The world of professional wrestling was abuzz the past few weeks with the financial crisis surrounding TNA and the reports that WWE was on the verge of acquiring the company’s entire video archive, with Billy Corgan taking over the company as new majority owner with the intent to re-brand the company under a new banner. While there is still no official statement from either party involved, recent news may offer a glimpse into how it could all go down.
As we know so far, TNA has just concluded enough tapings to take Impact to the end of the calendar year. But it’s the year’s finale that could be pointing towards the direction (or reboot?) of the TNA “Universe”.
PWInsider reported today that plans are in effect for the year’s final episode to be set entirely at the Hardy Compound in Cameron, North Carolina, the same location for the Broken Matt Hardy segments Final Deletion and Final Deletion 2: Delete or Decay. Entitled Total Nonstop Deletion, the episode will apparently feature Broken Matt Hardy issuing a tag team invitational challenge to tag teams from “time and space” – Hardy mentions names like “The Bucks of Youth, The Express who Rocks and Rolls, The Bulldogs who are British and The Days of The New.” While obviously The British Bulldogs and New Day are not going to be appearing, The Young Bucks or Rock N’ Roll Express are indeed possibilities for one-shot deals, similar to how TNA has done some of their One Night Only PPVs in the past. They also report that one of the smaller side stories will be a lengthy encounter between Grado and Hardy’s kangaroo Smokin’ Joe Frazier, plus the in-ring debut of Hardy and Reby‘s son, King Maxel.
Corgan has given Matt Hardy full creative control with his Broken Universe segments and it’s paying off in spades. The Hardy episodes are garnering TNA it’s best ratings in years and the Hardys are being talked about more than they have been since the TLC days of the Attitude Era. For good or bad, it’s the hottest angle TNA has had in ages. In a recent interview with ESPN, Billy Corgan even hinted at the possibility of a feature length Broken Matt Hardy movie.
But it’s the title of the episode – Total Nonstop Deletion – and the fact that it’s the final episode of the current set of tapings that is intriguing. The next run of tapings will undoubtedly be the start of a new era for TNA. If it’s even still TNA when that occurs. If the rumoured deals are indeed true – that WWE is assuming control of the TNA video archive and Corgan is taking full control and changing the name – then Total Nonstop Deletion could be the exit strategy to a complete company reboot. The final deletion (pun intended) isn’t of any particular person, like Jeff Hardy or Decay, but of the very company itself. Much like how DC Comics has rebooted their universe with their ongoing (and increasingly convoluted retconning) Crisis sagas, the whole use of “time and space” from the Broken One’s powers, could effectively end TNA and result in the emergence of a brand new promotion – Corgan’s newly rebranded company – in 2017.
Corgan is arguably the biggest fan and supporter of the Broken segments. In his ESPN interview he stated “I have been pushing from the beginning that we needed to do what I call out-of-the-box and out-of-the-arena type segments” in regards to Hardy’s work. “I really saw this as the future of wrestling on television.” While promotions like Lucha Underground and CHIKARA have successfully blended sci-fi and fantasy into the reality of their programs, working in a completely fictional universe setting, it’s always fallen a little flat when companies like WWE or WCW have done it. But with TNA, it seems to be working. Hardy’s strange twisted persona has used super powers with Ed Wood like brilliance and it’s bringing people back for more.
Would this lead to an entirely different format of the program? It’s entirely possible that they move closer to a format similar to Lucha Underground, where the backstage segments are pre-recorded more like a television series than a wrestling program, with only the matches taped at their events. This new promotion, with it’s Broken timeline from the cataclysmic events of Total Nonstop Deletion, would become one that has essentially “Broken” away from TNA’s lineage and therefore it’s history – the perfect way to explain why they no longer acknowledge its own past. Much like certain superheroes were erased from the record books in Crisis on Infinite Earths, so too are heroes like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle wiped from the new Broken Universe’s canon as well.
This is all speculation from the author at this point, based solely on today’s news, but signs definitely seem to indicate that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Broken Matt Hardy’s outrageous plans in the coming year. Whether or not he is the impetus for the end of TNA and the rebirth of a new promotion for Corgan is another question.
Main Photo: impactwrestling.com