Wrestling is dumb.
Look, I love wrestling but I have to admit wrestling is dumb. Wrestling is a world where people only settle arguments in a competition that’s televised for millions around the world to see. Wrestling is the only place where you can beat up your boss and you won’t get fired on the spot. Wrestling is the place where you can throw someone at the ropes and expect them to bounce back at you, where you can land flat on your chest and face but you won’t get hurt if you manage to kick someone in the face before you land and where competitors include an undead wizard, a man with a crotch so powerful it can slam multiple opponents and a duo that can hypnotize an entire locker room to go out and dance.
Yes, wrestling is dumb as all hell… but I. Love. It. To me, wrestling is like cartoons where anything is possible and the stupidity makes it incredibly easy to digest. It’s like your favorite junk food or cat videos on the Internet. It’s dumb but just so enjoyable. Wrestling companies, however, have been trying to be “smarter” by getting all serious and stuff and, while that’s fine, they’ve totally forgotten the silliness that makes wrestling both fun for kids and adults. But there is apparently one wrestler who still remembers wrestling can still be enjoyable and goody at the same time.
That man is Matt Hardy. Matt Hardy struck a chord with fans when he became “Broken” Matt Hardy and engaged in nonsensical things in TNA. From one of the pioneers of death defying wrestling stunts, Matt Hardy transitioned to a brilliant madman who marched to his own drummer. It’s hard to pinpoint why the gimmick of a man who you can consider to be insane. For me, the “Broken” gimmick works because it’s so nonsensical and far removed from the current climate of wrestling where fans know it’s all fake (Yes, we all know it! We’re not that stupid!) and we eat up every bit of real wrestling news. But you can’t really do that with “Broken” Matt Hardy! The culmination of the gimmick was the weirdly entrancing match called The Final Deletion where “Broken” Matt Hardy battled his brother Jeff Hardy for the right to use the family name. So, let’s talk about this match first.
The Final Deletion was, if I were to describe it in one word: crazy. It starts out with Matt Hardy celebrating his son’s, King Maxel, 1st birthday party (awww!) and then send Vanguard 1 to summon his brother, Jeff Hardy, to the Hardy compound to do battle. The winner gets the Hardy name and brand. Did I mention that Vanguard 1 is a sentient drone who can project a hologram? Anyway, a flock of drones then attack and Matt fends them off with a guitar before Willow (Jeff’s other gimmick and personality… this will be important later) gives chase to Vanguard 1.
The Broken One and Jeff do battle in a makeshift wrestling ring with some standard wrestling like superplexes and bulldog headlocks and some non-standard wrestling moves such as Jeff Hardy performing a swanton bomb from atop a tree on a Broken Matt Hardy who laying on top of a ladder. Things get even more insane when the action spills to the outside and the two combatants start shooting fireworks at each other. One of the funniest bits has to be when you see the shock on the Broken One’s face when he sees Jeff has his hands on a Roman Candle before shooting a barrage of fireballs at him!
Jeff gives chase and the duo battle until they fall into a lake. And just when you think things can’t get any crazier, they do! Broken Matt prematurely calls himself the victor when Jeff’s Willow persona climbs out of the lake and assaults Matt from behind like some insane killer in a slasher film! Then, from out of nowhere, Senor Benjamin, Matt Hardy’s groundskeeper (and father-in-law) rushes in at tazes Jeff! Matt pins the masked Willow but it turns out Jeff switched places with Senor Benjamin so the pinfall doesn’t count!
The match continues onto some kind of dirt pit. Jeff climbs up a giant pillar that’s in the shape of the Hardy symbol and signals for the swanton bomb again. But Matt’s wife, Queen Rebecca, hands him King Maxel’s birthday candle. Matt uses it to set the pillar on fire, which sends Matt tumbling down onto the sand dunes. The Broken One finally goes for the cover and gets the pinfall to win The Final Deletion match.
The WWE saw this and tried a couple of times to copy the popularity of The Final Deletion and both times, they revolved around Bray Wyatt. It was an understandable choice as Bray Wyatt was the WWE’s resident charismatic madman. Unfortunately, the WWE failed to capture what made the Final Deletion so brokenly brilliant. They tried with the awful New Day vs. The Wyatt Family match and the horrendous House of Horrors match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. So, it was kind of fitting for Bray to face off against the originator of the Deletion match, now known as “Woken” Matt Hardy in the WWE in an Ultimate Deletion match.
The Ultimate Deletion starts with Bray Wyatt entering the Hardy compound and is greeted by Vanguard 1 and a hologram of Woken Matt Hardy with instructions to follow the music to find the location of the match. Once both Woken Matt and Bray Wyatt enter the makeshift ring, they both start laughing before the match officially starts. Vanguard 1 distracts Wyatt for a moment, leading to Woken Matt to get the upper hand. Wyatt makes a comeback with a wicked clothesline. The Eater of Worlds (or the Consumer of Terrestrial Entities) threatens Hardy with a chair but Woken Matt orders Vanguard 1 to activate the Boomstick protocol, which activates the fireworks near the ring. This allows Matt to get the upper hand once again.
The match then moves to the Dilapidated City. Although Wyatt gets the upper hand once again, the sight of the Dilapidated City reminds Wyatt of the house that Randy Orton burned down. How the viewers got to see the flashback? Who knows! Woken Matt Hardy then hides in the Land of Obsolete Men and Bray Wyatt is unable to find him because… they keep teleporting around the area? Basically, it’s like one of those cartoon segments where one guy is trying to find a guy in a hallway of door but they keep moving around mysteriously. It’s a really surreal but fun moment.
The two continue to battle until they enter the Dome of Deletion. Here, Matt manages to take Wyatt down and then is confused as to how to annihilate his foe. He has to choose between the chair of wheels and the mower of lawns. He eventually picks the mower of lawns but Wyatt gets up before he can run him over with it. Wyatt does take control of the match afterwards and the fight goes to the Lake of Reincarnation. Matt crawls over to Skarsgard, his dilapidated friend and boat. Before Wyatt can finish off Matt, Vanguard 1 attacks but Bray stops him. Vanguard 1 manages to escape in the nick of time.
Bray turns over Skarsgard but is suprised to see Senor Benjamin under the dilapidated boat. Senor Benjamin tosses Wyatt a globe and then starts singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Then, Jeff Hardy/Brother Nero teleports and starts singing as well. Woken Matt Hardy takes advantage of the distractions and nails the Twist of Fate for the pinfall victory. But it’s not over yet. Matt tosses Wyatt into the Lake of Reincarnation. Matt orders Senor Benjamin to find Bray Wyatt’s carcass but is unable to find him. Nevertheless, Woken Matt Hardy has won the Ultimate Deletion.
Both matches were a blast to watch. The Final Deletion has a B-movie quality to it but you can really feel the passion and creativity everyone put into the “match.” The insane moments, such as Jeff Hardy plummeting to the ground from a tree and the battle where they shot fireworks at each other were awe-inspiring. The entire thing was also extremely kooky and a blast to watch as it didn’t take itself seriously. But the best thing about the Final Deletion was the actual storytelling. The start where Vanguard 1 shows up at Jeff Hardy’s home and Jeff chases after it was a great start.
The Ultimate Deletion definitely benefited from some higher production values. Vanguard 1’s camera views were funny and actually made it seem as if the drone had some AI built in. The segment in the Land of Obsolete Men had me laughing out loud really hard because of how ridiculous it was yet everyone played it straight. The closing match was also pretty weird and didn’t make a lick of sense. But it was this craziness that made the Ultimate Deletion’s ending really good.
If I were to pick, I would say the Final Deletion was still better than the Ultimate Deletion. The TNA match may look like some low-budget horror film but that just added to its “broken” charm. That’s not to say the WWE version wasn’t bad, though. It was still a hoot and a half and I haven’t had that much fun watching a “wrestling” match in a long while. I will give props to “Broken/Woken” Matt Hardy as he is the obvious mastermind behind these matches. He understands the level of insanity necessary needed to make this fun and that they shouldn’t take it too seriously. This is wrestling after all and wrestling, like I said at the start of this review, is dumb.
Which was better in your opinion? TNA’s The Final Deletion or WWE’s The Ultimate Deletion? Let me know in the comments section below!