As the WWE prepares to produce their final pit stop on the road to WrestleMania, two of their former superstars have been making all kinds of waves. Matt and Jeff Hardy opened up the week by announcing that they would not be re-signing with TNA, later joined in that process by Drew Galloway. Rumors ran rampant about a potential reunion between the Hardys and the WWE, but they closed out their week with a surprise appearance at Ring of Honor’s Manhattan Mayhem VI show.
The (Broken) Hardy Boyz would go on to defeat The Young Bucks to become the brand new Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions, a move made to further set up a rematch between the teams in Lakeland, Florida, the day before the WWE puts on WrestleMania. In the last few days, the possibility of Matt and Jeff returning to the WWE was becoming greater by the minute.
However, following their victory Saturday night, Matt cut a promo saying that they have signed a contract with ROH (they likely would not have won the belts if it was just a one-off appearance) and they did not sign a deal with “Meekmahan” and the WWE. There was still speculation swirling that even the promo was a swerve and that they’d continue to work several ROH dates, including the Lakeland show on April 1 and then jump to WWE.
— GERWECK.NET (@gerweck) March 5, 2017
That will not be the case, evidently. During the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer claimed that the Hardys have indeed signed a longer term deal with Ring of Honor, even longer than the two-month agreement that has been floating around the last 20 hours. Not only is it ruling out a WWE WrestleMania return, but a return to WWE altogether, at least for the near future.
The Hardys were looking to maintain creative control of their characters wherever they ended up. TNA was willing to continue to allow them to have it, but wouldn’t put it in writing in their new contracts. That, combined with Matt and Jeff’s issues with Jeff Jarrett assuming his new position of power ultimately led to their departure. WWE doesn’t offer that to anyone anymore and their rigorous schedule had always been a deterrent.
Jeff Hardy had mentioned wanting to have one more run in WWE and one last memorable match at WrestleMania before he retired, but he hadn’t brought it up lately. The feeling was that the Hardys decided to go to Ring of Honor because the company is allowing them to have creative freedom over their characters and working fewer dates will make them happier. There had also been the lingering issue of TNA allowing Matt to use his ‘Broken’ gimmick in WWE even though Matt created the character himself.
— John Canton (@johnreport) March 5, 2017
The deals Matt and Jeff got were unlike any offer ROH has ever made, and one similar to the one Cody Rhodes signed several months back. The Hardys will be able to work all their independent dates with no restrictions and they won’t have to pay percentages or booking fees to any other promoter. The hope is that they, along with a debuting Bubba Ray Dudley, will expand the ROH audience. The company took a major risk, but it’s paid off so far as the Hardys arguably remain the hottest thing in wrestling outside of the WWE.
The Hardys will be at the ROH pay-per-view this Friday, which marks the company’s 15th anniversary; however, it’s still uncertain who they’ll be facing as the majority of the card has yet to be released publicly. As noted, the brothers are again telling people that they are accepting indy dates. They were holding off for a bit initially as there was a legitimate chance they’d sign with WWE and not be able to fulfill those obligations. In any event, they will not be at WrestleMania and could be a while before they return to WWE, but never say never.
[Featured Image by TNA/Impact Wrestling]