We’re now about a month into Matt Hardy’s “Woken” gimmick, and while it’s great that Hardy can finally yell “DELETE!”, speak in a peculiar accent, and drop big words without fear of upsetting his former employers at Impact Wrestling, reaction to “Woken” Matt has been mixed so far. Some are just fine with what it is, which is basically “Broken Matt” without most of his Broken Universe. Others feel it’s too little, too late, and there are also those who think WWE is making it feel flat, regardless of the timing of its arrival. Although legendary announcer Jim Ross is a fan of the gimmick, he did have some interesting comments about it, warning that Hardy's run as "Woken" Matt may be his only chance to make the gimmick work like it did in Impact.
In an appearance on Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast, Ross talked about several topics, including that of Matt Hardy’s recent transformation into his “Woken” form, after months of frustrating teases that ultimately had him reverting back to his old self. As “Good Ol’ J.R.” explained to Roberts, Hardy’s years as a veteran of the wrestling business should make him aware about how quickly opportunities may come and go, and when it comes to his “Woken” gimmick, he’s in the process of making the most out of that opportunity. Still, he added that this may be Hardy’s only chance to get the gimmick over with the WWE Universe before the plug is possibly pulled on it.
Although Ross stressed that he doesn’t expect the “Woken” Matt Hardy gimmick to fail, he warned that Hardy likely won’t get a second chance to make the gimmick work if he doesn’t get it over the first time around. Echoing Roberts’ opinion, he said that he’s confident in “Woken” Matt because of Hardy’s commitment to make the gimmick work, and the stark contrast between his conventional in-ring personality and his “Woken” one.
The Hardy Boyz made their big return to the WWE last year at WrestleMania 33 to tremendous fan reception, and while they won the Raw Tag Team Championships on their first night back, Matt Hardy wasn't able to bring the Broken Universe to the WWE as fans had hoped, due to a myriad of legal issues with Impact Wrestling and parent company Anthem. While the Hardys' big push quickly petered out, with Jeff Hardy suffering a rotator cuff injury in September, it seems that Matt going "Woken" has helped keep him relevant thus far.
But how long can he remain relevant? Hardy's feud with Bray Wyatt has been hit-or-miss thus far, and loathe as we are to want to see more Wyatt futility, Hardy will need to win the feud, and look good while doing so. The ball is in WWE's court now, and that means the company needs to make sure they don't mess too much, if at all, with the potentially good thing that is the "Woken" Matt gimmick...and hopefully the rest of the "Woken Universe" too.