From Matt Hardy To Broken Brilliance
Matt Hardy has been a household name in pro wrestling since the late 90s. He and his brother Jeff first rose to fame in the WWE Attitude Era as the Hardy Boyz. They had classic matches with Edge & Christian/Dudleyz and revolutionized the tag team division with their TLC matches. When Matt and Jeff split, Jeff was the one who attained singles glory and championship gold. Matt had a great, personal feud with Edge and his Version 1 character was entertaining, but something was missing. After he left WWE, Hardy wrestled all over the map, including ROH and Impact Wrestling. It would be in Impact where he would find his next great gimmick: Broken Matt Hardy.
In May 2016 Hardy turned on his brother Jeff and revealed himself to be ‘Broken’. He looked, talked and acted differently, but it was impossible to look away from him. The Broken character would become the focal point of Impact, and with Hardy given total creative control of his character, it flourished. Broken Matt, Brother Nero, Senor Benjamin & King Maxel were the highlight of almost every episode of Impact. Whether it was in ring promos, the reincarnation lake or the insane Final Deletion, the Broken Universe was the hottest thing in wrestling.
He Is Woken
When The Hardy’s made their shocking return to WWE at WrestleMania 33, fans wondered if we’d ever see the Broken Universe invade the WWE. It’s taken some time, but thanks to the end of a frivolous legal battle, it looks like Matt Hardy has finally transformed into his new, “woken” self. After Bray Wyatt beat Hardy on Raw two weeks ago, Hardy snapped. He was talking to himself and performed his trademark DELETE hand gesture, and it was magical. Hardy was transforming all over again, and his tweets signaled the dawn of a woken man. All that was left for Hardy was to find a new victim to delete. Enter, Bray Wyatt.
On Monday’s Raw, the trademark sounds of a Bray Wyatt dark room promo bummed me out. I’ve loved Wyatt since his debut and will forever believe that he should be the modern day Undertaker. He’s the perfect mix of an engaging promo and in ring ability, but unfortunately WWE has booked him like a bum for years. He ALWAYS loses the big matches, and even if he does win, it’s because of children singing or a exploding TV’s. Wins and losses aren’t the only measuring stick for a wrestler, but it’s tough to take someone seriously who loses all the time.
Another big issue he’s had are his opponents. The Undertaker had Mankind and Kane, two psychological and demented wrestlers, to play off of. Wyatt has had John Cena and Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. While those three are great in the ring, they’re just normal guys from a character standpoint. Wyatt needs someone as weird as he is to keep things interesting, and a new ‘woken’ superstar is the perfect fit.
Woken Matt Hardy is the opposite of a normal guy, and has the perfect personality to feed off of Wyatt. He is the ideal dancing partner for Bray, and this is a feud I’ve wanted to see since July 2016 when they first started tweeting each other.
A Perfect Match
While we got a small preview of Hardy’s character two weeks ago, he showed up in all his woken glory on Monday. If the dueling promos and the laugh off are any indication, this feud will be a ton of a fun. Hardy’s new persona can give new life to Wyatt’s words and I want to see more from these two. This will also give Wyatt someone weird and wonderful to work with, which is something he’s never had. I hope these two feud and then join forces, because a woken Bray Wyatt could be something special. Here’s the full promo from Monday, including that maniacal Hardy laugh.
Andre The Giant Documentary
Both literally and figuratively, Andre the Giant was larger than life. At 7’4 and weighing anywhere between 460 and 530 pounds, Andre is one of the most popular figures in pro wrestling history. He dominated the sport in the 70s and 80s, wrestling all over the world to the delight of every fan. While many people remember Andre for his heel turn against Hulk Hogan during the build to WrestleMania III, he was so much more than that. In a world of bright stars and flashy gimmicks, Andre stood above them all.
HBO Sports, Bill Simmons and WWE are co producing the documentary on Andre the Giant, and HBO just released the first look. It’s just a teaser, but after the work ESPN did on the Ric Flair 30 for 30, I cant’ wait to see what HBO does with Andre’s incredible story. While 30 for 30s are great, HBO Sports is the premier sports documentary production. Broad Street Bullies. Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals. Nine Innings From Ground Zero. No matter the sport, HBO always delivers. They’ve never entered the world of pro wrestling before, but with Bill Simmons and WWE involved, I have faith they’ll put something incredible together. The doc is slated for release sometime in Spring 2018, so be on the lookout for an official trailer sometime soon.
Survivor Series is the second longest running WWE pay per view behind WrestleMania, and the 31st annual show will take place this Sunday in Houston. Survivor Series brings together a lot of different pro wrestling elements, from the 5 on 5 traditional Survivor Series matches to dream matches like last year’s Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar bout.
With a history spanning 30+ years, there are bound to be at least a few memorable matches, and that’s where the Average Nobodies come in. We each named our favorite Survivor Series match of all time below, along with a little blurb about why we loved it so much. Enjoy!
Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart
When it comes to rivalries within WWE/F, especially in the mid 90s, there are few better than Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart. The crown jewel of that feud is inarguably their submission match at WrestleMania 13, but if you’re looking for an almost perfect wrestling match with a great story that also motivates both guys moving forward, their match at Survivor Series ’96 should be your jam. Austin and Hart had a pretty chaotic feud, as this was the beginning of Austin’s “Texas Rattlesnake” character, but oddly enough, this was the first televised singles match between the two.
This match really kick started their feud, and launched one of the best angles of the 90s, especially when you factor in their match at WM13. The Survivor Series match was a technical masterpiece and featured a tremendous ending, with Hart outsmarting Austin by using the turnbuckle as leverage and pinning Austin while still in a submission hold. The ending visual of Austin giving Bret the death stare while disappearing up the ramp is as good as wrestling storytelling gets.
The Shield’s Debut
My favorite Survivor Series match isn’t a match at all, it’s a moment and the ripple effect that moment would would have on the WWE from then on. The debut of The Shield during the triple threat between CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback at the 2012 Survivor Series PPV is arguably the greatest debut in the history of the WWE. Three guys who would later become, and stay, THE marquee guys in the company. Even with The Shield stealing the show (although it might not have seen like it at the time) this match isn’t something to sweep under the rug. Cena and Punk were magic in the ring and Ryback got put out of commission by the fabled triple power bomb!
What more could you ask for?
When AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE championship was announced last week, I speculated that WWE could be pulling the trigger on a potential dream match. If you’re a wrestling fan and DON’T want to see Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles, I’m not sure what to tell you. Styles is the best wrestler in the WWE at the moment, and Lesnar is still a beast capable of big time matches (Great Balls of Fire & Summerslam are two recent examples).
Well, guest what? WWE actually did it and had Styles defeat Mahal last night on Smackdown Live, and it’s possible he’ll go on to face Lesnar at Survivor Series. It’d be odd to have Lesnar still face Mahal if Jinder is no longer champion, even though I think Styles’ title run will be short lived. Lesnar vs. Styles is the money matchup at Survivor Series, and you can have Mahal win back the title during WWE’s tour of India in early December. Win-win.
Side note – I hope WWE was paying attention to the crowd reaction during this match. There is no way in hell a Jinder Mahal match should garner that type of reaction, but AJ Styles is a goddamn miracle worker. I know it’s a wacky theory, but giving us happy moments with guys we enjoy watching might be a recipe for success.
WOOOOO! Has there ever been a sound you associate with someone as quickly as you associate the WOOOO with Ric Flair? ESPN aired their latest 30 for 30 last night, Nature Boy, which chronicled the incredible life and career of Flair. While the WOOOO has taken on a life of it’s own over the last few years at different sporting events, Ric Flair has been a household name in the wrestling industry since the 70s. While he may not be as popular with the non wrestling crowd as Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold or The Rock, Flair was THE MAN in WCW (the southern equivalent to New York’s WWF) for almost all of the 80s and early 90s.
Imagine someone with the energy level of a Hulk Hogan, but instead of talking about saying prayers and eating vitamins, he was talking about how rich he was. Or how much better than you he was. Or about how many women he had sex with last night. Flair had swag before swag was a thing, and he had the wrestling prowess to back it up. To celebrate the release of Flair’s 30 for 30, we decided to bring back the Monster Blog and talk about our favorite Ric Flair promos. This wasn’t an easy task, as Flair has about 100 promos that could be considered all time, but we narrowed it down to two. Enjoy. WOOOOOO!
Your World Champion
Flair was a master at hyping up his own opponent, because he knew he’d only look good if he beat someone who also looked good in the eyes of the audience. It’s sort of a lost art in pro wrestling, as most guys are busy bashing their opponents, and the only name I can think of that does it well is Paul Heyman. Flair starts the promo off talking about himself, which happens in literally every Flair promo, but he quickly switches gears to talking about his latest challenger, Lex Luger. Flair points out that Luger is a former NFL player and has one of the greatest physiques he’s ever seen. Luger might be able to beat most champions, and but he won’t beat the WORLD champion, because that’s Flair, and Ric Flair can go all night long.
As a side note, I’m very upset we never got that Flair presidential run.
The Dirtiest Player in the Game, Ric Flair
Easily one of my favorite Flair promos, which was pretty hard to find, is this one from 1987 with David Crockett. This promo/interview completely embodies what Flair’s character is––he’s better than you, in fact, he’s better than everyone. He only drives the best, dates the best and is the dirtiest player in the game. Skip to 3:00 for PEAK Flair. That last few minutes are like Flair loaded his words into a machine gun and started firing straight down the barrel of the camera. Unlike most modern wrestling promos, this one is quick-witted and cuts so god damn deep. Can’t wait to see his 30 on 30…I really hope this promo makes it in.
The match card for WWE Survivor Series will feature a slew of champion versus champion matches, including Brock Lesnar versus Jinder Mahal. The main issue with that match is LOL it’s Jinder Mahal versus Brock Lesnar, which should end in 5 seconds with an actual murder. Here’s the feud so far in video form:
Paul Heyman has put over Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman but even he knows that Jinder vs. Brock is a joke. While this is only one man’s far out opinion, Shane McMahon’s tweet last night has me feeling hopeful that the match could change.
— Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) November 2, 2017
WWE was in a similar situation a few years ago when they had HHH defend his title against Dean Ambrose a month before WrestleMania at Roadblock. While HHH ended up winning that match and faced Reigns at Mania instead of the much more interesting Ambrose/Reigns match, I think Styles winning on Tuesday makes a lot of sense. The rules for Survivor Series are champion vs. champion, so if Styles wins the title Tuesday he would take Mahal’s place as Lesnar’s opponent. Plus, if the rumored Lesnar/Reigns match at Mania is still on, why not add Styles to the list of guys Brock has beaten this year to get to Reigns?
Jinder Mahal’s title reign has been a rousing disappointment, so hopefully WWE pulls the trigger on Tuesday. That would give Styles a title win he very much deserves while also giving WWE fans a dream match at Survivor Series.
Average Nobodies Podcast
On this week’s show we’ve got Bills Mafia, Jolly Ranchers versus the internet and Justin Timberlake has us naked by the end of this podcast. You can chat with us on Twitter @AverageNobodies, toss us a like on Facebook @AverageNobodies and heart all our pictures on instagram, @AverageNobodies. Don’t forget, this podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.
Life is funny sometimes. 17 years ago on October 22, 2000, Kurt Angle beat The Rock to win his first WWE championship. 17 years later on October 22, 2017, he was teaming up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as an honorary member of The Shield in a TLC match. Angle didn’t have to do much heavy lifting in the match, but it was still great to see him back inside a WWE ring. WWE also released a cool behind the scenes video of the hours leading up to his return, because WWE is better at this wrestling thing than anyone else. Enjoy.