It was one thing when Anthem Sports & Entertainment decided to excise the acronym TNA (Total Non-stop Action), and use the name of the promotion's Thursday night wrestling program, Impact, as the new name of the promotion. That was all well and good. Unfortunately, Anthem President Ed Nordholm, who brought founding father Jeff Jarrett back into the promotion, and, by extension, Jarrett aides Dutch Mantell and Bruce Prichard, threw gasoline on it because of a misperception of reality as it relates to the company's now-former tag team champions.
At issue is whether or not the Hardys' "Broken" gimmick, which has been a vital part of Impact for nearly a year, is, in fact, intellectual property of Impact Wrestling/Anthem. The Hardys left the promotion a week and a half ago, choosing not to sign a new contract. What was even more galling, depending on who you believe, is that the contract had arrived a wee bit too late. Supposedly, Anthem's legal team was taking forever and a week to iron out the details of the contract. Just three days after leaving Impact, Matt & Jeff Hardy showed up at a Ring of Honor event, with their gimmick intact, and defeated the Young Bucks for the ROH tag titles.
That's when the trouble really started.
Prior to last night's ROH PPV, celebrating the promotion's 15th anniversary, the Hardys retained the titles in a Las Vegas Streetfight match over the Bucks and Rappongi Vice. However, due to a last minute cease & desist order issued by Anthem's lawyers to the Hardys and Ring of Honor, the "Broken" gimmick couldn't be used.
So, what's the problem?
Anthem is also the parent company of the Fight Network, which carries both ROH's weekly television show and Impact in Canada. They've publicly stated they want to build a business relationship between the two promotions, but this is no way to go about it. For all the mistakes that Jarrett and former TNA president Dixie Carter have made over that same 15 year period, this had to be one of the biggest blunders in company history. Matt & Jeff Hardy have had more than 20 years experience in the wrestling business, and even started their own promotion in their native North Carolina before signing with WWE in 1996. Matt and his wife, Rebecca, aka Reby Sky-Hardy, contend that Matt developed the "Broken" gimmick himself, admittedly while under contract to TNA, and recently filed for a trademark in Pittsburgh, where WWE will be this coming week. Nordholm and Anthem claim "Broken" is theirs. Oh, the legal drama to follow.
The real question is why wasn't a new contract submitted to the Hardys before February 28? Nordholm and his staff had to know the Hardys were drawing interest from Ring of Honor, and, by extension, New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as WWE, even though the brothers were cashiered out of the latter between August 2009 (Jeff's drug problems) and February 2010 (Matt's contract was non-renewed). To issue a cease & desist order at the 11th hour, threatening to ruin any plans for future business with ROH (which has had issues with TNA in the past), isn't helping matters at all, but only exacerbating the problem. For that reason, Nordholm, as the public face of Anthem Sports, gets the Weasel ears this week. You reap what you sow, dude.