Free agent Matt Hardy bringing his ‘Broken Universe’ back to pro wrestling

Fan-favorite, Matt Hardy is done with the WWE, but he's far from done with wrestling. Where will he land next?
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Matt Hardy is officially a free agent, presented with a future filled with scintillating possibilities.

For those who have wondered what a program between “Broken” Matt Hardy and AEW star Kenny Omega would look like, you may not have to wait too long.

“I have a few great wrestling matches left in me, and I feel like one of those is with Kenny Omega,” said Hardy. “I’d love to have a one-on-one match with him. Hopefully that will happen down the road.”

Hardy returned to WWE in April of 2017 for a surprise appearance with his brother Jeff at WrestleMania 33, but his contract expired this past week and he is now free to pursue other opportunities. As one of the few performers in the business who fully comprehend the magic of pro wrestling, Hardy is once again presented with the chance to keep people guessing his next move.

“My goal is to legitimately surprise people and draw emotion from them,” said Hardy. “I always want to entertain the audience and keep them guessing. I’ll make a decision within the next 30 days, and it could be by next week. It all depends on how everything comes together.”

The only certainty regarding his future is that Hardy will return. The location of said ring is yet to be determined–and, of course, subject to change.

“I am speaking with AEW, and I am very close with the Young Bucks,” said Hardy. “We’ve been great friends for a long time. They understand this business and know how to break the fourth wall and have fun with all of this. They really are special.

“I’ve also spoken with Impact and I spoke with the NWA. I had great conversations just this week with Triple H about NXT. I’m not sure where I’m going to go. From a character perspective, I want to go to an Arcadia. That’s where I can take the second coming of ‘Broken Matt’ and build upon it. I need a canvas where I can paint and collaborate.”

Hardy gave WWE a taste of his creativeness and imagination with “Woken” Matt, but his fantastical creation never fit in Vince McMahon’s wrestling universe.

“I gave WWE everything I had to offer,” said Hardy, who exited the company on positive terms. “Winning the tag team titles with my brother Jeff was our redemption story. I had hated the way I left WWE in 2010, I was in such a bad place in life. I’d fell into a dark place and I was relying on pain medication to perform. It affected me mentally and spiritually.

“I always wanted go back to WWE and do a version of ‘Broken’ Matt Hardy there, and Vince allowed me to do that with ‘Woken’ Matt. I’ll always be appreciative of that.”

In order to be successful with such an uncommon, unique character, Hardy needs to be the driving force of his creative storyline. Over time, he learned that was not an option in WWE.

“Vince didn’t understand the whole idea behind the ‘Broken’ persona,” said Hardy. “This is a supernatural character, but one that also broke the fourth wall and winked at the fans. I don’t think Vince fully comprehended th at. But there were a lot of highlights, and having a cinematic fight against Bray Wyatt was a definitely one. People thought that would never, ever happen, but that happened on Raw. And we got the viewership above three million for the final hour.

“And our WrestleMania 33 return was a career highlight. It was a legitimate surprise, which is rare in this day and age. We achieved that moment and got back in the mix again due to my creation of The Broken Universe and Jeff’s commitment to being Brother Nero. The ‘Broken’ Hardys brought us back to WWE and to WrestleMania, and hearing the response from the fans was so flattering. Our creation left the TNA Wrestling universe and bled over to the WWE universe, ”

Whether it was a brief glimpse into the “Woken Universe” or his partnership with Bray Wyatt, the most recent run for Hardy in WWE always felt as if it operated on borrowed time.

“I feel like I aged out of WWE,” said the 45-year-old Hardy. “Vince didn’t see a prominent role for me. They were great to me, I have no complaints, and I loved what we did at the end with Randy Orton. But I can still go and I want to be in a prominent role wherever I go next.”

A prominent role would exist in AEW, where Hardy could battle the likes of “Hangman” Page, Pentagon, Darby Allin, MJF, Jungle Boy, and Orange Cassidy. All of those matchups would be appointment-viewing on Wednesday Night Dynamite, especially as Hardy jumps back into the Lake of Reincarnation to rejuvenate his Broken Universe.

“I’m a wrestling fan, and when I’m watching, I love to be surprised,” said Hardy. “That’s the beauty of this industry. And as a performer, if you can do that in 2020, that’s when you truly master your craft. That’s what I’m working to do.

“If you’re with WWE, you’re with WWE. Triple H is very much a part of the pulse of the modern fan. I’m a big fan of what he’s done with NXT, and Triple H really gets and understands wrestling fans. His vision is incredible. But there is also the possibility of working for a couple companies.”

Hardy relished the unpredictability and excitement of his innovative “Expedition of Gold” series in 2017, where he and Jeff Hardy wrestled for Impact as well as traveled to other promotions. They wrestled all over, including in Mexico for The Crash, for Ring of Honor on pay-per-view, and even in the indies. Hardy could make this happen as a singles star by wrestling for AEW, the NWA, and select indies in Mexico, the United States, Japan and the U.K.

Hardy’s “Free The Delete” series on YouTube featured a surprise appearance from the Young Bucks. Two more episodes of “Free The Delete” remain, and Hardy promised there will be a thrilling conclusion.

“I’ll either be a terrible ‘Broken’ version of an abomination, or I’ll be the second coming of ‘Broken’ Matt,” said Hardy. “From there, it will certainly evolve, and it will be the launching pad of what I do next.”

Filled with premonitions about his future, Hardy is eager to add more unforgettable moments and matches to the wrestling realm.

“I am very proud to be a pro wrestler,” said Hardy. “To me, pro wrestling is a very wholesome term. Don’t dress it up by calling me a sports entertainer, I am a pro wrestler. And I look forward to bringing more ‘Broken Brilliance’ to wrestling.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.