After teasing a return to WWE and having sat out for some time since his brother was injured, a former tag team champion returned to Raw on Monday.
Out of the blue and without any promotion, Matt Hardy returned to Raw on Monday night. And, just a few minutes later, he proceeded to lose a match to Buddy Murphy. Not only that, WWE used Hardy's return to advance the storyline between Murphy and Aleister Black.
The crowd was not terribly impressed.
Hardy had been teasing a return on social media, but more than that, had been pushing a #FreetheDelete hashtag with accompanying videos. Whether he was ready to re-debut the popular character or was trying to convince WWE to give it another go, Hardy was suggesting he might bring back his old gimmick. Neither the new character, nor a win returned with Hardy who many argue WWE hasn't used well since he returned to the company at WrestleMania 33.
What a Waste of Hardy's Gift
While Hardy is likely at the point in his career where his main purpose is to help newer WWE Superstars get over, this felt like a real wasted opportunity. Hardy didn't get much offense in and with three knee strikes, he was essentially knocked out and not much of a challenge for Murphy.
There's likely a chance fans won't see Hardy for a while either and unless he comes on and does a promo next week saying he was embarrassed by the loss, (which is hard to imagine) this type of appearance is likely the same fate as he'll suffer moving forward. It doesn't appear WWE has much use for him other than to take a pin for up-and-coming talents.
Perhaps Hardy would have been better-served to stay on the sidelines.