UPDATED: Ring of Honor, as well as all PPV distributors carrying last night’s 15th Anniversary show, received legal notices about the Broken Hardy gimmick. The legal demands were reportedly a decision made by Anthem Media and not something Jeff Jarrett is directly involved in; it’s simply a matter of the company trying to protect their IP.
Ring of Honor had already set their plans for last night prior to receiving the legal letter. The Broken gimmick was downplayed during the PPV as the announcers never mentioned the words “Broken” or “Delete”.
The cease and desist letter was not fifteen pages as some first reported but rather three.
ORIGINAL: As expected, Reby Hardy’s lengthy Twitter tirade against iMPACT! Wrestling was caused by a legal threat over ownership of the Broken gimmick. iMPACT! Wrestling sent a three-page cease and desist letter targeting Matt and Jeff Hardy, and perhaps others, demanding that they immediately stop using the gimmick.
iMPACT! Wrestling is claiming, as earlier reports noted, that they own the intellectual properties created by Matt and Jeff due to their now-expired contracts and that they are not to use anything related to the Broken gimmick moving forward. Matt filed for a trademark for the character of Broken Matt Hardy on March 1st after his contract with Impact expired.
While it is not confirmed, Reby’s tweets claimed that iMPACT! Wrestling was also going after Senor Benjamin, who is her father in real life, despite him not being signed to or paid by TNA. It’s very possible that this would include all the associated characters including Reby’s “Queen Rebecca” and even their son, who appeared as King Maxel.
It is not clear exactly how the language in the Hardys’ contract read, but if it did include a statement that any material created by talent under contract is retained by the company than iMPACT! Wrestling could have a legit claim to the gimmicks. This is, of course, the same kind of language WWE has in place for their standard talent contracts. If such language is not in the contract, iMPACT! Wrestling won’t have much of a legal argument here.
The Hardys appeared at last night’s ROH 15th Anniversary where they defended the ROH World Tag Team Championships. They also ppeared at Manhattan Mayhem as their Broken characters.