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PREPARE THE BATTLEFIELD! WWE FILMING ULTIMATE DELETION TODAY

By Mike Johnson on 2018-03-08 11:27:00

WWE will be filming the Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt Ultimate Deletion match today at the Hardy Compound in Cameron, North Carolina, PWInsider.com has confirmed. 

The filming completes an incredible journey that saw Matt Hardy and his family create what is now known as "The Broken Universe" in Impact Wrestling, win what amounted to a custody battle over the rights to the intellectual property and now bring that Matt Hardy character and all the personalities and pieces that surround it to the WWE stage in the same manner that first excited wrestling fans who witnessed the Final Deletion and similar battles on Impact Wrestling.

While there is no official word whether Senor Benjamin, Reby Hardy, King Maxel, etc. would be appearing during the filming, it stands to reason that the Ultimate Deletion match would incorporate elements from similar segments filmed in Impact to bridge them over and introduce them to the WWE audience.  Jeff Hardy would obviously be able to appear, although whether he has been cleared to return to the ring by WWE is unknown. WWE sources indicate Jeff is slated to visit the WWE Performance Center later this month, but certainly a unique situation like Ultimate Deletion could feature Hardy in a non-physical cameo.

In 2016, Matt Hardy unveiled the 'Broken' Matt Hardy character as part of a feud with brother Jeff.  This led to a July 2016 battle on the Hardy compound where Jeff battled an army of drones, hit a swanton bomb off a tree onto Matt, among other crazy stunts.  The entire property was used as a backdrop, with the idea that Matt Hardy lived on this magical estate that featured the "Lake of Reincarnation" with a caretaker (Matt Hardy's father-in-law, who played the part for free) that prepared it for battle.  The entertaining match, which still holds up, ended with Jeff Hardy finally being defeated after Matt, using a candle from his son's birthday cake, lit an explosion that rocked Jeff, preparing to dive off a statue, leading to Jeff being pinned and "deleted."  The tone and filming of the match was equal parts action movie and Asylum Pictures-style camp and quickly resonated with the Impact audience, becoming known as The Final Deletion.

With Jeff Hardy now "deleted', Matt Hardy took ownership of all his social media and even his name, with Jeff eventually becoming "Broken" as well, using the ring name Brother Nero.  Rebecca Hardy would soon become "Broken" as well.

The Broken Hardys were soon feuding with Decay, the trio of Abyss, Rosemary and Crazzy Steve, including a reprisal of Final Deletion, also filmed on the Hardy Compound, titled "Delete or Decay", which featured the Lake of Reincarnation literally used to bring Joseph Park back after that character had seemingly been discarded.  This battle featured more crazy stunts, including the Hardy family shooting fireworks at Decay as they fled through the woods.  The battle ended with the Hardys losing as Matt's faithful robot companion Vanguard-1 (a drone operated by Jeremy Borash, basically played as R2-D2 to Hardy's Luke Skywalker) damaged, Senior Benjamin kidnapped by the villains and Brother Nero sacrificing himself to save Matt.

This all led to a "Great War" at the 2016 Bound for Glory PPV in Orlando, Florida, which saw the Hardys win a battle that began in the Impact Zone and then spill into the backstage area, at which point the broadcast shifted to material that had been pre-taped that featured the teams brawling all over Universal, Crazzy Steve and Jeff Hardy almost faithfully recreate the ending of the original Friday the 13th film in a nearby pool and all sorts of comedy shenanigans mixed with great stunts.  All of this led to Impact filming an entire episode of their series, dubbed Total Nonstop Deletion, at the Hardy compound.  Through all this, the Broken Hardys were one of the top draws on the independent scene outside of Impact and made a ton of money on merchandise, selling shirts related to everything House of Hardy, from Senor Benjamin to the dilapidated boat utilized as a prop in the bouts filmed at the Compound.

When Anthem Media took over Impact, the original plan had been for Matt Hardy to get more involved in the creative aspect of the company, doing his Broken Hardy-based material and using his wrestling mindset to try and help younger talents and bring them along.  Ed Nordholm, who had been placed in charge of Impact, instead made the decision to bring Jeff Jarrett on.  This led to the beginning of the end of the Hardys in Impact with the Hardys departing after the company, which was in the stages of being set up under new ownership, took their time getting contracts to the brothers.  There was a fear on the Hardys' end that Impact would kill off the characters as they existed with the belief being that Jeff Jarrett likely saw more stock in Jeff Hardy as a singles character.  Whether that was the case or not will never be proven as the Hardys opted to leave.  Impact sources at the time claimed that the Hardys would have ended up the highest paid talents in the company.

 The Hardys moved on to ROH to complete a feud with The Young Bucks that was originally ear-marked to go back and forth between ROH and Impact, but with the departure, that never happened.  Impact quickly sent cease and desist letters to Hardy, ROH and every PPV provider, claiming they owned the characters and would pursue legal action if they were used.   One source with ROH at the time stated that ROH COO Joe Koff learned of the issue as he was exiting his plane after landing in Las Vegas for the event.  DirecTV ended up pulling the show from airing and ROH downplayed the "Broken" aspects.  The Hardys would finish up with ROH last year at Wrestlemania weekend before arriving at Wrestlemania 33 as a surprise, winning the Raw Tag Team championships in a ladder match.  The appearance of the Hardys, back to their WWE characters, except for the streak in Matt Hardy's hair and some "Broken" mannerisms, led to one of the biggest pops of the night.

While the Hardys were now firmly entrenched in WWE, Nordholm and Impact were not letting go of the "Broken Universe."  At the time, Jeff Jarrett (who has since left Impact) told PWInsider.com during an interview with yours truly that the Hardys could not claim ownership as they were not the producers and writers of the Impact Wrestling series, comparing it to songwriting where multiple people involved would get paid for the work they wrote and created, even if an artist was singing the song.  Of course, songwriters receive royalties, where wrestling writers obviously do not.

Each side filed trademarks on the aspects of the Broken Universe, as it came to be known.  Attempts at a settlement ended without an agreement and each side took shots at the other.   Nordholm claimed that that Matt, Jeff and Rebecca Hardy had all signed deals that assigned ownership of the gimmick to Impact.   

The Hardys responded that the characters were created by them, had been documented by them in the process, and that they had spent money out of their own pocket to help finance all the material that aired from the Hardys Compound.   Rebecca Hardy Blistered Impact and Nordholm on social media. 

The battle went back and forth, with Nordholm releasing excerpts from Hardy's contract and stating that he was told that WWE had no interest in using the gimmick, taking that from an email exchange with a WWE Exec who informed Nordholm that rumors they intended to assist Hardy legally were not true.  Nordholm stated that he owned the rights, the gimmick and the characters and in his mind, that was the end of the matter.

Except, it wasn't.  The Hardys persisted in their claims and in the court of public sentiment, Anthem was raked over the coals, especially since much of the Impact content and goodwill prior to the Hardys' exit was based around the "Broken Universe."  The battle really made little sense on Impact's end to begin with since, without the Hardys, they couldn't utilize the gimmick or the "Broken Universe" beyond the Impact library content, ownership of which was never in question.   

There was no end to the battle in sight and the Hardys planned to file a lawsuit, even if it was going to cost them a great deal of money.  In the long run, they knew the worth of the merchandising of the characters.  Meanwhile,  Matt began using the word "Woken", replacing "Broken" online in advance of WWE eventually adopting the character.

In November 2017, however, the tide changed.  Nordholm, who would later admit to getting his head handed to him by Rebecca Hardy and others online, made the decision that going forward Impact Wrestling would release the intellectual property of characters that appeared on their show to the performers and that it would be retroactive, including all former Impact talents. 

PWInsider.com has been told by sources that the suggestion came from John "Big" Gaburick, who suggested the idea as a way to help turn the tide of negative energy towards the company into something positive.  Nordholm agreed and later reached out to Hardy to sign an agreement releasing all rights to him.  The two even posted a photo online together to celebrate and as it turned out, WWE licensed some of the Broken Universe content from Impact for their own future use. 

Life imitated art.  House of Hardy was victorious.  Impact's claims had been deleted.

Matt Hardy lost a match on Raw to Bray Wyatt.  After the bout, something "snapped" and he began screaming "Delete" over and over as WWE announcers noted that something seemed to break inside him.  The following week, Woken Matt Hardy, with all the mannerisms of the Impact character, including references to Seven Dieities and other ramblings, debuted on Raw.  There was a new "Great War" and now it was Hardy and Wyatt.  The feud has gone back and forth, somewhat handicapped by WWE not really going too deep into why Hardy is acting the way he now does, with each side getting victories.

This past Monday on Raw, Hardy issued an invitation for Wyatt to visit the Hardy Compound for "Ultimate Deletion":

With today's filming, the entire Matt Hardy character goes full circle and for all we know, could soon be "Broken" again.  Hardy was officially assigned the trademark to the "Broken Matt Hardy" character on 3/6, and as we know, there is a Lake of Reincarnation on the Hardy Compound......

 

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