So… Willow is a thing…
It was originally reported in late January that Hardy was being taken off of television for the annual TNA UK tour, but then, this… this rushed character that was pushed, promoted, and debuted in three weeks time emerged. After a series of eerie video packages airing for the last 2-3 weeks on TNA Impact Wrestling, Willow has finally debuted by taking a banned Jeff Hardy’s place on Team MVP in the Lethal Lockdown Match. However, after all that TNA did to try and make Willow his own character, it was painfully obvious that it was Jeff Hardy under the mask. For those of you who don’t know, Willow has always been Jeff Hardy’s alter-ego that he has used on the independent scene and in OMAGA wrestling back in the 90’s, his brother Matt Hardy’s wrestling promotion. Equally as deranged and creepy back then? Check.
Lets be real for a minute here, if you have seen Jeff Hardy’s matches over the years, be it in TNA or WWE, he has a very ‘unique’ look to him. During Willows debut,the masked character just happened to have the same hair color(s), the same tattoos, and even the same signature and finishing maneuvers. If the TNA front office wanted Hardy to go a different direction, at least make it believable! Give him a shirt so the tattoos aren’t as blatantly obvious. Come up with a different signature and finisher; nobody else does a Swanton Bomb or a Twist of Fate like Hardy does. Hell, make me believe that there is a completely different man under that damn mask. But no, they sent him out with a mask and Legion of Doom-esque shoulder pads.
TNA has been struggling to big – and abusive – brother WWE for the better part of last year, and due to poor management, funds running dry, and overall boring shows, the promotion quickly slide to the bottom of the Big Three (WWE, TNA, ROH).So what did they do? They proceeded to do a typical TNA move and released all of their good, young talent in favor of giving older wrestlers like Jeff Hardy and Bobby Lashley (Who?) a ‘new’ gimmick as Willow instead of letting a young talent prove themselves. While it was a great Lethal Lockdown match, you couldn’t help but feel like a little bit of your dignity was being taken away, being subject to a new character that was clearly a returning Hardy under a mask like a five year old, who couldn’t remember a face or physical attributes.
All in all, Hardy will always be exciting to see in the ring; a timeless superstar who has come through so much (See the drunked and drugged Jeff Hardy match below) and can still straight up go in the ring. But next time, give it a little bit more effort? Maybe? Till next time, signing out.