Ever since Matt and Jeff Hardy returned to the WWE in April, fans have been anxious for them to introduce their “broken” gimmick. But this has not yet happened because Global Force Wrestling (formerly Impact Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action) claims ownership over all things “broken.” Over the past few months, the Hardys have been attempting to reach a deal that would allow them to use the broken gimmick in the WWE, and for some time it seemed like a deal was close to being struck. So what has been the latest update in this ongoing legal saga?
Right now, talks between the Hardys and Global Force Wrestling seem to have collapsed, and so we should not expect to see Broken Matt on WWE programming in the immediate future.
On July 26th, Global Force Wrestling President Ed Nordholm gave an interview to Sports Illustrated in which he said that he’s confident his company owns the broken gimmick and that he is done trying to make a deal with the Hardys.
“I made a genuine effort to resolve something to benefit the Hardys as a goodwill gesture to Matt,” Nordholm said. “It didn’t reach a conclusion and we’re moving on. We’re not going back to it, I’m not interested in opening a new dialogue, I’m not interested in opening another conversation about it. We made our best effort, it didn’t happen, and I’m not going to negotiate all over again.”
Days later, Reby Hardy, Matt’s wife, was interviewed on Pro Wrestling Sheet’s The Sheet podcast, and she made clear that the Hardys are still planning to continue their fight for the broken gimmick, saying that Nordholm may be underestimating their persistence. She also confirmed that they really were close to a deal recently, as had previously been reported, but she was skeptical that one could still be reached.
“There were still negotiations going on up until even a few weeks ago,” she told The Sheet. “…If this deal was going to happen, I promise you it would have happened already.”
Every few weeks on Raw, Matt and Jeff Hardy make a reference to their beloved gimmick, as they did on a recent episode of Raw when they explicitly dropped the words “broken” and “obsolete.” Whenever this happens, fans get incredibly excited, assuming a deal with Global Force Wrestling must be close, otherwise the Hardys would never drop these hints.
But while speaking with The Sheet, Reby Hardy said that we shouldn’t read much into this because Matt would drop these hints no matter what was happening behind the scenes.
“He would be doing it whether or not there was any deal in place,” Reby Hardy said. “He had been doing it even at WrestleMania, when things were still very much still up in the air, when it could have gone either way, when both parties were sure it could have gone either way.”
The Hardys did recently score a victory, though, in that Global Force Wrestling tried to trademark the phrases “Broken Matt,” “Brother Nero,” “Broken Brilliance,” and “Vanguard1,” but their requests were refused by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to PWInsider (via WrestleZone).
Matt and Jeff Hardy left TNA (now Global Force Wrestling) earlier this year, and Reby Hardy later made their grievances with the company public, criticizing them for the way they conducted their contract negotiation. While speaking with The Sheet this week, Reby Hardy said that Matt and Jeff Hardy called TNA’s bluff by going to the WWE.
As Matt and Jeff Hardy have come to the WWE, they have wanted to continue their popular “broken” gimmick, which originated on Impact Wrestling. The Hardys say that this is no different from wrestlers leaving promotions but continuing to use their ring name. Global Force Wrestling, on the other hand, claims that they own the intellectual property of the broken gimmick because it originated on their programming and because they say they had a role in creating it.