After several months of speculation, Matt Hardy finally debuted his “Woken” character on WWE television this week on Raw. The WWE Universe has waited a long time for all the legal issues to be resolved for Matt Hardy to bring the gimmick to WWE. It seems those issues are kaput and the feud between Bray Wyatt and “Woken” Matt Hardy has begun, but there could be bigger problems for the character’s long term success.
At WrestleMania 33, The Hardy Boyz made their WWE return as “Team Extreme.” It has taken some time, but several pitches to Vince McMahon have changed his mind. Originally, The Boss wasn’t interested in the gimmick at all, but he’s relented to give Matt Hardy an opportunity to prove him wrong. Unfortunately, the belief is Vince McMahon has some major issues with the character that could likely hold back the gimmick.
It’s been reported that Matt Hardy has been given the green light to see how the WWE Universe will react to the gimmick, but the fact that the character isn’t an original WWE creation could keep Vince McMahon from truly embracing the gimmick no matter how strongly the WWE Universe responds. The rivalry with Wyatt is a test, but the expectation is “Woken” Matt Hardy won’t receive a major push on WWE television.
On paper, the crowd reaction on Raw this week was overwhelmingly positive and merchandise sales could be great for the company over the next few months. However, it’s possible that “Woken” Matt Hardy might hit the glass ceiling rather quickly because WWE officials aren’t planning a push for the character beyond a feud with Bray Wyatt. It’s unclear how Hardy’s booking would be against other opponents and bigger stars.
Jeff Hardy is expected to return to WWE television before WrestleMania 34. It’s too early to tell if Jeff will debut his own “Woken” persona and reunite with his brother. Most fans are expecting that to the case, but the WWE Universe will need to convince Vince McMahon that the gimmick is something special before he is willing to give Jeff Hardy the same persona or give Matt Hardy a more serious push as a main event star.