It would seem Vince McMahon had a very different view of the Ultimate Deletion match, claiming he would have to change the way he did business if it drew good numbers.
The character shift made by Matt Hardy following his move to IMPACT Wrestling would have a far bigger influence on the wider industry than he probably expected.
Evolving into ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy, his cinematic matches paved the way for the likes of The Boneyard Match and Firefly Fun House at WrestleMania 36, broadening the scope for professional wrestling from matches strictly held inside the squared circle.
Success away from WWE led to Matt and Jeff returning to the company, and whilst the initial return was in a style similar to his original character with the company he soon became ‘Woken’, which led to his Ultimate Deletion contest with Bray Wyatt.
In a discussion on his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, the now AEW star spoke of how the match received a standing ovation when it was shown to members of staff earlier in the day, but Vince McMahon was less convinced on how it would be received.
I do remember they were very pleasantly surprised that it did do that good of a number. I do remember whenever we were there, watching it at the venue, they were having the live show, and then whenever the match before us ended, they just put some other segment in there for the live crowd, they didn’t play it on the titantron. I do remember earlier that day, they played in the production meeting, ‘The Ultimate Deletion’, for the writers, and coaches, and producers.
There was a standing ovation at the end of it, and I remember Vince was like, ‘I hope that means it’s good. I just don’t get it, I don’t get it.’ As he said that, I remember somebody told me [Vince said] in the production meeting, ‘I’ll tell you this, if this ends up doing a good number, I feel like I’m not on the pulse anymore. If this ends up doing a really good number, I need to change the way I do business because I’m not on the pulse anymore.’
It was also very frustrating, the line that was fed to Michael Cole right from the jump, kind of downplaying it already so that was very frustrating and disappointing as well.
Matt Hardy’s contract with WWE expired on 2nd March 2020, leading to him joining All Elite Wrestling. He has now been joined by his brother Jeff, and the pair are set to reunite in the ring once more when they take on The Young Bucks at Double Or Nothing 2022.
With thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.