The evolution of Matt Hardy has been entertaining, to say the least. His road to stardom has been paved with brutal bumps, legendary TLC matches and a real-life affair — which got turned into a WWE storyline. But it’s his “Broken” persona that’s come to define him in recent years.
The 45-year-old has seen some of his biggest success as Broken Matt, with some pointing to his 2016 to 2017 run with IMPACT Wrestling as one of the best and most creative times in his career. What inspired him, though? What sparked the great big-bang of the Broken Universe? The answer is simpler than you’d think.
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“A lot of that came from television shows I watched,” Hardy explained on the Mar. 20 episode of Chris Jericho’s podcast Talk Is Jericho. “And I’ll be honest, this is probably the most straightforward honest answer I can give: True Blood was one of the shows…I was a big fan of Dexter, True Detective.”
Towards the end of his second-to-last run in WWE, after Hardy had “burned out” from the road and was working so much, he “discovered TV” and began binge watching shows like crazy. It was an outlet for him, a way to disconnect and find new inspiration for his character. True Blood was his favorite to watch and take notes on, Hardy said.
“Following these vampires that lived in all these different eras and different time periods and they were relative to the era, I was like: ‘I wish I could have a character like that — that’s really what I want to do,'” he told Jericho. “So I started thinking about it and tried to apply the life of a vampire who’s lived 2,000 years to a wrestling character.”
Hardy, a North Carolina native, would sit at home in his compound and come up with ways to mix the worlds of True Blood and professional wrestling. He would ask himself, “What if something happened to me? Like this big traumatic incident?” With this in mind, Hardy began tweaking his attitude and performances on IMPACT each week. He thought that, if done right, people would gravitate towards the character’s absurdity and over-the-top origin story.
Hardy imagined his character as a changed man, with parts of his mind “opened up” by the mental trauma that he experienced — a trauma which ended up being delivered by his brother, Jeff, diving off the IMPACT Zone and onto the table he was laying on. The two had been wrestling in an “I Quit” match.
“I become conscious of where my soul has been — in different bodies, in different vessels,” Hardy said of his character. “That was my whole motivation behind creating Broken Matt. It was like, more or less, from True Blood and seeing vampires who had lived for thousands of years in different time periods.”
Hardy explained that the latest version of his Broken character is known as Damascus. His last incarnation, Zenith, was killed off by Abomination and Kennegan, which are plays on the words Abigail and Kennedy. Hardy told Jericho that the words refer to WWE’s Bray Wyatt and Vince McMahon, whose middle name is Kennedy.
“Damascus is an older, more powerful essence,” Hardy said. “The hair is red obviously. And Damascus is from 999 BC. A lot more vicious, a lot more serious.”
Hardy debuted in All Elite Wrestling last week after leaving WWE due to creative differences. He was unhappy with WWE’s lack of interest in the Broken character and been airing his grievances on Twitter. Hardy debuted in AEW during the Mar. 18 episode of Dynamite and threw himself into the ongoing rivalry between The Elite and the Inner Circle. He’s expected to be a main-event player in the blossoming promotion.
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