Another week gone by and of course here we are at the end with another ?Wrestling Rumblings? and this one promises to be an interesting one. Forget wrestling for just a minute throughout history we have seen famous groups/pairs break up and go their separate ways whether it be with music as with NSYNC, sports as with Kobe and Shaq, you can even go back to the biblical era with Cain and Abel. Of course history has proven that usually there is a stronger half that goes on to do better things but what happens to that other half. Well the rest of NSYNC floundered, Kobe despite having MVP numbers has yet to win that elusive championship ring on his own and of course Abel died. Now let’s bring it back to wrestling we have seen falling outs on numerous occasions with both tag teams and stables and history in wrestling tends to mimic human history more often than not. Recently we had another of those splits take place with the Hardy Boyz. Together the 2 were considered one of the elite tag teams of all time but it has finally happened that long awaited split and now what will become of the man most would argue is the weaker Hardy? What will become of Matt Hardy?
Before I proceed I should tell those of you that have not followed me throughout my celebrated writing career (that’s called sarcasm people) I am not a big fan of the elder Hardy. For those that will question it let me just say it has nothing to do with his ring work because while it is not spectacular it is solid. It is more for the simple fact that in my opinion Matt Hardy is a mark for himself. Ever since the whole Lita/Edge debacle I have not been able to fight that feeling and to go in detail would require another column. Needless to say I remain unbiased in what I am going to say here. After Wrestlemania 25 and his inevitable showdown with Jeff I think Matt Hardy might as well call it a career. After all as I have already stated past history has not been kinder to the weaker of two halves and make no mistake about it Matt Hardy is the weaker overall of both Hardys.
Now before I get hate mail from all the Matt Hardy fans out there ask yourself one thing before you email me: Can you see Matt Hardy headlining a PPV? I am sure majority of you will say no and that would probably end the argument there but hell I got a column to fill out so for those of you that still want to argue and say you would plop down 40 bucks to see Matt headline a show let me use three very talented wrestlers who were part of tandems that split as prime examples of where Matt Hardy is headed. The three guys we will use to cement the issue are Owen Hart, Marty Jannetty and Christian Cage.
While Owen Hart and Bret were not really much of a tag team one could make the point that you can?t say Owen Hart without thinking of Bret. Bret was the established superstar of the two and just as Matt and Jeff are playing the ?Shadow? card in there feud so did Bret and Owen when they had their feud 15 years ago. Now what happened to Owen once his feud with Bret was over? Well first I would have to ask when would you consider there feud to be over? Because I never really felt they stopped feuding until they reunited and to me they reunited because there was only so much you could do with Owen as the bickering little brother. This is not to say Owen didn?t have a good mid card career or to say for that matter that Bret was better than him (in my opinion Owen was in fact more talented) however it just seemed that there was never really a desire by creative to give him that main event shine that Bret received outside of him working with Bret. I can?t help but feel that creative is going to look at Matt Hardy any differently. You can argue that Matt was doing very well with his Version 1 gimmick a few years ago but it was different than. As entertaining as that was it was not a main event gimmick. I would compare that to Owen Hart’s Slammy gimmick and further back to his ?King of Hearts? gimmick which were both mildly entertaining but didn?t break the main event ceiling. You can go ahead and tell me that Matt worked well with both Undertaker and Brock Lesnar during this period but neither of those were main event feuds and he was a supporting wrestler in the angle. Owen was able to work programs with Shawn Micheals, Davey Boy Smith, and Stone Cold Steve Austin and as high profile as some of them may have been none of them were main event programs either. So what do Owen and Matt have in common here? Both are better mic guys than there brothers and both may even be considered better workers but at the end of the day Owen had to go back to Bret and I wouldn?t be surprised to see Matt have to do the same. Still not convinced? Let’s move on then.
Ever since they both broke out on the scene everyone compared Jeff Hardy to Shawn Micheals. So of course it is fair to assume Matt Hardy would be Marty Jannetty right? There are a few out there that would say that at that early stage of their break up Marty was just as good as Shawn so why didn?t he have the same amount of success? Two words ?It Factor? Marty was just missing it. At the end of the day while you couldn?t knock his ring work you didn?t really care to see him anywhere else. Truth of the matter was after his angle with Shawn there just wasn?t a fit with him working with anyone else. He just couldn?t shake the stink of being one half of the Rockers. Although they have just split officially Matt has been on his own for a while right now and to me it just felt that throughout his entire singles run he couldn?t shake the stink of being the other Hardy. Edge said it best during a segment Matt Hardy was ECW Champion and all everyone could do was talk about Jeff. For those of you that think Matt is money when he was the big guy in ECW how good were those ratings? Why should you expect a Matt Hardy on top of another brand to be any different?
Now the last guy I am going to compare to Matt is someone that he and Jeff will forever be linked to throughout their careers. Of course I am talking about Christian Cage. Let’s just say for a minute that Christian never went to TNA where would he be right now on the WWE totem pole? I don?t think anyone can argue that throughout the duration of Christian’s WWE run there was never a dull moment. He never failed to entertain f rom when he was the whiny Christian to when he did the Unamerican angle to his time with Trish Stratus. His work was great, his promos were great and he always seemed to look great in segments. So why is it that WWE never put that rocket on his back? It’s simply because he was not Edge. You see I don?t believe that the onus for getting over necessarily is always due in part to the wrestler. There are just some guys that upper management is going to push no matter what and there are some guys that no matter how talented they are get lost by the wayside. To put it even more bluntly Christian being a main event guy just wasn?t in the plans. Why would you think that Matt Hardy being a main event guy is any more in WWE’s plans? This is all about Jeff and no one else. Unless Matt does something spectacular he is just going to wind up a footnote in all of this just like Christian. Now what Christian did was ultimately different than what everyone else did and may help him out in his return to the WWE and that’s leaving of course and going to TNA. By going to TNA Christian was able to get a creative team to settle for focusing on him when there was no one else to focus on at the time. If Matt would have taken that opportunity to go to TNA when it was presented to him maybe I wouldn?t feel this way about him right now but alas he didn?t and here we are.
So let’s recap a little shall we? Why is this the end of Matt Hardy? Is it because he is stuck in the shadow of Jeff? Is it because he is perceived as part of the Hardy Boy package and nothing else? Or is it because creative simply just won?t look at him and attempt to make him a star? I say it’s all of the above. At the end of the day who knows? Maybe history is not doomed to repeat itself after all there have been exceptions in history f rom time to time. In sports both Bash Brothers were able to go on to win World Series with other teams, In music all the Beatles went on to do great things and in wrestling every member of Evolution with the exception of Ric Flair who didn?t need another one went on to win world titles. Which side of the equation will Matt Hardy find himself on?
I think that just about wraps up this week’s installment. Of course if you like the column, hate the column or just have something to say you can hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can check out the myspace page for columns f rom yesteryear at http://www.myspace.com/wrestlingrumbling. Next week I will try to do better and until then I am out.