Matt Hardy's "Broken Universe" made The Hardys the hottest act in Impact Wrestling in 2016. The two dominated the tag divisions in Impact, various independent promotions and even Ring of Honor before abruptly returning to WWE at WrestleMania 33 in April 2017. Matt has tried to keep the character around in the years since then, but between the legal battle over its trademark, the failed repackaged "Woken" persona in WWE and the stop-start booking in AEW during the first year of the pandemic, the gimmick now holds a fraction of its initial popularity. And while teasing that the character would fully return as part of his ongoing storyline with Ethan Page, Hardy discussed the initial plans for the character on the latest The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy.
According to Hardy, had he never left Impact, he potentially would've held the Impact World Heavyweight Championship for a third time and would've held more creative control over his booking — "I wasn't going to be like, technically, the 'head' of creative. I was going to have a much more impactful role when it came to creative. I was going to have a much bigger say. I was gonna have a lot more input into what was going on. If we would have continued the path that we were doing some of the stuff we were talking about doing with Broken Matt, whenever we eventually decided who we would have dropped the TNA Tag Team Titles to — we left with the titles, in theory. If we would have stayed, if we would re-signed with TNA and if we would have finally chosen a team we would have dropped the titles to them, whoever it may have been, there was a point where they were already talking about me maybe even having another run with the World Title and doing it as "Broken' Matt."
At the time of their departure from Impact, the Hardys were on a "conquest of gold" as they collected tag team championships from various independent promotions. Impact wrote the pair off in a pre-taped segment and had them vacate the tag titles.
"If I would have ended up winning the World Title, which was talked about, I said, 'I don't think I should have it long. I don't think 'Broken' Matt is a character that really needs titles. I don't think it does a lot.' The guy who I was saying then was getting really hot and who I wanted to try and make sure — like, 'If I win the title, let's make it a big deal. Do a couple of Hardy compound things and then three or four weeks later, I need to drop it.' I wanted to drop it to Eli Drake," Hardy said. Drake is now known as LA Knight in WWE.