Is Matt Hardy the sort of man ROH needs? On the surface he appears to be. He has the right combination of mainstream appeal and wrestling ability to fit into the roster snugly, without causing Ring of Honor to venture away from its established talent preferences.
But if you look beyond the surface it’s not necessarily the case.
Hardy has been affiliated with ROH for several months now. In that time he has failed to help the company in any meaningful sense. His much vaunted fanbase hasn’t translated to significant increases in television ratings or iPPV buys. It hasn’t seen a rise in attendance figures either. Basically ‘The Sensei of Mattitude’ is just another former sports entertainer on the books. His loyal fans, something that separated him from the likes of Mike Mondo and Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, seem to have deserted him.
His most high profile in-ring contribution, opposite Adam Cole at Final Battle, was decidedly by the numbers. Just because it wasn’t a scorcher of a match doesn’t mean Hardy can no longer deliver in the ring, but it is concerning. Cole is one of the best wrestlers on the roster. That he and Hardy were only able to produce a so-so match doesn’t bode well for any other bouts Hardy may have with the company.
It’s difficult to know where ROH are going with Hardy. There have been rumours, in part propagated by Hardy himself, that there will be a Hardy Boyz reunion in WWE this year. Even if that doesn’t happen it does indicate that Matt is interested in leaving ROH. Knowing that means that Ring of Honor are unlikely to give him their full backing and give him an incredibly strong push.
There’s a chance that Matt will capture the TV championship for a short reign. More likely he’ll lose his inevitable title clash with Cole. Chasing that title seems to be his immediate future though. If he does stick around long term then perhaps he’ll move onto a programme with Kevin Steen for the World championship.
For now Matt Hardy still has something to do in ROH. That’s not a state of affairs that will last indefinitely. He’ll blast through the existing roster quickly and, not being in the early stages of his career, it’s difficult to imagine him reinventing himself should he stick around long term. I’ll be very surprised if Hardy’s still on the books come Final Battle 2013.