It’s not clear yet if the social media and internet buzz for the Hardy’s avant garde insanity will translate into a TNA resurgence. But if this can’t accomplish that, there probably isn’t anything that can.
As we discussed yesterday, #TheFinalDeletion and the wild couple of months which led up to it has been the Roman Reigns of wrestling angles. Everyone has a take on the feud, its execution, the way it’s been promoted... everything.
A lot of what came in on July 5 as it aired on Impact Wrestling for the first time was very positive:
#TheFinalDeletion was brilliant! @MATTHARDYBRAND & @JEFFHARDYBRAND killed it! #BrokenMatt is the best character in @IMPACTWRESTLING history.— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) July 6, 2016
What did everyone think of #TheFinalDeletion? I dug it. It was different and creative. They took a risk and I respect that.— Gabe Sapolsky (@BookItGabe) July 6, 2016
Some said “WTF?” (in a good way):
Some will love it some will hate it, but Everyone NEEDS to see it. #TheFinalDeletion https://t.co/vd4C4WkcsW— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) July 5, 2016
Not sure what I just saw, but I know it will haunt me forever! #FinalDeletion @MATTHARDYBRAND @JEFFHARDYBRAND pic.twitter.com/N0TEh5CHzO— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) July 6, 2016
Some disliked it. But there was one voice in the negative camp which got more attention than others, probably because he’s the Executive Producer and co-creator of El Rey Network’s Lucha Underground:
Execution is everything... sorry guys, nice try. This is @IMPACTWRESTLING creative right about now... @LuchaElRey pic.twitter.com/XDmuW0GBkg— Eric Van Wagenen (@EricVanWagenen) July 6, 2016
This brought out a lot of TNA supporters, folks who called out Van Wagenen for insulting fellow artists, and critics who wanted to point out Lucha Underground is more a remix of several pulpy ideas rather than something new itself.
TNA’s Jeremy Borash probably had the best response (and if anyone’s ever been confused about what constitutes “shade” - this is it):
@EricVanWagenen Best of luck to you and everyone at LU! I hope to check it out when my cable system gets @Elreynetwork. Hear it's great!— Jeremy Borash (@JeremyBorash) July 6, 2016
Personally, it’s frustrating creators and fans can’t discuss their impressions or the merits of one thing without attacking something else, but that’s far from a pro wrestling-specific issue these days. There are valid critiques and interesting takes to be had about #TheFinalDeletion and LU, and if this is how those come out, that’s 2016 for you, I guess.
It speaks to how successful Matt, Jeff and TNA have been in getting people engaged, though: their program is causing an examination of not just their own work, but what others are doing in pro wrestling.
What did you think about Brother Nero vs. Broken Matt Hardy (guest-starring Senor Benjamin, Reby Hardy and Baby Maxell) - or the larger debate it inspired?
UPDATE: Van Wagenen has apologized, but the bad blood probably remains for some:
Can't we all just get along? Apologies to all affected by my very dickish tweet. I do respect TNA for thriving in a very tough business.— Eric Van Wagenen (@EricVanWagenen) July 6, 2016