Coming up…Matt Hardy leaves WWE! Is Bray Wyatt frustrated with WWE and more…
Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis.
After teasing he’ll be leaving WWE for months, with it being widely reported that his contract was expiring on the 1st March and that he hadn’t re-signed, there’s been a massive wrestling swerve: for a change, the wrestler in question didn’t just re-sign a multi-year deal with WWE, as reported by WWE as reported by Ryan Satin, as reported by WWE.
No, instead, Matt Hardy has announced he let his WWE contract expire and he is now arguably the hottest free agent in professional wrestling, given his nostalgia name value, the misused Broken gimmick he made famous in TNA and still owns the rights to, and that he was still popping TV ratings as early as two weeks ago in segments with Randy Orton on Raw.
Matt made the announcement in a Thoughts from the Throne video on his YouTube channel, i.e. a shoot vlog not seemingly in his Free the Delete fantasy world – damn you Grammarly advert, skip, skip!
“Right now, it is just a little past midnight, it is Monday – and that is March 2nd, 2020 – and my WWE contract was set to expire on midnight of March 1st. And this is what’s happened: as of this current time, I have decided to let my contract with WWE expire. I am going to become a free agent, and that isn’t to say I’m not going to return to WWE, I didn’t want to leave WWE. I love WWE, WWE is my home. WWE has treated me great as an employee for the last three years. They’ve been good to me, they’ve been good to my family. They’ve been great to my kids. I’ve got nothing to say but great things about WWE and all the people that work there.”
Matt goes onto say that he’s hugely grateful to Vince McMahon for giving him the platform early on his career, namedrops Triple H and Stephanie as being pleasures to work with, and also his longtime friend and backstage WWE producer Michael Hayes, who was a driving force behind the Hardy Boys act when they were first starting out.
But despite all those personal relationships, it seems Matt’s decision essentially came down to crearive differences. WWE saw him as just a nostalgia act to pop ratings, where Hardy believes he has one more great in-ring run to give to the business.
“I didn’t want to leave WWE because it is my home. The reason I needed to leave WWE is because when it comes to my creative stance and my creative outlook on myself and my career and how I want it to go for these last three to four years as an active in-ring competitor. I just think myself and WWE are on different pages.”
With Matt no longer signed to WWE, and his contract expired rather than being released, that means he’s free to show up anywhere he wants, with no 90-day non-compete clause tying him down. So where might he appear next…?
Hardy continues in his video that he wants to cement his legacy over the next 3 to 4 years. He’s currently 45 years old, and it sounds like he’s seeing this as his last in-ring run, likely retiring before he’s 50, as his lower back and pelvis have begun to fuse together after decades of bumps. Matt’s WWE contract was reportedly only for two years initially, meaning it actually expired last February. But WWE exercised an extension clause, meaning they kept him in the company a whole year longer, even though they never had anything substantial planned for him.
I get that. It’s business. You keep an easy nostalgia pop as a utility player on your roster. And, more importantly, you keep him away from AEW. But, on the human side, you legally kept someone from doing what they wanted to for ultimately very cynical reasons. Sure, Matt did sign that contract, but that doesn’t make me feel any better that those 3 or 4 years Hardy is talking about for his last run, could’ve actually been 4 or 5. As a fan, it’s hard not to feel a bit robbed by the situation.
With only that limited timeframe left, he seems keen to start his final chapter as quickly as possible, as he says, starting today, he’s going to watch everything – Being the Elite, Raw, AEW Dark, NWA Powerr, AEW Dynamite, Impact Wrestling, MLW, WWE Backstage – where his brother Jeff is returning on Tuesday. He’s going to get up to date with ROH.
Of all those, the long speculated and heavily teased AEW move appears to be the most likely and imminent – considering his pre-existing relationship with the Young Bucks, who he had his last non-WWE match against in Ring of Honor, the night before him and his brother made their amazing WrestleMania 33 return. And also that AEW faction the Dark Order have been heavily implying he’s their leader. And they’re at it again, as AEW’s official Twitter account posted following Matt’s announcement video:
“The Exalted One is near” – in what seems to be a 90s Batman font, I approve!
But what form might the Exalted One take? It’s difficult to say, as later on in the video, Matt reveals that today – the 30.2.20 date he’s been teasing – is actually the death of Zenith: the spirit or something that consumed his broken vessel. I don’t really know what’s going on. But I do know it is “OVAH”.
I thought that meant Matt would be retiring the Broken gimmick he had before WWE, which they half-heartedly tried out under the Woken name to retain the copyright if it was successful. But then in teasing his Free the Delete season finale run, the next episode of which will go live on Wednesday, Matt asked whether we might see the second coming of Broken Hardy.
What do you want to see Matt Hardy do next? What gimmick? What promotion? Let me know in the comments, because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE!
While Matt claims he honestly doesn’t know where he’s going to end up next, he does believe he will eventually return “home” to WWE – specifically citing Hall of Fame rings for him and his brother, which is presumably a lock at some point, with the Dudley Boys and Edge already having been inducted. Perhaps we’ll see the first ever match inducted into the HOF, for their collective game changing TLC showings in the early 00s.
Perhaps, when Matt does eventually return to WWE, that will coincide with a backstage role in the company once his final in-ring run is OVAH. Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported that WWE offered him a number of backstage positions in recent weeks in an attempt to make him stay, including one in NXT, where he’d be reunited with many of the production team that made his Broken gimmick such a success in TNA, like Jeremy Borash.
If he has any more all-time terrible booking decisions go against him, perhaps Matt’s former tag team champion partner – I honestly forgot that ever happened – Bray Wyatt will soon join him on his way out of WWE…
It’s currently unknown when Bray Wyatt’s WWE contract expires, but given how badly the company have booked him not once – with his Wyatt Family gimmick being fed to a perceived bigger star when they had the whole world in their hands back in 2014 – but now twice – with his Fiend gimmick being fed to perceived bigger star Goldberg in just a few moves at last Thursday’s Super Let Down – perhaps The Fiend could be looking for a way to let him out.
Initially, Wyatt was cryptically tweeting about his Blueniversal title loss being part of a larger plan:
-Calling it his latest chapter, titled Atonement and the Addict
-that losing the title to Goldberg wasn’t a loss, but a sacrifice, “he wasn’t a chapter in my tale”, “and now I’m where I was supposed to be. You’ll see.”
-and that his Mania match against Cena that was set up on Friday’s SmackDown is so it can go back to “where it all began. It’s a circle.”
But then a little bit of shoot truth might’ve slipped out in a tweet exchange with Kyle A Scarborough, the illustrator who designed the Fiend mask, who started off talking about Miz and Morrison losing on SmackDown just the day after they won the tag team championships:
“You booked your brand new tag champs to lose clean in a non-title match? Are they trying to completely destroy their characters? #SmackDownLIVE”
To which Bray simply replied, possibly with his own character in mind: “Yes.”
Because as much as Wyatt can try to retrofit last Thursday’s loss into some larger, always planned Fiend lore, the fact of the matter is that it isn’t. The plan up until just a few weeks ago was The Fiend facing Roman Reigns for the Blueniversal title at WrestleMania. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter writes this was the idea as late back as last October, where Wyatt was meant to run through everyone while being kept away from Reigns to build to a big confrontation between then two. Goldberg’s return was only ever meant to be a one-shot match at Super Let Down, but his SmackDown interview segment did some of the best TV numbers on Fox so far, so Vince made the call to put the belt on Goldberg, most likely so he can drop it to Roman in their Mania match also ludicrously set up on SmackDown – completely scrapping the initially planned and already advertised men’s Elimination Chamber match to decide the No. 1 contender.
Speaking of WWE not delivering on what they’ve advertised, F4WOnline is reporting that there have been a lot of complaints about SmackDown’s house show from Saturday – as despite being “advertised heavily in both local media and emails for the show as late as Thursday”, Bray Wyatt did not appear at the event. There’s no information on why Wyatt wasn’t at the show.
Speaking of gruelling house show travel schedules!
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