"Woken" Matt Hardy was the source of much excitement and enthusiasm when the tag team legends' innovative "broken" character finally made its way onto WWE television.
But like just about everything in the overly dissected art form of mainstream professional wrestling, Woken Matt Hardy seems primed to disappoint.
"Broken" Matt won big in TNA with extreme risks that required an abundance of television time, even entire television specials that initially did record numbers for PopTV. Broken Matt Hardy was given carte blanche to turn pro wrestling on its ear.
Woken Matt, however, has yet to be featured in more than one segment in WWE, a hindrance that will quickly reduce the character to a midcard comedy act with an extremely low ceiling.
Broken Matt had layers, depth and a cast of characters that comprised of the Broken Universe. Woken Matt is a madman with a catchphrase.
Broken Matt was an innovator. Woken Matt is a sideshow.
The good news, if there is any, is that fans in attendance seem to be willing to give Hardy the benefit of the doubt due to a mixture of built-in goodwill from a Hall of Fame career, not to mention the mere fact that it worked so well in a rival promotion, albeit under different circumstances.
The "delete" chant is still a staple of the character that fans are all too eager to chant. Unfortunately, it's gone from an exclamation point to a crutch intended to cover for comparatively weak material.
WWE is in over its head with an ambitious gimmick that requires the type of long-term investment it is not willing to make with a 43-year-old star.
There's more to Broken/Woken Matt Hardy than mad cackling and a delete chant. And without Senor Benjamin, Vanguard 1, Reby Hardy, Brother Nero and King Maxel, WWE's Woken Matt Hardy will be nothing more than a low-rent reunion tour.