The battle is over, and now the history of it is being written.
Following an acknowledgement by all parties, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office, that the “Broken Universe” which originated on Impact Wrestling belongs to Matt Hardy, a new report from Sports Illustrated is providing some background on why it started - and ended.
According to SI, the decision to claim ownership of the gimmick was Jeff Jarrett’s. That fits the timeline, as the cooling of hostilities between Impact’s parent company Anthem and the Hardys came after Jarrett left the promotion. In this version, however, the issue goes all way back to when Double-J joined management after Anthem took over ownership of the former TNA in early 2017. SI says, “Jarrett doubted that the ‘Broken’ character could ever draw money, which ultimately led to Hardy’s exit from Impact and return to WWE.”
The decision for Anthem to drop their claims to ownership of “Broken” wasn’t solely because Jarrett left, or due to the new management team’s decision to become more talent-friendly and allow performers to retain ownership of their gimmicks outside Impact. It was also because the Canadian company didn’t want to risk getting drawn into an expensive legal fight.
Trying to assert ownership of the intellectual property in court could have opened Impact up to owing money for use of other characters in the “Broken” Universe. Matt and his wife Reby raised this issue frequently on Twitter, pointing out their family members worked on Impact Wrestling episodes without being under contract or even compensated. SI indicates this could have even drawn Impact’s U.S. television partner Pop TV into court.
Allowing ownership to transfer completely to Matt not only avoids that, but also means Impact can use “Broken” material in DVD releases and on their streaming service, Global Wrestling Network. While royalties would presumably have to go to Hardy, it would still be an incentive for customers to buy or subscribe, and a source of revenue for Anthem.
As for future plans, SI believes Matt will stick to “Woken” in WWE, as Vince McMahon won’t want to promote something he doesn’t own.
But who knows? That story won’t be told for years yet...