Critical reaction seems to be mixed-to-positive, and we’ll have to wait a few more hours to learn if television viewers stuck around for Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt’s “Ultimate Deletion” on the Mar. 19 episode of Raw.
On social media, it was a big success. Hardy and PWInsider both pointed out it was trending worldwide during and immediately following its broadcast, and that continued in several major markets for hours after Raw went off the air.
In the arena at American Airlines Center in Dallas... well, we’ll never know. The live crowd got Ronda Rousey hip-tossing Dana Brooke and a Braun Strowman/Elias/Kane segment while fans at home watched Bray get thrown in the Lake of Reincarnation. And if you didn’t watch live or DVR the USA version, you won’t see “Ultimate Deletion” on the Hulu edition, because WWE took the fairly unusual step of DELETING the main event from the 90 minute edit that streaming service gets.
And then there was the much talked about Michael Cole apology that threw the live broadcast to the Hardy Compound. Even the Woken One commented on it:
YEEAAAAAASSSSS, #WOKENWarrior.. I've learned of the BLASPHEMY that the OBSOLETE MULE @MichaelCole SPEWED from his MUZZLE.. @Vanguard1AAR, put this HERETIC on your SURVEILLANCE schedule. If this continues, he must be DELETED! #UltimateDELETION https://t.co/UmgS0viWNv— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) March 20, 2018
Really, it’s not a surprising move. Matt’s avant garde B-movie vision is something WWE has only dabbled in trying to recreate, and Vince McMahon (who conceivably whispered that “sorry for what you’re about to see” into his lead announcer’s ear piece) is probably not used to turning over the creative reins as completely as he did to Hardy, Jeremy Borash and others for this segment. The company understandably wanted an easy way to wipe their hands of the whole thing if it fell on its face.
But early returns are promising, and if the (already good) YouTube numbers and Nielson ratings back up the Twitter response, this may only be our first taste of the Woken World, as Matt says he intended it to be: