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Smackdown: Punk, Hardy risk careers in steel cage rematch for World Title
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Friday Night Smackdown: Following a terrific Tables, Ladders & Chairs match Sunday at SummerSlam, CM Punk and Jeff Hardy rematch in a steel cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Only this time, the loser will be banished from World Wrestling Entertainment forever. The winner will meet The Undertaker at Breaking Point. Should be a good one!

And we are TAPED! from Phoenix, Ariz. 2007 WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross and Todd Grisham are our hosts. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG,V).

Ring announcer Justin Roberts welcomes the "only Straight Edge World Champion in WWE history" CM Punk to the ring.

Punk immediately says he told us so. After throwing it to highlight of Sunday's match at the SummerFest, Punk says he's never felt better than he does right now. He says the pain from Sunday's match makes him feel alive. And he hasn't taken a thing for the pain. He says if any of the fans felt like he does now, they'd be on a morphine drip. He then talks about how The Undertaker ruined his moment at the end of the match. He says tonight's cage match with Jeff Hardy is unfair and borderlines on conspiracy. But he says tonight he'll prove he's better than Hardy once again.

This brings out the former champion to the ring. He says he hopes Punk has enjoyed his reign because it ends tonight. Punk wants to know what Hardy had to put in his body to walk down the aisle and face him. Punk says he's tired of seeing young, impressionable children cheer Hardy. He says he's fed up with the fans and fed up with Hardy and one of them doesn't belong there anymore. Therefore, Punk says, the loser of tonight's match has to leave World Wrestling Entertainment.

Hardy thinks it over and then tells Punk he's on. This draws Smackdown General Manager Theodore Long to the stage. Long says it's official. He says the person that wins the match will defend the world title at Breaking Point against The Undertaker.

(Ads)

Match #1 - John Morrison (Los Angeles, Calif.) & Matt Hardy (Cameron, N.C.) vs. Tyson Kidd (Calgary, Alberta) & David Hart Smith (Calgary, Alberta)

Hardy and Morrison hold the edge until Natalya distracts Hardy and allows Kidd to land a kick to the face. He tags in Smith who is able to go to work for a while before Morrison gets the tag and comes in and hits a standing shooting star press. Kidd breaks up a pin attempt and Hardy comes in and takes him to the outside. In the ring, Morrison tries to springboard but Smith catches him and looks for the powerslam. Morrison wiggles out, sends Smith to the corner and lands a kick. He follows up with Starship Pain for the win.

Winner via pinfall: John Morrison & Matt Hardy

Melina is backstage with Maria and Maria wants to know why everyone can't be happy for her and her relationship with Dolph Ziggler. Melina says she saw Ziggler with another woman following SummerSlam. Maria claims Melina is jealous of her because she doesn't have a boyfriend who is great. Then Ziggler walks in and Maria questions him about it and Ziggler says it was his sister and Maria knows her.

Match #2 - Drew McIntyre (Ayr, Scotland) vs. R-Truth (Charlotte, N.C.)

McIntyre attacks Truth with a big kick to the head while Truth in entering the ring. He then beats the crap out of Truth and hits a double-arm DDT while pulling guard.

This match is a no contest.

McIntyre grabs a mic and says he's sorry for ruining the party. But his name is Drew McIntyre and the party is over.

(Ads)

WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool is welcomed to the ring. She stands on crutches near the broadcast table. She says her knee injury is all Melina's fault.

Match #3 - Layla (Miami, Fla.) vs. Melina (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Melina comes down bad on her left leg early in the match and Leyla goes to work on it. But Melina quickly turns the tide and hits her splits legdrop for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Melina

After the match, Melina goes straight after McCool and pushes her to the ground.

(Ads)

Match #4 - Rey Mysterio (San Diego, Calif.) vs. Kane (Hell, Fire & Brimstone)

Kane grounds Mysterio early. Kane eats a boot in the corner and Mysterio lands a modified hurricarana and the seated senton. Kane, though, regains control with his vintage uppercut to a flying Mysterio. Mysterio dropkicks Kane's kneecap and goes for the 619 but Kane comes out and grabs him for the chokeslam. Mysterio gets out and goes for the 619 again but Kane goes out of the ring. Mysterio follows up outside the ring but Kane pushes him aside as he flies off the apron and lands a huge boot to the face.

Kane picks up Mysterio and rams his chest-first into the ring post and the referee tells Kane to bring him into the ring or he gets disqualified. Kane does it again and the ref calls for the bell.

Winner via disqualification: Rey Mysterio

The Great Khali comes down to make the save. He and Kane brawl. Yipee. Once they're gone, Ziggler comes to the ring and hits his finish on Mysterio.

(Ads)

Match #5 - Chris Jericho (Winnipeg, Manitoba) vs. Shad Gaspard (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Jericho grabs a mic and says despite MVP and Mark Henry's win Monday on Raw, they have no chance of winning at Breaking Point.

Shad hits a running knee lift and press slams Jericho to the mat. He catches Jericho and hits a powerslam and goes for the cover but Big Show pulls Jericho out of the ring. This brings JTG into the mix and then it turns into an all-out brawl.

This brings Theodore Long out and he says this is going to continue as a tag team match. Didn't I just see this on Impact?

(Ads)

Match #5.5 - Chris Jericho (Winnipeg, Manitoba) & The Big Show (Tampa, Fla.) vs. JTG (Brooklyn, N.Y.) & Shad Gaspard (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

We're back and JTG and Jericho are in the ring. JTG changes at Jericho, who is against the ropes, but Jericho ducks and low-bridges JTG. Jericho distracts the referee and Big Show comes over, puts JTG on the apron and chops the crap out of him.

Big Show then goes to work on JTG's left leg. They both get out and it's back to Jericho and Shad. Big Show blind tags Jericho and comes in and hits the knockout punch on an unsuspecting Shad for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Big Show & Chris Jericho

(Ads)

Match #6 - Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship - (c) CM Punk (Chicago, Ill.) vs. Jeff Hardy (Cameron, N.C.)

Hardy enters first and Punk comes in from behind and attacks him. Punk catapults Hardy into the cage. He hip-tosses Hardy onto the floor and hits a snap suplex. He throws Hardy into the cage and the referee rings the bell. Punk almost immediately goes to climb the cage. Hardy stops him. Punk kicks Hardy and tries again but is stopped. Rinse and repeat.

Hardy is finally able to gain an edge and runs Punk into the cage multiple times. He goes for a cover but gets a two count. Hardy hits Whisper in the Wind for another two count.

(Ads)

We're back and Hardy is trying to escape the cage. Punk grabs him and tries to catapult him into the cage but Hardy grasps on and almost escapes but Punk stops him. They battle while standing on the top rope. Hardy punches Punk and crotches him. Punk falls and Hardy hits the Swanton Bomb and goes for the cover but Punk kicks out at 2 7/8.

They recover and Punk goes to climb out but sees Hardy trying to crawl out and decides to go and make the save. Punk pulls him back in and Hardy mule kicks him. With Punk standing in between the ropes and the cage, Hardy goes off the opposite ropes, runs and launches himself at Punk. Both men are down.

(Ads)

We're back and Punk is looking to crawl out of the cage but Hardy makes the save at the last second. His hands touch and Punk screams, "I'M OUT! I'M OUT!" to no avail. They brawl from their knees to their feet. Punk hoists Hardy for the GTS but Hardy counters into a backslide for a very, very close nearfall.

Punk hits a double-underhook backbreaker for two. Punk lifts Hardy for GTS, but when Punk goes to make the throw, Hardy jumps out and hits the Twist of Fate. Both men are down again. Hardy is up first while Punk is face down in the centre of the ring. Hardy uses the corner to pull himself up and starts climbing out of the cage. Punk only starts moving when Hardy straddles the top but Punk explodes out and stops Hardy, but Hardy is able to gets his legs over and he is wiggling out. But Punk pulls him back in and hits a huge superplex and again, both men are down.

Punk is up first and goes to climb, but only with the use of his right arm. Punk straddles the cage but Hardy is there. Punk is getting over but Hardy pulls himself near the top of the cage. Punk pokes Hardy in the eye and slams his head into the top of the cage. One last push sends Hardy flying into the ring and Punk drops down to retain the title.

Winner via escaping the cage and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: CM Punk

Punk clinches the title and waves goodbye to Hardy. The cage rises as Hardy clinches his head in his hands. Hardy is sitting in the middle of the ring. He stands to a large ovation. Hardy claps for the fans and grabs a mic. He says he's sorry if he let anybody down. He's sorry that people will be seeing Punk, not him on Smackdown, but it's been one hell of a ride. He thanks the fans and says it's not goodbye forever, it's just goodbye for now. And if the time is right, he's sure he'll see the fans in the future. They pan to a woman crying in the crowd. He says goodbye and rolls out of the ring. They pan to more people crying in the crowd. Hardy walks up the ramp and salutes the fans one more time. Then from behind, Punk comes and hits him in the back of the head with the title. CM Punk is the world's No. 1 hated man right now.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.