December 14, 2008
Armageddon: Hardy finally breaks through
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
Two titles were on the line Sunday during WWE Armageddon. John Cena continued his feud with Chris Jericho over the World Heavyweight Championship while Edge looked to hold off both Triple H and the charging Jeff Hardy in the main event for the WWE Championship. In the end, history was made, as Hardy's long journey finally culminated with his first WWE Championship win.
All in all, it was a great night of wrestling from HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., as many wrestlers either made new marks or impressed even further.
In the main event, Jeff Hardy gets off to a hot start, working over both Triple H and Edge, but was eventually disposed of, allowing Edge and HHH go to work inside the ring.
Triple H went for a Pedigree on Edge, but Hardy re-entered in time to break it up. From there, Hardy is put up on the top rope with his back to the ring with Edge going for a suplex. Triple H comes in and lifts Edge up and then Hardy hits them both with another Whisper in the Wind.
Edge is sent to the outside, allowing Hardy to work on HHH and hit a Swanton, but Edge makes his return just in time to pull Hardy off The Game.
On the outside, Edge starts ramming Hardy into the announce tables, but when Edge tries to send him into the Raw table, Hardy counters and rams Edge into it. Hardy throws Edge into the rail and starts to deconstruct the Smackdown table, but he's stopped by Triple H, who starts to deconstruct the ECW and Raw tables. He tries to Pedigree Hardy on the Raw table, but Hardy counters and tries for the Twist of Fate, but Triple H gets out of the way just in time for Edge to come flying in and spear Hardy through the Smackdown table.
Triple H puts Edge back into the ring where Edge hits the a DDT. Both men are slow to get up. Edge gets up first and goes for a Spear, but runs right into a spinebuster. HHH calls for the Pedigree and hits it. Hardy is nowhere in sight. Triple H covers, but Vladimir Kozlov pulls him off and destroys him outside the ring.
Matt Hardy comes out to try to counter Kozlov. Jeff Hardy goes to the top rope for the Swanton on Edge, but Kozlov pushes him off the rope, leaving Edge as the only man in the ring as Matt Hardy and Kozlov battle to the pick.
Triple H crawls back in the ring and runs right into the Spear, but kicks out at two. Edge is upset. He goes to the outside and grabs two chairs. We know what's next. He sets up the Conchairto on Triple H, but Hardy steps up and grabs the chair from Edge and nails him with a one-handed shot. He goes to the top for the Swanton, but Triple H crotches him.
Both Edge and HHH struggle to their feet. Triple H hits the Pedigree on Edge and goes to cover but Hardy comes from out of nowhere and hits the Swanton on both! Hardy covers Edge... 1, 2, 3!
Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Champion: Jeff Hardy
Match rating: 8/10
The announcers go silent as the crowd goes wild. Finally, after minutes of silence, they take us to a replay. Hardy climbs to the top of the Armageddon set in celebration.
The next WWE pay-per-view is the Royal Rumble on Jan. 25.
After a video package, Jim Ross welcome us to the broadcast, which comes to us in WWEHD.
Match #1 - Matt Hardy (Cameron, N.C.) vs. Vladimir Kozlov (Russia)
Kozlov strikes the first big blow of the match by ramming Hardy's shoulder into the ring post twice. He then works a keylock and picks Hardy up in the keylock and slams him down. Nice. Hardy starts to work Kozlov to the body, but Kozlov counters with a DDT for two and goes back to the keylock.
But Hardy starts to fire up once the match goes to the outside, ramming Kozlov into the post. Back in the ring, Hardy hits the Side Effect, but Kozlov gets his hand on the bottom rope. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate, but Kozlov pushes off. Hardy goes to the second rope for the elbow, but eats a big open palm strike on the way down. Kozlov covers, but Hardy gets his hand on the bottom rope.
Kozlov ends up sending Hardy into the top of the post, which turns the tide, as Kozlov hits the headbutt and a chokeslam/spinebuster combo for the fall.
Winner via pinfall: Vladimir Kozlov
Match rating: 6.5/10
Backstage, Edge and Vickie Guerrero are talking. They make fun of Hardy and Guerrero wishes Edge good luck. Then Chavo Guerrero comes in and asks Vickie how they took out Jeff Hardy before Survivor Series. Chavo prods her some more, but Vickie tells him to go get her coffee -- two sugars. Actually, make that two Splendas.
William Regal and Layla are outside the ring for our following match.
Match #2 - Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final - Rey Mysterio (San Diego, Calif.) vs. CM Punk (Chicago, Ill.)
The two open up the match with a friendly handshake.
Fast-paced back-and-forth action to begin. Mysterio tries to line up Punk for the 619, but Punk is still too fresh. Punk tries to lift Mysterio for the GTS, but to no avail. Mysterio takes a run at Punk, but he lifts him up and over the top rope. Punk follows that up by going up and over himself.
Punk hangs Mysterio up in the corner and kicks him and Punk runs at him with a knee, but Mysterio moves and then hits a moonsault, but it doesn't translate for Mysterio, as Punk works an armbar. Mysterio goes up for a hurricarana and instead of going down, he transitions into an armbar of his own.
Mysterio hits a springboard dropkick that sends Punk out of the ring and then goes to the top rope and leaps onto Punk on the outside. Mysterio throws Punk back into the ring and hits the springboard Senton and the two trade near falls.
The two exchange kicks and Punk goes for a high knee and misses, but hits it on the second try and follows up with a bulldog for two. Mysterio then hits an interesting pinning combination for two. Punk runs at Mysterio, but gets put in position for the 619. But like Punk earlier, the second time is the charm for Mysterio. He tries to follow that up with a splash, but Punk moves.
Mysterio goes for a victory roll, but Punk counters it right into GTS.
Winner via pinfall: CM Punk
Match rating: 8.5/10
Jeff Hardy is in a dark area backstage. He says tonight is a new chapter in the career of Jeff Hardy and tonight, he'll answer all the questions. Does Jeff Hardy have what it takes? Is Jeff Hardy willing to change? He is who he is. Jeff Hardy: WWE Champion.
JBL hands the microphone to Michaels. HBK says the economy has hit everyone very hard and he is in a very tough spot right now. He says he wish he was rich like everyone believes, but like a lot of 20 year olds when they came into money, he lived the high life. In the 30s, the injuries started to pile up and he was too foolish to ask anybody for help. About 10 years ago, he met his wife and they had two children and he turned his life around. He says he did the grown up thing and called an investment service to have his money invested and it went well, but then the roof caved in. He says he doesn't know how much time he has left, that is why he took JBL up on his offer, despite the fact he doesn't like him. But he is very good financially, which is why he made the move. He's essentially doing this for his family. He isn't going to become a wrestling tragedy. The crowd starts up with a "You sold out" chant. He says this isn't something he wanted to do. JBL takes the mic and then offers his hand. They shake hands in the middle of the ring and JBL takes off.
Backstage, Eve brings in Randy Orton. She asks him a question, but Cody Rhodes comes in out of nowhere and answers the question. Manu says tonight, Randy Orton cements his legacy.
Earlier in the night, Finlay told Hornswaggle to stay backstage, so the little guy isn't with him tonight.
Henry almost immediately throws Finlay over the top rope, but when Henry tries to follow up, Finlay slams him into an announce table. But the momentum changes just as quickly. They keep going back-and-forth until Finlay raids the bottom of the ring, throwing some Kendo sticks and some trash cans. Tony Atlas comes from behind and hits Finlay with a trash can lid and Finlay responds with a boot. Finlay gets in the ring and Henry cracks him with a lid.
Henry then hangs Finlay up on the second rope and hits the Big Bossman move, except he slides through to the outside. It hurt me just watching it.
Finlay fires back with a trash can shot, several Kendo stick shots and a DDT. Henry hits a trash can shot of his own and sets Finlay up for a Bonzai Drop but misses. Finlay goes for the Shillelagh, but Henry boots him in the head. Henry then snaps the Shillelagh and a Kendo stick.
Hornswaggle tries to get involved, but Henry drives Finlay into the corner, knocking Hornswaggle off the apron. He goes back under the ring.
Henry grabs the steel steps and throws them in the ring. Henry changes Finlay with them, but Finlay hits a dropkick on Henry's left knee. Hornswaggle then comes back and slips Finlay a new Shillelagh and he cracks Henry with it for the fall.
Winner via pinfall: Finlay
Match rating: 8/10Santa Haas is backstage with the Divas when Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix barge in. They gloat about Beth's Slammy when Santino goes to grab a present but instead finds the Boogeyman. Of course, Santino screams and tries to go out of the room, but there's Goldust standing in the doorjamb under Mistletoe. Santino runs the other way and Goldust says he just wanted to sing a song. He exchanges "Merry Christmas" with Boogey (hilarious!) and then, Goldy, Boogey, the Divas, Haas, Jesse, Festus, IRS and Mike Chioda sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Good stuff.
Match #4 - Batista (Washington, DC) vs. Randy Orton (St. Louis, MO)
Orton throws a charging Batista out of the ring when Manu and Cody Rhodes attack. Orton distracts the ref for a bit, but he turns around to see the assault going on. He promptly boots them from ringside.
Back in the ring, Batista hits a big power slam and goes for a Batista Bomb, but Orton gets out and hits a neckbreaker and then works a Level 4 Randy Orton Chinlock, but Batista gets out and slams him. Batista throws Orton through the ropes and he falls hard to the outside. Orton is thrown in the ring and catches Batista on the way in and hangs him on the second rope and DDTs him.
From there, it's all Orton, as he works various chinlocks to wear down the big man. Orton works a rear-naked choke on the ground but Batista gets up and rams him into the corner to break the hold.
They start to go back-and-forth with Batista clotheslining Orton out of the ring. Batista goes to the top, but it's a bad move, as Orton stops him and hits a superplex. But Batista quickly turns it around and goes for a Batista Bomb, but Orton gets out and tries for an RKO, but Batista shoves him away.
Orton gets Batista down and stalks him for the RKO, but again Batista shoves him away and hits a mega Rock Bottom for two. Again, they get up and Orton hits a DDT. Orton looks for the punt, but Batista lifts him into the corner and mounts him with punches. Orton tries to lift him out of the corner, but Batista falls back right into the position for the Batista Bomb, which he hits for the fall.
Winner via pinfall: Batista
Match rating: 8/10
Match #5 - Santa's Little Helper's Match - Kelly Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.), Mickie James (Richmond, Va.), Maria (Chicago, Ill.) & Michelle McCool (Palatka, Fla.) vs. Natalya (Calgary, Alberta), Victoria (Los Angeles, Calif.), Maryse (Montreal, Quebec), Jillian Hall (Louisville, Ky.)
They all go at it before McCool blind tags Maria and finishes Jillian with a Styles Clash. Maria is not happy, to say the least.
Winners via pinfall: Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James & Maria
Match rating: 3/10
After the match, The Great Khali comes out for a Christmas Kiss Cam with the faces still in the ring. Michelle McCool is chosen, but she bails. All of the other Divas are nervous, so Ranjin Singh has a backup plan -- it's Mae Young!
Lawler: She was helping Santa when the Dead Sea was only sick!
They lock lips and everyone goes wild. Funny stuff, again.
Match #6 - World Heavyweight Championship - Chris Jericho (Manhasset, N.Y.) vs. (c) John Cena (West Newbury, Mass.)
Jericho works on Cena's neck but almost gets hit by the FU twice. The second time, the two were on the apron, but Jericho got down and bulldogged Cena into the steel steps. Jericho continues to work on Cena moves and Jericho went shoulder-first into the ring post. Cena then sets Jericho up for the FIve Knuckle Shuffle and hits. He goes for the FU again, but Jericho gets out and tries to lock in the Walls of Jericho, but Cena escapes and hits a belly-to-belly suplex.
Later, Jericho counters Cena and hits the Lionsault for two. He sets Cena up on the top rope and looks for a superplex, but Cena picks him up and drops him and hits the guillotine leg drop for two.
Cena then stalks Jericho and sets him up for the FU again and goes to hit it, but Jericho lands on his feet and hits the Codebreaker, but Cena kicks out at two.
Jericho charges at Cena, but he picks him up and immediately drops him with the FU, but Cena is still hurt and is late making the cover, allowing Jericho to kick out at two.
Both are slow to get up, but Cena is up first and goes to Jericho, who rolls him up for two. Cena ducks an enziguri and goes to lock in the STFU, but Jericho gets out and locks in the Walls. Cena climbs for the ropes, but is pulled back into the centre. Cena somehow completely reverses the Walls and locks in the STFU. Jericho taps.
Winner via submission and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
Match rating: 7/10
Triple Threat Match - WWE Championship - Triple H (Greenwich, Conn.) vs. Jeff Hardy (Cameron, N.C.) vs. (c) Edge (Toronto, Ontario)
Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Champion: Jeff Hardy
Match rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 10/10
Matt Bishop is SLAM! Wrestling's ECW reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and hometown. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.