It got a little lost in the all the ‘Reality’ Era shots fired on the Mar. 12 episode of Raw, but WWE did announce their first trip into the full-on kayfabe madness of Matt Hardy’s “Woken Universe” during Monday’s show.
Matt and his feud-mate from across space and time, Bray Wyatt, have been acting pretty weird for a while, but for fans who weren’t along for Hardy’s “Broken Brilliance” ride through TNA, next week’s “Ultimate Deletion” match (?) could be an eye-opening experience.
That is, depending on how far WWE is willing to go.
The work Matt and the Impact Wrestling team – which included recent WWE hire Jeremy Borash, who was reportedly involved in last week’s filming of “Ultimate Deletion” on Hardy’s property in Cameron, North Carolina – did in productions like “The Final Deletion”, “Delete or Decay” and the episode-long “Total Nonstop Deletion” were gonzo affairs, much more noteworthy for their WTF!?!? moments than great wrestling.
WWE’s attempts to follow that lead has produced some interesting moments, but in segments like The New Day/Wyatt Family brawl or Bray and Randy Orton’s House of Horrors match, a desire to play it straight hamstrung them.
Based on the above announcement for “Ultimate Deletion”, they’re definitely bring most of the elements Matt, Borash and company used to turn a lot of doubters into Broken Believers. Queen Rebecca, King Maxell, Lord Wolfgang, Señor Benjamin and Vanguard1 all look to have come to the party (Brother Nero? Ehhh… maybe not. But it does look Skarsgård is there, though).
But will they let the Woken One and House Hardy cut loose? Or will this be just another WWE-version of something some fans have seen before and others won’t understand/enjoy?
The key will probably be if we see anything new. Whether it be characters, devices or plot twists, changing up the formula will be a sign WWE is invested in the concept long-term and not just cashing in on something that sold shirts for Matt before he rejoined the company last spring.
On the other hand, even if it just a regurgitation of what’s been done elsewhere, if Bray comes out of the Lake of Reincarnation with a refreshed gimmick, it might all be worthwhile anyway.