By Jason Powell
TNA Impact Wrestling left a bad taste in the mouths of many pro wrestling fans over the years. It did not take much prompting, if any, to get crowds at rival events to chant “F— TNA” in reaction to the company’s talent or former talent. Broken Matt Hardy changed that. The Broken Universe was popular enough that the anti-TNA chants died down or were even replaced by the “Delete” chant.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment purchased TNA late last year. The television show had its big relaunch on Thursday. They finally ditched the TNA name, though probably didn’t go far enough with it, as they are still known as Impact Wrestling, a name long associated with TNA.
At any rate, we are one show into the era of Impact Wrestling and the company has already made a move that brought back the “F— TNA” chants. Never mind the quality of Thursday’s Impact Wrestling television show, the company laid legal claim to the Broken Universe that Matt Hardy created.
“We thank @matthardybrand for a superb performance in Broken Universe,” Anthem executive Ed Nordholm tweeted on Friday. “May the seven deities guide with their Broken Brilliance left behind.” This was Nordholm’s way of telling the world that the Hardys were leaving Impact Wrestling, yet they were being forced to leave the Broken Universe behind. If that tweet didn’t send the message, the cease and desist orders issued by the company certainly did.
Reby Hardy went nuclear in response on her Twitter page. Matt’s wife pointed out the many sacrifices that Matt and Jeff made both personally and even financially for the company. The Hardy brothers clearly did right by TNA, but now Impact Wrestling and Anthem feel no obligation to return the favor.
It may turn out that Anthem has the law on their side, but they will lose this battle in the court of public opinion. Yes, others in the company may have played a part in the success of the Broken Universe, but everyone knows this is Matt Hardy’s creation. Anthem and Impact Wrestling have yet to tell their side of the story, but they have to realize that they currently look petty and vindictive to the same fans they are trying to win over.
One step forward, two steps back. The company name may have changed, but this entire situation is about as TNA as it gets.
I don’t even understand what Nordholm hopes to gain from all of this. Great, Anthem keeps the rights to the Broken Universe. Are they going to recast the roles of Broken Matt and Brother Nero in Fake Razor Ramon and Fake Diesel style? No, of course not. They are simply trying to maintain the rights to what they feel they can legally lay claim to, thus preventing companies such as Ring of Honor and WWE, and the Hardy family from capitalizing on it.
The big question they need to ask themselves is whether it’s really worth it. Impact Wrestling can’t profit from the Broken Universe in any meaningful way going forward. In fact, one could argue that they would actually stand to make more if they allowed the Hardy family to use the gimmick outside the company, as DVD sales of what the brothers did while working for TNA would surely become more profitable if the act made its way to WWE.
More importantly, Anthem and Impact Wrestling need to look like the good guys. They have a chance to make fans feel like new ownership and management are actually good people. They can send the message that Dutch Mantell’s promo that aired on Thursday’s television show was more than just lip service. In other words, if simply doing the right thing isn’t enough for them, then hopefully they will step back and realize that they have something to gain that they desperately need – goodwill with the fans.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...