Matt Hardy recalls when Vince McMahon asked him to explain his Broken Matt Hardy character and the “DELETE!” catchphrase.
Hardy recently did an “ask me anything” on his Twitch stream and many things came up including his return to WWE at WrestleMania 33 and how he wants to end his career in AEW with his brother Jeff.
Prior to his return he was the talk of the wrestling town with his Broken Matt Hardy gimmick. It was impossible to escape the “DELETE!” catchphrase and it created a ton of buzz around Hardy. This buzz no doubt made its way to WWE, Vince and Triple H. Hardy believes this buzz led to him and his brother being brought back to WWE.
“Vince probably didn’t have any idea about Broken Matt Hardy,” Hardy said. “Whenever we signed up for WrestleMania 33, we spoke with Vince but Triple H was the guy who did the majority of our negotiations. Thats who kind of worked out the deal with, when it was all set and done. It was very on the down low, only a handful of people knew about it and that was a part of the magic and what helped us coming back. Triple H was great the whole while, it was great working with him, it was great negotiating with him at the time.
One of the reasons I think we were asked to comeback is because Vince kept saying ‘Why do these people keep saying delete? What is this delete s–t? Why do people keep going delete?’ Eventually, we spoke to him and that’s how we ended up back there. We came back, we were the Hardy Boyz and once Jeff got hurt, I was going to do a Woken Matt Hardy run.” H/T To Wrestling Inc. For Transcription
Broken Matt Hardy Broke the Wrestling Internet
It was amazing how popular Hardy got once he started doing this character. The Hardy Boyz were this well regarded and well-liked tag team from WWE in the late ‘90s and 2000s. However, they weren’t really doing much, especially Matt Hardy. Luckily IMPACT had enough trust in them to let Matt go not just out of the box but into outer space with this new idea of his. It took off very quickly and was referenced everywhere.
However, one of the most interesting things to think about was how he explained his Broken Matt Hardy character to Vince. A guy who has been the owner of the biggest wrestling promotion in the United States since the early ‘80s. Vince isn’t new to cartoon character wrestler personas, but Hardy’s idea was way beyond a simple cartoon character.
Hardy recalls the day he found out Vince was considering using his character and trying to pitch it to Vince.
“I remember pulling up to the building one time and I had no idea,” Hardy said. “Bray Wyatt, who we were buddies before that and we really bonded and gelled as friends, but I remember pulling up to television that day and Bray Wyatt pulled up and he said ‘Hey man, are you excited about tonight?’ I was like ‘Why, what’s tonight?’ He’s like ‘You haven’t heard? We’re starting the whole Bray Wyatt, Broken Matt Hardy thing.’ I was like ‘We are?’
Then I remember walking in and Michael Hayes said ‘Hey, Vince needs to talk to you, he’s got 30 minutes chiseled out for you and he wants you to explain the whole Broken Matt Hardy lure and how’d you come up with this and tell me about the character and what’s going on.’
That was definitely one of the most interesting 30 minutes I ever had, especially telling him the whole idea of the essence of Broken Matt Hardy going from one body or vessel to another body over time. Explaining that to Vince McMahon was one of my favorite memories of all time. I remember there was a lot of ‘Hmmm, okay,’ and I know in his mind he’s going, this son of b—h is crazy. I had to sound like a mad man to him, an absolute madman. It was cool, it was fun and Vince really did stay open minded.
He let me do Broken Matt on WWE TV and on top of that they had said we’re going to get some sort of compound deletion fight. He stayed true to his word, we really had to fight and work hard to do it.
Really, Vince is such a great talker. 30 minutes, it was probably 26 minutes of me talking and four minutes of him. He really was, he had an open mind to it. From what I understand, the Broken Matt Hardy craze is what ended up bringing us back to WWE, so he knew there was interest there.
Also it’s very different because WWE is such a more massive global deal. When we were doing it on IMPACT, it was viral online and on the internet and it did really well on the IMPACT shows but that’s also a much smaller audience as opposed to WWE. Vince gave it a shot and for that I commend him and thank him. I have nothing but love and a lot of respect for Vince McMahon.”
How Matt Became Broken
Vince has seen it all in wrestling, but I doubt he was expecting a character as bizarre as Broken Matt Hardy. Luckily Hardy had worked for WWE for years prior and Vince trusted him to make this character work or at least well enough to give it a try.
It is impossible to sum up the Broken Brilliance which is Broken Matt Hardy, but I’ll try. Matt and Jeff were in a fued and Jeff did a Swanton Bomb on Matt and threw a table. Matt was carried out by medical staff and when he returned the next month he was Broken Matt Hardy. His body had become a vessel for a soul thousands of years old according to the seven deities. His mission was to delete his opponents starting with his brother Jeff who he called Brother Nero.
Here is a clip of Broken Matt Hardy very early on in his character.
After Hardy left WWE he made his way to AEW and started a feud with Chris Jericho with his Broken Matt Hardy character. However, it didn’t quite work and received a lot of criticism which led to the gimmick to be dropped. AEW President Tony Khan even admitted he wasn’t a big fan of the character.
However, Matt Hardy hopes to bring the character back and hopes having fans in the audience will give it the added boost to have the character take off.
“I definitely think now that we have this Twitch capability you’ll be seeing some Broken Matt appearances here,” Hardy said. “But now for the time being in AEW, it’s definitely Big Money Matt. I think the whole pandemic scenario threw a huge monkey wrench in the plans.
Especially not having fans live in the building and in the venue and just doing empty arena shows and literally just having nothing to gauge on what you’re doing. I feel terrible for Orange Cassidy, if we had been having fans when he was going through that run with Chris Jericho, he would’ve been so over at that time. I dig his gimmick and obviously you guys know me, I did Broken Matt Hardy so I like that out of the box thinking.
As far as Broken Matt goes, I definitely think when crowds are back and the moment arises and the time is right, I think Broken Matt could be 100% back. If he comes back to AEW, one of the lessons I feel like I’ve learned from the past when I first started as Broken Matt, I wanted to come in and be a little bit more vicious.
The very first thing I did whenever I did the deal with Jericho and we did a teleportation thing, it was Chris’ idea and he was really giving and trying to make this character over the top and special. We did it and I know it was met with a lot of criticism from both sides. Long story short, I would definitely go without being the magical character or the supernatural route. I would make Broken Matt almost go back to his roots as just vicious, crazy, primal, animalistic and I think that type of Broken Matt would work in front of fans, in front of an AEW crowd.”
I am a huge fan of the Broken Matt Hardy character. It was so much fun and exciting to watch when he was doing it in IMPACT. I hope it does come back and they allow him free reign to explore his character and get real weird with it.
Did you like the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick? Do you think it will work in AEW if he tries it again? Is there anyone who you would like to see face Broken Matt Hardy in AEW? Leave some of those great comments below and let us know what you think.
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