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    Wednesday, July 6, 2016

    Heavy Impact (7/5/16): The Final Deletion

    This week's Impact Wrestling features The Final Deletion: the nth time that Matt and Jeff Hardy square off in a duel to determine the better Hardy. The match is billed as the final encounter between "Broken Matt" and "Brother Nero," with the loser losing all the rights to the Hardy name/brand. For the past few months, the Hardys have engaged in a bitter feud that left Matt's character insane, giving us the gift of wrestling's most amazing meme to date.

    For this edition of Heavy Impact, we're having a running diary of that one match that has wrestling communities in a buzz: the much-anticipated match between Broken Matt and Brother Nero, featuring everything from fireworks to ladders, from trees to violins. But first, the other matches in this week's edition of Impact Wrestling:

    • Eddie Edwards defeats Mike Bennett, Andrew Everett, Braxton Sutter, Mandrews, Rockstar Spud, Trevor Lee, and DJ Z in an Ultimate X match to become the new X-Division Champion.
    • James Storm defeats Eli Drake by disqualification in a King of the Mountain Championship Match; Drake retains the title.
    • Jade defeats Marti Bell in a Knockouts Street Fight (via Package Piledriver).
    • The Bro Mans and Racquel defeat The Decay (via roll-up).

    And now, from the Sanctuary of the Hardy Genesis in Cameron, North Carolina... this is Impact Wrestling: The Final Deletion!

    0:01: Apparently a mariachi band has entered the Hardy Manor… oh, it’s Maxel’s birthday. I hope this doesn’t turn into a telenovela or something.

    00:46: Matt makes a show of an “extraordinary xylophone” given to his son by the gardener guy (Señor Benjamin, apparently): it’s the kind that you can get from Divisoria or something. Then again, Matt’s gift to his son is “far too… ENORMOUS… to be confined by a material possession.” His gift to his son and heir to the Hardy name is to “expunge the evil enigma from our family tree… FOREVAH.” Yup, the telenovela influences are clear with Matt’s monologue here.

    01:48: “Prepare the battlefield for… MASSACRE!” Matt proceeds with his twitchy lip movements, as if to represent insanity and instability. I’m not sure if Matt took up some method acting here, but it seems so natural for him. Calling indie directors, Hollywood producers, the Academy: a star is born.

    Take that, Leonardo DiCaprio.

    02:10: Landscaping in the Hardy gardens is serious business. Those enigmatic patterns should be featured in Martha Stewart or something. Brother Nero has a real knack for this, looks like it. On top of his guitar playing at the 2:30 mark, it seems that Jeff’s going full-on Tito mode. (And yes, I’m not sure where this is going either.)

    02:45: Drones? No seriously, DRONES?! At 2:57, one of the GoPro-wielding drones greets Brother Nero on his doorway, followed by three or four more invading his home. Of course, Jeff does what we’d all do when a flying drone army swarms into our homes: we squash them with a guitar… in slow motion. Jeff Jarrett will be so proud.

    The cat-like reflexes! The velocity! Look at the carnage!

    03:18: Broken Matt appears from a part of his “fleet of aerial assault robots” (his words, not mine). Some TNA fans say that the “Broken Matt” character is inspired by Sweeney Todd, but this particular scene now convinces me that this personality was clearly inspired by Jacobim Mugatu.

    Does he also get farty and bloated with a foamy latte?

    04:00: For 20 seconds, Jeff Hardy proceeds with what I think is supposed to be an action-packed sequence reminiscent of “Tron” or “xXx” or something, but ends up swatting away cheap drones with his hand. Thirty seconds later, Matt destroys Jeff’s immaculately and intricately mowed yard with a riding lawnmower. In slow motion.

    04:57: Señor Benjamin prepares the ring for “massacah:” complete with everything from steel chairs (yawn), kendo sticks (meh)… and a bucket of fireworks (oooh). This should be interesting. And the telenovela vibe is getting stronger and stronger with every passing second.

    06:11: TNA referee drives in to see the battlefield for himself. The place is reminiscent of many celebrated pro wrestling matches held outdoors: The Demon vs. Vampiro in 2000, Dustin Rhodes vs. Blacktop Bully in a “King of the Road Match” in 1995, the 1999 Junkyard Invitational… this totally feels like WCW now.

    07:08: After laying in a thick layer of big words, Broken Matt “summons the evil enigma” by playing his violin. I must say that Matt’s piano skills seem to be better than his violin playing: the latter sounds more like a swarm of mosquitoes than notes coming from a Stradivarius (or so Matt says: the extra layer of pontificating is really making a Matt Hardy fan out of me).

    I can see it now: the next evolution of #KeyboardMatt memes.

    08:00: The match starts. I don’t have much to say for the first few minutes, except for the rather iffy camera work that I’m not used to as a wrestling fan. But if you suspend your expectations a bit and consider this as anything but a wrestling match, it actually works. Even the slow motion superplex early in the match makes total sense from that point of view. Just like the gardening trellis Jeff sets up as a weapon a minute later.

    09:50: I know we like to prattle on about how matches lack psychology these days, but Matt’s focusing on Jeff’s knees right now, using a kendo stick. It’s a small, brilliant touch: just like how he chokes his brother with a ladder while screaming “Delete! Delete! Delete!” Or how Matt bites his brother’s fingers during the match. Those are—at least in my view, as a fan—the little touches that make the difference.

    11:32: Yes, this match is definitely showing the bits and pieces that made many of us fans of the Hardys back in the day. After setting Matt up on the ladder, the Charismatic Enigma proceeds to deliver the Swanton Bomb from the top of a tree. Yes, a tree: we’ve seen the finisher delivered from a ladder, scaffolding, the top of a steel cage, but never from a treetop. This should go in Jeff’s career highlight reel.

    BAH GAWD, as God as my witness he is broken in half!

    12:42: After a sequence of maneuvers Matt recovers, and proceeds to do something we don’t get to see in the WWE, and not too often even in CZW or another hardcore promotion: he lights up fireworks. Yes, fireworks as a weapon in a wrestling match. He points the damn thing at Jeff, who is trying to protect himself with a trashcan lid. All the while, Broken Matt screams “Delete!” Seconds later, an eerie silence permeates the smoke-covered battlefield of “massacah.” I’m lovin’ every moment of this.

    Not sure if TNA, or the opening vignette of "RAW is WAR"

    13:39: Just when you thought that the eerie silence would give way to more conventional hardcore fighting, Jeff turns it up a notch with fireworks of his own. Matt runs to a “dilapidated boat,” and uses it as a shield against Jeff’s all-out Roman Candle assault. I can’t imagine how any other hardcore match can top this one at this point.

    14:31: After an underwater sleeper hold (!!!) Matt emerges, declaring: “Brother Nero… has been flushed!” The schlock of the whole thing could be over (or was it “ovah”) for now until Willow (didn’t see that coming) appeared from the depths of the rather shallow pond to attack Broken Matt with his signature umbrella.

    14:53: I was actually willing to bet that Matt would lose the match on account of Willow, but I was wrong. Here comes Señor Sebastian, zapping Willow with what I believe to be a stun gun (but what looks awfully like a kid’s toy), thus freeing Matt of his predicament. It wasn’t until 30 or so seconds later that Matt pins Willow for the three count, but upon unmasking him… it was actually Señor Sebastian! Yes! They haven’t forgotten the telenovela premise yet!

    ¿Sebastian? ¡Sebastian, mi amigo! ¿Por que?

    15:55: Jeff emerges from the shadows to attack a visibly broken Broken Matt, throwing him into a what looks like a shallow pit. Is this supposed to be a burial site or something? Will Jeff Hardy really try to win a match with a rear choke, as opposed to the high-risk moves we’ve grown so accustomed to? Will he use his motorcycle? Will he drop a Whisper in the Wind from a chopper? Will Matt’s army of aerial assault robots come into play?

    16:45: Ah, but of course: Jeff proceeds to climb up the Hardy symbol, and flashbacks from the previous telenovela sequence start appearing. And in a scene that ties everything together: from that gasoline can to the very candle that Maxel didn’t blow in his birthday celebration, Matt sets the symbol on fire. Jeff falls, and gets pinned! Broken Matt wins! Jeff Hardy has been DELETED!

    That... that was beautiful *sniffles*

    Impact thoughts:

    In many ways, it was a horrible match; I may be a bit old-school in thinking that feuds like these are best settled in a wrestling ring with wrestling in mind, but I completely adore how TNA decided to embrace the whole schlock by giving us, well, schlock. It makes me remember why I'm riveted to wrestling in the first place: the suspension of disbelief, the ridiculousness, and even the build-up to what was an overdone match was superb. More importantly, it was fun: and with all the seriousness of wrestling today, it's endearing to see how our favorite risk-taking brothers not only delivered extreme physicality, but extreme drama that would have only the most uppity fans thumb down their noses at it.

    TNA really needs a shot in the arm to keep people interested, and this mishmash of telenovelas, the wrestling style the Hardys made famous, and poorly-done overkill is absolutely charming, to say the least. Not that I want to see a match like this anytime soon, but the whole "Broken Matt/Brother Nero" saga has to be up there with the best pro wrestling moments of this year.

    Full match:

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    Item Reviewed: Heavy Impact (7/5/16): The Final Deletion Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Marck Rimorin
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