fear (or Broken Out in Love), which is a little hard to catch until she plays the hook. Damn cool way to start this though. Bray enters the ring, the laugh off begins, and we all die a little inside. Matt mercifully declared the time for laughter is over and the two lock up.
Bray throws Matt into the corner but is distracted by, and must duck away from, the drone flying 6’ above his head. Bray does a few of his standard spots then declares he has a housewarming gift for Matt. Is it a weapon more viscous than Abyss’s spiked club, more sinister than Cactus Jack’s barbed wire bat?
Nope. Just a chair.
It’s not something unique and exotic, Bray’s not heading to the house to threaten the family; it was a damn chair. That’s the most disappointing reveal since the Gobbledy Gooker and The Crying Game.
Bray kisses the chair for dramatic effect, but it might as well be his credibility as a god after all the losses he’s stacking up. However, before Bray can brain Matt, Hardy commands Vanguard 1 to initiate. Bray then worriedly asks what’s been initiated.
Apparently, “initiate” meant set off a cheap version of Shawn Micheals’ pyro. It worked, however, as Bray was so startled by the fireworks he dropped the chair and fell cowering like a dog on the 4th of July. You can’t blame Bray for being startled. It’s been so long since they’ve had pyro on RAW he probably forgot what they were.
Matt gives Bray a few weak WWE chair shots. Now, I’m not advocating that they bring back head shots with chairs or anything, but this was essentially a movie. In Delete or Decay Jeff got impaled with spikes, at Total Nonstop Deletion Decay strait up killed two people. It wasn’t pretty either: one neck snap and one bludgeoning with a rock. This match had some tummy pokes with the edge of the chair. Seriously, go back and watch Abyss smash a guy’s head in with a rock like it was Lord of the Flies.
They don’t need to do the same safe shots with an edited piece that they do live w/ and audience. This could have been the most brutal street fight since They Live with no one taking a single blow. The fact that they still played it safe has nothing to do with wrestler safety, there was no danger, and more to do with corporate sponsorship. If you ever wanted proof that the PG Era is sponsor driven, here it is.
Matt and Bray fight outside the ring across the compound to a dilapidated cabin. Bray has a flashback/freak-out as the cabin reminds him of Sister Abigail’s place. If Bray is transfixed by every abandoned building he sees, traveling through Detroit must be hell. Maybe Bray was just distracted thinking about a time he was still relevant. I know seeing the clips of him in the barn, with white pants and a trilby made me long for better days.
Then… oh man. So Matt leads Bray to the “Land of Obsolete Men”, or the fake graveyard full of pseudo-tribal crosses. We’re then treated to a static shot of Matt popping up behind gravestones, taunting Bray, then ducking away to the next one before Bray can get there.
All of Bray’s running is sped up and it makes the whole thing look like a scene from Benny Hill or Scooby Doo. Whack-a-Matt or Matt-a-Mole are the working titles for this scene. The only thing missing was Yakety Sax playing over the top of it.
When Matt’s done playing German Expressionist Hide-N-Seek he leads Bray through the woods. Wyatt cracks him from behind with a short branch and goes for a cover, only getting two. They fight to the interior of a large metal building with a ring, a wheelchair from the 1800s, and Matt’s riding mower.
Bray is laid out with a few ladder shots. Matt then takes a moment to decide which device to end Wyatt with: the ‘Chair of Wheels’ or the ‘Mower of Lawn’. Matt mounts the mower (say that 3 times fast) and Bray has somehow magically spun on the ground during the jump cut so that his head is toward the mower.
Matt begins driving the whole two feet over to Wyatt in order to give him the more ill-advised haircut ever. The mower must be on a conveyer, because no matter how long Hardy drives forward he doesn’t actually seem to go anywhere. Bray does his Linda Blair impression, Matt looks confused (probably because he’s not moving forward), and then Bray stands up menacingly. Bray kicks Matt and they keep fighting.
Bray plants Matt on the edge of the ring, face first, and goes for the pin. Again, a 2 count. Matt kicks out and the fight to the outside where Bray want to finish it with a Sister Abigail onto Skarsgard. However, Vanguard 1 approaches and Wyatt releases Matt and grabs the drone.
You think for a second we might get a memorable moment with the destruction of Vanguard 1, but Wyatt tells it he’ll deal with it later and lets the drone go. During the distraction Matt has gone missing and Skargard has been turned over. Looking for Hardy, Bray flips to boat over only to find Senior Benjamin holding a globe). Bray looks as confused as the rest of us.
Senior Benjamin throw Bray the globe and sings He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand. Brother Nero appears like a spirit from 13 Ghosts and gives Matt the distraction. A disoriented Wyatt eats a Twist of Fate and the pin-fall. Defeated by prop comedy. Carrot Top would be proud.
When Bray says it isn’t over, Matt tells him it is and pushes him into the lake. He asks Benjamin to retrieve Bray’s body, but Wyatt pulled a Jason Voorhees and is nowhere to be found. Matt declares the Great War over and Bray Wyatt DELETED!!!!
It’s a shame Bray wasn’t reborn in the lake as Brother Windham or IRS Jr., the man needs a fresh start at this point. Where they go from here will decide if this was the beginning of that fresh start. The Ultimate Deletion often felt silly without the tongue-in-cheek satire of Total Nonstop Deletion. Also, the other Deletion events were the culmination of good storylines that got fans invested. Getting a fan in invest in TNA is a damn miracle in and of itself.
True the other events had some goofy stuff: Matt sucking up Rosemary’s mist, Crazzy Steve’s paint regeneration, the belief that anyone would stop on the side of the road to hit on Rosemary. However, in the moment of an enthralling story (brother vs brother, or Decay’s threat to the Hardy family) we can suspend disbelief a little and enjoy some unabashed lunacy.
Ultimately, the Ultimate Deletion was exactly what we thought it would be. A watered down WWE version that lacked a proper build up, abstract humor, and the unique violence of the other Deletion events. It wasn’t bad, it just… was. That’s kind of how it feels about a lot of Bray Wyatt stuff now. It’s like Orton convinced him to stop being interesting and do the same boring, slow match every time.
Rosemary was infinitely more menacing and terrifying in her appearance at the compound, and she was wearing Mac’s cat eyes from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Bray seems lost ever since Sister Abigail was burned, and if this a slow burn story about that very thing, cool. This just feels like inconsistent writing, though.
This event didn’t hurt either man, but it wasn’t a big help yet either. While not as good as the TNA Deletion specials, this was still entertaining, though, and where they go after this will probably effect how this one is viewed. Therefore, the jury is still out until Matt gets a sustained push and we see what exactly Wyatt emerges from the lake as.
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