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MAULING IT OVER - March 25, 2023: A Beautifully Broken World

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Being Broken has never been so damn good!

By Mark Mahler - 03.25.2023

March 19th, 2018 marked the 5th Anniversary of The Ultimate Deletion in the WWE. Bray Wyatt went to the Hardy Compound to face off with "Broken" Matt Hardy. I believe this was one of the most unique matches the WWE has ever aired.

But the character didn't start there, the concept came from not a creative team, but from Matt Hardy himself. Broken Matt was the beginning of one of the most underrated characters to grace wrestling in the past decade.

After losing a match in Impact Wrestling to Jeff Hardy, Matt began to show signs of snapping. Matt was talking with an accent that was both confusing and intriguing to most fans. Jeff confronted Matt and this led to The Final Deletion at the Hardy Compound. What came next and kept going had fans' attention and we just couldn't look away.

From Jeff climbing a tree to do a Swanton, to Matt shooting fireworks directly at Jeff, and Jeff turning the tables. This match gave wrestling fans and wrestlers themselves something we've never seen before. Willow the Whisp made an appearance as Brother Nero seemingly was flushed. Matt covered Senor Benjamin instead of Jeff and the match went on.

The fight ended on Jeff's dirt bike hill. Jeff went up the ladder in typical Jeff fashion. Reby handed Matt a candle, lit the Hardy Boy symbol on the fire and Jeff fell off, allowing Matt to pin him. That was the Final Deletion of Jeff Hardy.

The Hardy Compound became Matt, and let's face it Jeff's personal playground for wrestling cinematic thrillers. We got to see their houses, their bike path, their family, name it. The Hardy's opened their homes to the wrestling world in a different and unique manner that made it must-watch TV.

We got Vanguard 001, Skarsguard, Mower of Lawn, chair of wheels a wrestling ring or two, all types of different weapons, chairs, ladders, kendo sticks, and fireworks, it was nothing wrestling fans have ever seen before. All the refs needed to do in these matches was count the pinfall or call the submission.

Jeremy Borash, who Matt has credited and praised for the big assist on making this creative character a reality, went all in to put on a one-in-a-million production. The success was not ignored because The Final Deletion spawned more matches and cinematic hits at the Hardy Compound like Delete or Decay, Matt Hardy was on to something.

DELETE or DECAY saw the Hardy's teaming up and taking out Abyss, Rosemary, and Crazzy Steve. Right off the bat the Hardy's had the fireworks shooting at Decay and the chase was on. Jeff and Senor Benjamin took care of Abyss. Jeff turned his attention to Crazzy Steve, while Broken Matt hunted down Rosemary. Rebecca retreated to the house to take care of King Maxel.

Decay emerged from his grave to choke Senor Benjamin. Steve, rose from the pool and brought Nero back into the water with him. Abyss then assisted Rosemary in a blindside attack on Matt. The Hardys were in trouble as Rosemary went for the baby. Vanguard 1 went on the attack, lighting the Hardy Symbol in the grass at the Compound trapping Decay and Steve.

Rosemary got Maxel after taking out Reby, but Vanguard 1 stopped her only to get the mist and go offline. Matt then reversed the mist on Rosemary saving Maxel. But, Senor Benjamin and Brother Nero were left in bad condition as Decay retreated.

The cast of characters that the Deletions introduced fans to, whether direct or indirect: Brother Nero, Senor Benjamin, King Maxel, Reby Sky (a mainstay in Impact, but introduced to WWE fans at The Ultimate Deletion), and naturally all of the Broken adversaries he faced at the compound: Jeff, Abyss, Crazzy Stevie, Rosemary, and Bray Wyatt.

We got to see Dilapidated City, the Lake of Reincarnation, Land of Obsolete Men, the Dome of Deletion, and of course, the famous Hardy Boys Dirt Bike Hill and Path.

Broken Matt after defeating Jeff, would gain so much momentum that he became a face with Brother Nero and the Hardy Boys became The Broken Hardys. Often we might see wrestlers in single roles change characters to keep up with the times, but rarely has wrestling seen Tag Teams evolve and continue to go up the ladder of success. But that is exactly what happened with the Hardys as they adapted to the Broken world they created.

All of the Deletions combined have had over 10 million hits on Youtube and other social media outlets The change from seeing wrestling in a ring at an arena to having an outdoor event with so many different special effects just drew people in.

The WWE version with Woken Matt Hardy versus the Eater of Worlds Bray Wyatt in The Ultimate Deletion finally gave the WWE Universe a glimpse at a character Matt had to be very careful with as there was some legal back and forth with Impact.

Wyatt and Hardy fought all over the Hardy Compound. The musical flow with the fighting assists in telling the Ultimate Deletion. Especially when we gete to the conclusion. Bray Wyatt's first encounter with telling the WWE fans "He has the whole world in his hands" actually plays a perfect role in long-term storytelling.

Matt and all those involved in these cinematic matches should be praised. During the pandemic, it allowed the WWE to utilize some of these tricks and creative practices to show John Cena vs Bray Wyatt, along with AJ Styles vs the Undertaker.

One might have thought this was a novelty act. But what Matt did was give wrestling another outlet to be creative and stretch the bounds of reality from between the ropes to another universe. That would be the Broken Universe. Maul it Over. DELETE!



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