There once was a man who could start a jukebox with a bump of the elbow. Women adored him, men wanted to be him, and he was the oldest looking teenager the world has ever seen. But still, he was the best. Then, tragically, it all went away after he jumped a shark while riding a motorcycle.
That was the end of The Fonz and “Happy Days.” Sure, it would still go on for a little bit, but there’s good reason “jumping the shark” became a coined phrase. Because after The Fonz jumped that shark, there was no turning back to normal, and the show never recovered.
This brings us to Matt Hardy. A broken man. A fellow who was so emotionally shaken by falling victim to his brother Jeff inside the squared-circle that he has somehow developed magical powers, brainwashed his brother (now known as Brother Nero), and is having random magical — yes, very literally magical — encounters against people on the TNA roster.
People appear to love it, too. Some are arguing that it is bringing attention to TNA, and any attention the company attracts is good. Others say that “The Final Deletion” and the Broken Matt Hardy story is so bad that it is good. That the greatness is in the awfulness.
This is obviously intensely subjective, but awful is only good when it is unintentional. When a group of people, in earnest mind you, attempt to do something well, but wind up making something horrific — that’s when it became unintentionally hilarious.
This is how many “B-movies” and cult classics survived over the years. No one watched — or watches — any of the “Sleepaway Camp” movies because they redefined the horror movie genre. Instead, some of us turn to those films for the patent absurdity that awaits you.
What Matt Hardy appears to be doing is not that, but more in line with the “Sharknado” franchise. He is being intentionally abysmal in his acting, character development, and every other aspect of this angle. He, like the “Sharknado” filmmakers, are trying to coerce you into thinking the forced awfulness is greatness.
Maybe he’s not actually doing that. Either way, the alternative is worse: He and TNA could actually be thinking that having people on their roster shoot fireworks and perform magic on each other makes for realistic, entertaining storytelling.
Hardy’s acting is awful. That’s not really subjective as much as it is obvious. It seems to be what he is going for, which lends credence to the idea that he’s purposely trying to be wretched. So, how exactly is this meant to be entertaining again?
Yet, people will use Lucha Underground’s own storytelling as a counterargument to the idea that TNA is jumping the shark. After all, LU has killed off characters on its television show. Furthermore, some of the people who enjoy Broken Matt’s story will be more than happy to point to the word “entertainment” in sports entertainment as part of their reason for enjoying it.
But again, I ask: What is so entertaining about any of this?
Is it the shoddy camera work? The nonsensical storyline? The fact that during Thursday’s edition of the Broken Matt Hardy saga, one character appeared to be hundreds of feet away from another, but like Jason Vorhees, humorously appeared out of nowhere?
Maybe I am the problem. It can simply be that “I don’t get it,” but I will continue to argue that I’m still trying to grasp what it actually is.
This may be a “to each their own” type of situation. If you sincerely enjoy the Broken Matt Hardy story, there is nothing but joy in my heart for you.
With that being said, the cynic in me believes that many of the people swearing by this angle are only doing so because it is not only happening outside the WWE Universe, but because people sometimes have a hard time separating different from cool and engaging during their quest to be a pro wrestling hipster.
Honestly, imagine closing Monday Night Raw with either of the two compound segments that appeared on TNA. Let that vision of having people presumably murdered with a baseball bat, another supernaturally inhaling another person’s magical acid-spit, and so many other absurd things wash over your soul.
We’d be calling Vince McMahon insane for the very reasons we’re coloring Matt Hardy a genius.