UPDATE: Matt Hardy has seen Ed Nordholm's comments from the interview and he is not pleased:
But let it never be said that Matt Hardy does not have his priorities in order.
The calm before the storm, one suspects.
Justin Barrasso has a pretty amazing new interview up at Sports Illustrated, where he talks to Anthem President Ed Nordolm, the head man in charge of GFW, about the stalled negotiations surrounding the "Broken Hardys" gimmick.
Nordholm is contentious throughout, blatantly tired of talking about this and flat out unconcerned that the court of public opinion in firmly on the side of Matt and Jeff Hardy.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
"Matt Hardy, his brother [Jeff Hardy], and his wife [Reby Hardy] have all signed contracts that sign over all rights to the IP. That is the fundamental term of every term for every wrestler on our show, that’s a fundamental term for every wrestler with WWE, and that is the same contract that Ring of Honor has. It’s not really up for debate."
Earlier in this seemingly unending process, Nordholm released one of the versions of Matt Hardy’s contract. Barrasso asked him if he was concerned that might be seen as breach of confidentiality in the eyes of the law.
Nordholm said Nope.
"It’s relatively immaterial, especially in the context of the world in which Matt and his wife are creating all this noise about his contractual rights in the absence of any contractual rights to the IPs. I think he’s started a world in which he is prepared to tell falsehoods about the status of his contract. If we do go to court, his contract will be produced in discovery, and it will be public–all of it, and not just the clauses that are relevant. I don’t think there is any issue around confidentiality."
And as far as whether or not he'd be willing to go to court to fight for ownership of the "Broken" gimmick:
"I don’t have to go to court to fight for [the IP]. We own it. If Matt brings an action to us that says we don’t own it, I guess we’ll defend ourselves, but I don’t intend to take any particular proceedings. I know I own it. I’ve got a contract that says I own it. I don’t have to go to court to fight for it."
The question of whether he'd be willing to sell the IP to the Hardys set him off on this tangential tirade.
"I’ve stopped thinking about this. We have a show to put on, and a company and a brand. We’ve got things on our plate that are more important than sorting out the “Broken Brilliance.” I made a genuine effort to resolve something to benefit the Hardys as a goodwill gesture to Matt. It didn’t reach a conclusion and we’re moving on. We’re not going back to it, I’m not interested in opening a new dialogue, I’m not interested in opening another conversation about it. We made our best effort, it didn’t happen, and I’m not going to negotiate all over again."
Some seem to think that Anthem should just give the Hardys the rights to the IP at this point, as they've come off looking petty and desperate, and there's no benefit to them keeping the rights to themselves, since they're not using them anyway.
To that, Nordholm would politely request that you go have sex with yourself.
"We paid for it. We have invested in it, it’s our asset. What is the benefit to WWE of owning all the intellectual property that they claim their rights on? It just is. It’s our intellectual property. It’s no different than WWE protecting their rights on intellectual property long after the performers who used to carry it left the promotion. Why would I just give it away now? It makes no sense to me."
But the most interesting, and certainly most inflammatory thing that Nordholm said in the interview is where he tells the story of Matt Hardy calling him on the phone and attempting to make a cash grab right before the March tapings, holding the company hostage for $100,000.
"On a Sunday night before a Thursday taping, when he had had the contract for a period of time, Matt Hardy called me to let me know he needed another $100,000 bucks or else he wanted to explore his options. I don’t say that to make him look bad. I’m saying it because I don’t blame him for trying to maximize his economics on his last big run. The reality is I couldn’t afford to go another $100,000 at that particular time, and I had to say no. I have no misapprehension; if WWE wants to take a guy away from me, I can’t really compete. I thought I had a deal with Matt, I reached as hard as I could. The part of the story that says we offered Jeff a big deal and Matt a little deal is utter bullsh--. We brought Matt and Jeff almost equal to each other, and offered them a full, all-in contract at a multiple of what he had been making under his old contract. He was there, as far as I knew, right up to the three or four days before he decided not to stay and he tried to get an extra $100,000. I don’t think that makes him look bad; I think that makes him look like a guy who, at his age, has to do the best for his family as he can. But I couldn’t afford another $100,000."
It's an intriguing story, and one that, if true, certainly casts a different light on Matt Hardy.
There's only one problem, and, as is the case most of the time in this situation, that problem's name is Reby Hardy.
So there's that.
Ed Nordholm alleges that Matt extorted him during a phone call, Reby says Matt taped all their phone conversations.
Only one of them is telling the truth.
It definitely seems that this isn't just going to go away, much as Ed Nordholm would like it to.
We'll keep you updated.
By the way, you should really read the entire interview at Sports Illustrated. It's excellent.