Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Hardy’

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: The Final Deletion

August 6, 2016

WILPW

So, I kind of want to talk about this when it actually happened but I hesitated. I wanted to think about it before I actually posted something because doing otherwise leads to horrible posts. I have ragged on Total Nonstop Action’s Wrestling product a lot in this blog. I have especially been hard on it lately because the product got really, really terrible. People might talk about how the WWE gets bad sometimes but it has never quite reached the level of WCW’s darkest days or the depths TNA goes to. Whatever I say in this post, know that I stand by that. I have watched some TNA lately and while there are a few bright spots, it is still mostly bad. It is falling apart despite the talent’s best efforts because the team behind them is crap and has pretty much always been crap.

So, let us hit up a quick history because none of this makes sense unless you know the history of the Hardy brothers. Actually, none of this makes sense no matter what so do not worry if you get lost. The two men behind this angle have a history of heavy drug use.

Matt and Jeff Hardy are brothers in real life who come from the wrong Carolina and decided to get into the world of sports entertainment. They eventually started their own company called OMEGA which got them noticed by what was then the World Wrestling Federation. They debuted in a feud against Edge and Christian, another hot young tag team. The Hardys started out by pretending to be vampires just after Edge and Christian had been mysteriously cured of their own vampirism but that angle was mercifully short-lived. Being the “new” anything is usually a death knell to your career and the New Brood would probably have been the same deal. Instead, the two teams went on to have a series of tag team bouts which included the first ever tag team ladder match (don’t get anal about the research there).

Matt and Jeff were innovators of the sport and while they were not the greatest on the mic, they had a lot of physical charisma. Kind of like Roman Reigns. They eventually split and started to have a lot of singles success. Hell, Jeff pretty much started his singles career by taking on the Undertaker in a barn burner of a hardcore match. Matt alternated between being a die hard babyface and an arrogant heel. The Mattitude era was actually pretty fun and it helped provide their friend Shannon Moore with a job. The problem was that both brothers had a lot of issues. Whether it was success or they would have succumbed anyway, both brothers fell into heavy drama and drug problems. Jeff especially had a lot of drug issues and was eventually shown the door from the WWE and Matt followed not long after.

TNA is adept at picking up from WWE’s discard pile so both of them ended up in TNA. Both of them actually gained new life and fame in TNA but also fell to their demons over and over again because TNA does not really care. I watched them only in bits and pieces from then on because I mostly stopped watching TNA in disgust after Jeff Hardy showed up drunk and high to a pay per view match and it still went on anyway.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. Jeff and Matt have been doing a sibling rivalry angle (again) and this time the story is that Matt has been broken by the whole thing. Instead of “The Man Who Cannot Die”, Matt Hardy has become “Broken” Matt Hardy. This means that he acts really weird and speaks in twenty different accents in each promo he does. It is kind of funny in a stoner humor kind of way but it gets old really fast for me. If I wanted to watch somebody speak in funny voices and not entertain me, I would watch Adam Sandler movies. So they have a series of matches and then comes the event in question. They are going to have the Final Deletion where it will finally be decided which Hardy will stay and who will go.

No recap will do this video justice but a quick one will wet your whistle. The video begins with a few short vignettes that make increasingly less sense. We see Matt with his son and his wife Reby Sky who has wrestled locally here in Maryland quite a lot. We see Jeff at home playing guitar and mowing his lawn. We see Matt set up a ring in his backyard and send a fleet of drones against Jeff, inviting him to the battle. The two show up at the ring along with a truly confused referee who I don’t think was acting. They then start to have a truly bad pre-taped match sort of shot with Hollywood film angles. After a lot of shenanigans and weirdness, Matt finally pins Jeff and Jeff Hardy is declared “deleted”.

I have a couple of notes here. Actually, this is kind of the whole reason I wrote this whole post. I laughed pretty much continuously while watching this whole feature. Whether all of it was intentional or not, the Broken Matt thing is actually a lot funnier away from the TNA arena in a setting where it makes a smidgen more sense. Jeff’s part negligible and he botched most of the maneuvers he attempted including a horrible ladder spot. The thing really works as a funny internet sketch because both guys are either stoned out of their minds or really threw everything they had into this or both. I have heard some comparisons between the first parts of this and the well=produced but bonkers backstage segments of Lucha Underground. I can see where they are coming from but Lucha is so much more polished and planned. I mean they wrestle for twenty minutes at night and at the end you can see the sun coming up.

What I am concerned most with is precedent. As I am studying the law, it is something very much on my mind. In the world of sports entertainment, precedent is important. The first time you do something, that opens the door for somebody else to do it down the line. I mean, look at the very tag team ladder matches that Matt and Jeff helped create. Specialty ladder matches are all over the place now and the Money in the Bank match is one of the highlights of every year in the WWE. My problem is that the match was pre-taped and heavily edited. I fear that there is some executive out there who decides that this is how all the matches should be done. They look at the media attention this got and they decide that sports entertainment should become even more fake. I don’t know if I am ready for that. While it would save on injuries, it would also cut down on the athleticism and spontaneity of what matches are now. I hope this is a one and done thing.

Why I Love Pro Wrestling Episode: Horrible Gimmicks

December 30, 2014

WILPW

I’m now back on track with watching sports entertainment and I am really enjoying it.  I am especially enjoying watching Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler and the Dust Brothers but there’s quite a bit of good stuff happening.  I really liked Survivor Series as I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  Anyway, onto this edition of Why I Like/Hate Pro Wrestling.

Horrible Gimmicks

There has been a long history of performers who had horrible gimmicks.  Now, I could gripe about them (and believe me I do) but that doesn’t get any of us anywhere.  Eventually a bad gimmick will disappear and it’s a lot of fun to look back and shake my head at how stupid they were to even think they had a good idea.  Here are just a fraction of the black holes of creativity that I’m glad are gone.

Willow The Wisp

I admit it.  I used to be a pretty big Hardy Boyz fan in the nineties.  Not the mystery solving duo but the two brothers who were billed from the wrong Carolina.  The guys who jumped off of ladders and moved with a rugged kind of grace that was probably born from the connection that brothers have.  Unfortunately, as time went by the Hardys split up and both went through some really tough times.  Jeff Hardy became a huge drug enthusiast and got sloppy and lost a lot of his appeal.  It was probably during one of these binges that he came  up with Willow the Wisp.  At some point Jeff Hardy became known as an Artist with a capital A.  It always came off as both really pretentious and kind of rednecky.  Willow the Wisp was an idea where Jeff was trying way too hard and it ended up as a really annoying gimmick.  Everything about it just seemed stupid.  The promos looked like they were filmed behind Jeff’s trailer in the woods and he carried around an umbrella because it was “quirky”.

Eugene

So imagine you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation who regularly puts on television programming and live shows and your product has carried a social stigma off and on since its inception.  You would think that company would refrain from upsetting any special interest groups, wouldn’t you?  Well, you would be right but the WWE would neglect that good advice and instead they would help create Eugene, a crime against everyone who watched WWE programming at the time.  The storyline was that Eric Bischoff had a nephew and was somehow forced to let him wrestle.  His “nephew” was played by Nick Dinsmore who was allowed to fake being somewhere on the autism spectrum.  He played the worst stereotype of somebody who is “retarded” even though Dinsmore was not.  The worst part was that this was played as an inspirational story.  It made me embarrassed to be a fan.

Akeem the African Dream

In the history of the WWE (at this point it was the WWF), there have been plenty of moments where the company capitalized on race relations.  The Gang Wars of the 90’s, the Nation of Domination, Rodney Mack and so many other regrettable moments.  At least those examples made some sort of sense even if they weren’t exactly sensative to our nation’s already tense history with racial issues.  Let’s see if you follow the logic on this one and maybe you can see where logic left the building.  In the eighties there was a wrestler who went by One Man Gang.  Tough name, right?  He was a tough guy who came in to the ring and beat the crap out good guys.  While this is not an automatic recipe for success, it was a solid gimmick.  Now, the One Man Gang was white.  I only mention this because at some point they decided to perform an “African ritual” to infuse him with the spirit of Africa (or something) and renamed him Akeem the African Dream.  So, basically he operated in blackface without the blackface make up.  Awesome idea.

The Black Scorpion

It’s long been a popular practice to combine two great things that go together.  Reese’s candies definitely showed this to be true.  So why wouldn’t it be a success to combine two things that a lot of people like in the world of sports entertainment?  WCW decided to combine mystery and stage magic to create a villain worthy of facing Sting, a guy who had become a huge draw and needed a legit opponent.  A mysterious black-clad man suddenly appeared and threatened Sting.  Usually when a new character is revealed, they prove that they are a threat by beating a string of opponents or at least beating a bunch of people up.  What did they have Black Scorpion do?  They had him speak through a really hokey voice distortion device and he also performed pretty lame magic tricks.  The other big problem they ended up with was that they never properly planned who was under the mask.  It was supposed to be somebody from Sting’s past but that literally could be anybody in the company.  They came up with at least three possibilities and none of them were surprising or exciting and the gimmick ended with Ric Flair unmasking.  Boring.

Lord Tensai

Matt Bloom had been with the WWE for years as the unfortunately named Prince Albert and then A-Train.  He was a pretty good wrestler but wasn’t really used very well for a big man who had a fair amount of skill in the ring.  He was eventually let go probably because the company didn’t really have anything for him to do because they had made him lose too many matches.  So Bloom went to Japan and became a huge success as a monster heel and won more belts than he had probably even glimpsed during his time with the WWE.  From all reports, the Japanese fans bought into Bloom who had renamed himself Giant Bernard, a name that probably made sense in Japan.  With all this success, you’d think that his former employers would sit up and take notice.  Well, they did but they decided to screw it up.  They brought Bloom back in as Lord Tensai, a Japanese lord with fake face tattoos.  Yet again they decided to take a white performer and have him pretend to be a different race.  They could have just brought him in and talk up how much he learned in Japan but instead they pretend that we can’t tell who he is anymore.  After a couple months he turned from a credible threat into a joke and they abandoned the gimmick.


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