Although many often look to Chris Jericho as a master of character evolution, Matt Hardy is equally-as-great in this aspect of wrestling. Several of his personas have been memorable, including Matt Hardy Version 1.0 and his period in The New Brood.
However, it’s his ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy persona, first popularised in IMPACT Wrestling, that got fans interested. The Anthem-helmed company wasn’t uber-popular in the mid-2010s amid what is believed to be their worst period, but fans kept tuning in to see the wild antics of the Hardy brother.
The character earned him the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Gimmick award in 2016 and so, in trying to capitalise on the momentum, WWE attempted to recreate the magic when they introduced a ‘Woken’ persona for Matt Hardy. Needless to say, the decision was met with groans worldwide, as WWE failed to extreme measures with the change.
Matt Hardy Believes He Knows Why ‘Woken’ Character Failed
Speaking on the Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, the man behind the magic addressed what he believed was the reason for the character flopping within the sports entertainment giant, despite having proven success everywhere else:
“I think just with the shortage of talent on the roster, I feel like Vince [McMahon] felt like he needed to get myself and Bray [Wyatt] on TV every week. And we were having these really weird three-minute matches, where we were facing other tag teams and we beat every tag team in a three, three-and-a-half minute match over every single week. And I felt like that kind of took away from those characters, having ‘Woken’ Matt and Bray just having regular wrestling matches. I feel like those are two characters that are much more vignette-driven.
You know, you’re in remote locations, doing unique things, whatever, and the matches are more like a special attraction. And you make them mean something, they’re longer matches and they’re important and you know, but I feel like just being carted out every single week. You know, Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy, The Deleters of Worlds and just having a quick three-minute match, I felt like that wouldn’t do anybody any favours. It wasn’t doing us any favours or [our] opponents any favours. I felt like to continue to get those characters over, you have to build the characters and build the personalities and put them in unique, remote different settings.”
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt formed The Deleters of Worlds at WrestleMania 34 and subsequently became one-time Raw Tag Team Champions. They disbanded in the summer of 2018 when Hardy took time off television to nurse his injuries.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Extreme Life of Matt Hardy and link back to this article with a H/T to Inside The Ropes.