The (in)famous “contest” between ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy and Jeff ‘Brother Nero’ Hardy was almost cut from broadcast due to concerns about how people would react.
In 2016, Matt Hardy underwent a major character change. He began talking and acting like a maniac and was as over-the-top and absurd as he could be. And while initial reactions to ‘Broken’ Matt were mixed he became a much bigger success story after his ‘match’ with his brother Jeff.
What started off as a wrestling match soon turned into a strange mix between pro wrestling, schoolyard brawling, and cinematic fight scene. The Final Deletion included such gems as (SPOILER ALERT):
- Matt “summoning” Brother Nero by way of playing a violin gifted to him by Antonio Stradivari
- Jeff whipping Matt into, not a table set up in a corner, but a trellis
- Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones-style orchestral music playing as the two brothers “do battle”
- Jeff Hardy climbing a very tall tree to do a Swanton Bomb onto Matt on a ladder…and missing
- Matt firing Roman candles at Jeff and Jeff using a garbage can lid as a shield
- Something about a dilapidated boat named “Skaarsgard”
- Matt putting Jeff into a sleeper hold in a lake and pretending Jeff is gone, only for Jeff’s alter-ego Willow to make an appearance
- A hilarious bait-and-switch involving someone named Senor Benjamin
- A minor explosion involving Jeff, his symbol, a dirtbike path, and gasoline
The entire segment can be seen here.
The Final Deletion was such a big hit with fans, but those same viewers should count themselves lucky they got to see it at all. Speaking on his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt describes how the “match” almost never aired because Dixie Carter was too scared of how people would react.
“It was [The Final Deletion]. I remember once we got that greenlit and we did it. Jeremy Borash waited until the last second to show it so it had been turned in so they kind of had to put it on TV. You couldn’t film any more content, which was very smart on his end. I remember he said like, holy, you know, holy sh*t. Like you’d have to be a maniac to let this air, so just call me maniac from here out.
And I remember Dixie contacting me saying ‘oh my God Matt I’m like, so scared. I don’t know how people are going to react to this. It’s just so different, I’m like, so scared’.
But it was so incredible how that became such a historic match and a historic night, you know. Just the way that went viral over the next few weeks. And then just doing Broken Matt initially, and just like, just there were memes and gifs or that were everywhere. You know, I just that’s what I was shooting for. I was trying to do stuff that would be you know, worthy meme material, and that really worked and that’s what helped Broken Matt Hardy not only get over with like wrestling fans, but just in a mainstream way. It was crazy. It was everywhere.”
The Final Deletion remains one of the most popular and fondly-remembered moments in Impact history and ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy was voted Best Gimmick of 2016 by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s readers.
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