12/14 WWE Armageddon PPV Live Coverage: Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H for the WWE Title, John Cena vs. Chris Jericho for the World Hvt. Championship, Batista vs. Randy Orton, Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov
Dec 14, 2008 - 10:00 PM
By Jason Powell
Aired live on pay-per-view
Buffalo, N.Y. at the HSBC Arena
The show opened with a video previewing the two World Title matches... Fireworks exploded on the cool castle stage. Jim Ross and Tazz introduced the show from ringside.
Powell's POV: Very cool set. It blocks part of the big screen, but it stands out as special.
1. Vladimir Kozlov pinned Matt Hardy in a non-title match in 9:05. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker on commentary. They have their Best Announce Team Slammy sitting on the announce table. Nice. Grisham pointed out that Kozlov is unbeaten in eight months. Hardy and Kozlov faced off in striking pose to start the match. Hardy used his quickness to score a couple of quick nearfalls.
Kozlov used his power to make a quick comeback. He worked over Hardy's left arm and demanded that the ref ask Matt if he wanted to submit. He held onto the hold and used his head to batter Hardy's chest. After several minutes of Kozlov working over the arm, Hardy finally reached the ropes to break the hold.
Hardy made his comeback at 6:30. He dove off the ring apron onto Kozlov at ringside, but Vladimir caught him. Kozlov tried to ram Hardy into the ring post, but Matt slipped out and sent Kozlov crashing into the post. Back inside the ring, Hardy scored his first nearfall of the match. Later, Kozlov hit a move that Striker described as a chokeslam combined with a spinebuster and scored the clean pin over Hardy....
Powell's POV: Solid match. Much better performance from Kozlov this time around, though most of the credit for the match goes to Hardy. Vlad's offense is still ground based and deliberate, but Hardy kept things interesting.
Backstage, Edge and Vickie Guerrero laughed over Hardy losing the match. Edge left the room and Chavo asked Vickie whether they attacked Jeff Hardy the night before Survivor Series. She denied any involvement. She sent Chavo to fetch her coffee...
At ringside, Ross and Tazz announced a mobile poll that asked viewers who attacked Hardy last month. The options were Edge, Triple H, Kozlov, and other...
Powell's POV: Nice job of putting focus on the Hardy mystery. It looks like that will be a big storyline given how much they're talking about it now.
2. C.M. Punk defeated Rey Mysterio in the Intercontinental Title tournament final. William Regal and Layla sat at ringside with the Intercontinental Title belt 13:45. Lillian mistakenly introduced Punk as one-half of the tag team champions. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler quickly corrected her and aired still shot photos of The Miz and John Morrison beating Punk and Kofi Kingston on Saturday night in Hamilton, Ont. to win the tag titles.
The announcers noted from the start that Mysterio suffered torn ligaments in his wrist when he was attacked by Mike Knox. Early in the match, Punk backdropped Mysterio to ringside right in front of Regal, who was sitting on a cheesy throne. Punk dove over the top rope onto Rey at ringside.
Back inside the ring, Punk remained on offense and worked over Punk's sore wrist. Well, at least Cole keeps calling it a wrist injury even though it was originally referred to as an elbow injury and most of Punk's offense focussed on the elbow. At 7:30, Mysterio caught Punk in an arm bar. Punk sold it well before reaching the ropes to break the hold.
At 11:00, Rey went for the 619, but Punk avoided it and hoisted up Rey for the GTS. Rey slipped out of the move and ended up hitting the 619 in a really good spot. Rey went for a big splash off the ropes, but Punk moved. "Nearfall after nearfall for Punk and Mysterio," Cole said. Moments later, Punk hit the GTS on Punk and scored the clean pin. Regal clapped at ringside. Mysterio came up bleeding heavily from the nose.
Powell's POV: Good match. It started slow and built nicely to a solid fast-paced finish. Punk caught Mysterio with the GTS and likely broke his nose in the process. Rey was shaken afterward and Punk checked on him quickly. Punk had a small cut of his own on his nose. Nice to see a clean finish rather than the Mike Knox run-in I expected.
A Royal Rumble commercial aired...
A shot aired of Jeff Hardy sitting in a dark room with makeup on his face. He said people have tried to change him his entire life. "Everyone has tried to break me, but I broke my own walls down," he said. He said tonight is a new chapter in the career of Jeff Hardy. "Tonight I will answer all the questions," he said. "Does Jeff Hardy have what it takes? Is Jeff Hardy willing to change? I am who I am. Jeff Hardy, WWE Champion"...
Powell's POV: Good promo, but not much reaction from the live crowd. More fans would have bought into the possibility of Hardy winning the belt if that promo had aired on Smackdown.
Cole and Lawler introduced a video that recapped the JBL and Shawn Michaels storyline...
JBL's limo pulled into the building. JBL made the slow walk to the ring and called out his "new employee" Shawn Michaels. HBK's music played and he walked to the ring in street clothes. Shawn took the mic and said he was going to "get right to it." He said the economy has hit everyone hard and "unfortunately I'm not immune to it." He said he's in a tough spot right now.
Shawn said he's heard people say he's a WWE Superstar and that he's rich and there's no way this could happen to him. "Believe me, I wish that was the case," he said. He said he spent a lot of money when he was in his twenties. He said he was injured in his thirties and paid for all his knee and back surgeries. Shawn said he met his wife and turned his life around. He found a financial planner and did what he thought was right.
"And then the roof caved in," Michaels said. He said he wasn't going to lie to the fans and that he doesn't know how much time he has left. He paused and looked at the ground. "I don't know how many years I have left," he reiterated. He said he has a family and relatives that depend on him. He said that's why he accepted JBL's offer. "I don't like JBL any more than you do," said Michaels. He said he finds him to be a smug bully, but he's solid financially and "that's what I need right now."
Shawn said he will put his children through college and won't let his brothers and sisters lose their home. He said he won't become a wrestling tragedy who limps into a high school gym or is spotted bagging groceries. "You can judge me if you want," Shawn said. "If being booed by you or being called a sellout by you is the price I have to pay, then I'll pay it," he said. A small "You sold out" chant started.
"This is not something I want to do," Michaels said. "This is something I have to do." JBL took the mic from Shawn and glared at him. JBL stuck out his hand in front of Michaels. Shawn shook reluctantly shook his hands as the fans booed. JBL left the ring, leaving Michaels to stand there with a sad look on his face.
Powell's POV: The line of the night goes to pay-per-view party regular and Dot Net Member "Pooch," who just said, "Tell Marty to get a job." The segment was greeted by laughs from the guys who are watching the show with me. It's just too hard to believe that Shawn is hard up. Can't Hunter give the guy a loan?
Backstage, Eve tried to interview Randy Orton, but Cody Rhodes and Manu entered the picture. Cody handled the bulk of the talking, then Manu took over. Manu said Orton would expose Batista for the fraud that he is. "Tonight, Randy Orton cements his legacy." Orton walked off without saying a word...
At ringside, members of the Buffalo Bills clowned around and pretended to beat up one another. There were some boos from the crowd...
Powell's POV: The fans always love it when a team loses and then acts indifferently afterward. By the way, I forgot to mention earlier that Finlay told Hornswoggle he shouldn't come to ringside with him.
3. Finlay defeated Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas) in a Belfast Brawl in 9:40. Hornswoggle didn't come out with Finlay. Henry and Finlay fought at ringside early as the announcers (Grisham and Striker) explained that there were no countouts in a Belfast Brawl. At 2:45, Finlay grabbed a variety of weapons from underneath the ring. Atlas hit him with a trash can lid, but Finlay no-sold it and kicked Atlas. Henry took advantage of the distraction and struck Henry with another lid.
At 7:15, Henry picked up the shillelagh and broke it over his knee. Finlay tried to hit him with a kendo stick, but Henry stopped him and broke that over his knee. At 8:00, Hornswoggle appeared at ringside and climbed onto the ring apron. Henry threw Finlay into the ropes and Finlay's elbow caught Horny and knocked him to the floor at ringside.
Henry continued to dominate the match and threw the ring steps inside the ring at 9:15. He picked up the steps and walked toward Finlay, who caught him with a dropkick to the knee. Hornswoggle slid a second shillelagh to Finlay, who struck Henry with it and scored the pin. After the match, Finlay and Hornswoggle hugged.
Powell's POV: Can Finlay win a match without the shillelagh? The announcers did a nice job of putting over how much abuse Finlay took during the match.
An ad aired for the Tribute to the Troops show, which airs Saturday night on NBC...
Backstage, Santa Haas handed out gifts to the WWE Divas. Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix entered the room. Santino showed off the Slammy that Beth won. Santino reached inside the big gift box. Boogeyman popped his head out of the box and delivered his catchphrase. Santino delivered a classic high pitched scream. He tried to leave through a door, but Goldust was waiting for him under the mistletoe. After Santino ran off, Goldust wished Boogey a Merry Christmas. They exchanged gifts. Jesse, Festus, and other wrestlers entered the room and they all sang, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"...
Mr. Kennedy appeared on screen and pimped his Behind the Enemy Lines Columbia video... A video recapped Evolution and hyped the Batista vs. Randy Orton match...
4. Batista pinned Randy Orton (w/Cody Rhodes, Manu) in 16:45. At 2:20, Orton threw Batista to ringside. Cody and Manu ganged up on Batista, but the referee saw them and sent them to the back. At 5:00, Batista set up Orton for the Batista Bomb, but Orton slid out and hit a neckbreaker.
At 6:30, Batista tossed Orton over the top rope to ringside. Cole and Lawler made a good call by talking about how it reminded them of Orton injuring his shoulder while performing the same spot against Triple H. Later, Orton applied the chin lock of death for the next few minutes. Batista broke free, but went right back to the hold. The announcers referred to the move as "methodical," which is a nice way of saying boring. Batista powered up to his feet with Orton holding on. Batista backed into the ropes to break the hold.
At 12:55, Orton superplexed Batista for a nearfall. Moments later, Batista hit the spinebuster for his own nearfall. Batista set up for the Batista Bomb, but Orton slipped out. Orton went for the RKO, but Batista shoved him off and hit a sidewalk slam for another nearfall. At 15:00, Orton was looking for the RKO again, but Batista used a side slam for a good nearfall. Later, Orton was going for a flapjack, but Batista held onto the ropes and transitioned into the Batista Bomb for the win...
Powell's POV: The first 10-12 minutes of the match were slow. The last five minutes were solid and I was pleasantly surprised by the clean finish. Honestly, though, this was not a main event caliber match.
A Raw Slammy recap segment aired... A video recapped the brawl that ended Raw between Triple H, Jeff Hardy, and Edge...
5. Mickie James, Maria, Kelly Kelly, and Michelle McCool defeated Mayrse, Victoria, Natalya, and Jillian Hall in 4:30. The Raw and Smackdown took turns calling the match. In the end, McCool hit the Styles Clash on Jillian and scored the pin.
After the match, the heels carried Jillian backstage. Great Khali and Runjin Singh came out to new bhangra entrance music. They were setting up McCool for a kiss with Khali, but she refused and then rolled of the ring. Runjin said the only thing better than kissing one diva is kissing three divas. After some back and forth delay, Singh brought out Mae Young to kiss Khali instead. Eventually, Mae jumped into Khali's arms and forced a big kiss on him. He acted like he was sick afterward...
Powell's POV: The crowd was livelier for Mae than anything that took place during Orton vs. Batista. "This is longer than the Matt Hardy match went tonight," pay-per-view partier Dave just said.
A highlight video previewed the John Cena vs. Chris Jericho match...
Powell's POV: Does this mean they're saving the Triple Threat match for last? Hmmm. Either Hardy is winning or they're setting up everyone for another swerve.
6. John Cena beat Chris Jericho via submission to retain the World Hvt. Championship in 12:45. Lillian Garcia handled the in-ring introductions. Cena and Jericho had a good staredown before the bell. At 3:15, Cena went for the FU, but Jericho turned it into a DDT. Moments later, Cena went for the FU on the ring apron again, but Jericho broke free and rammed him face first into the ring steps. Cool spot. Jericho walked toward the ECW announce table. Matt Striker reached up and grabbed the Slammy Award immediately in the unintentionally hilarious moment of the night.
At 6:30, Cena did the "You can't see me" bit and went for the FU, but Jericho slid out again. At 9:40, Cena came back with another FU attempt. He flipped Jericho over, but Jericho landed on his feet and hit the Codebreaker for a really good nearfall. Jericho argued with the referee over the count and walked into the FU. Cena sold the Codebreaker and was slow to make a cover, so Jericho kicked out. The announcers did nothing to put over Jericho kicking out of Cena's finisher.
At 11:15, Jericho avoided the STFU and got to the ropes. He locked Cena in the Walls of Jericho. Cena powered toward the ropes, but Jericho pulled him back to the center of the ring. Cena held up his hand and teased tapping, but he eventually powered out and locked in the STFU for the win. After the match, Cena celebrated in front of the Bills players at ringside...
Powell's POV: Fun match. It was hardly a classic, but both guys worked hard and they had some fun spots and did their best to make it look like Cena's title reign was in jeopardy. I never really bought in to the idea of Jericho winning the title, but they gave it their best effort.
Another Royal Rumble commercial aired... Ross and Tazz announced that 65 percent of the WWE voters believed that Edge attacked Jeff Hardy on the morning of the Survivor Series... A video hyped Triple Threat match...
7. Jeff Hardy defeated Edge and Triple H in a Triple Threat match to win the WWE Title in 17:20. Ross ran through the rules of the match. He said there are no DQ and no countouts. He added that the champion doesn't have to be involved in the pin or submission to lose his title. A fan in the crowd held up a sign that read, "Paul, I can't feel my legs," in reference to Vince McMahon's last words on WWE Raw. Funny. The new buzz phrase of the weeks is "no wasted motion." Cole used it to describe Orton, Lawler mentioned it regarding Cena, and Ross used it to describe Hunter.
At 7:30, Edge went for a spear on Hardy, who moved, causing Edge to spear Hunter in the corner. Hardy followed up with a Swanton Bomb on Hunter and went for the cover, but Edge reached in and pulled Hardy to ringside to break up the pin. With the wrestlers at ringside, Striker once again reached out to protect his precious Slammy.
At 10:00, Hardy prepped the Smackdown announcers' table for a spot, but Hunter attacked him from behind. Hunter tossed Hardy over the ECW table. Grisham split and Striker was close behind with a death grip on his Slammy. Hunter ripped the top of the Raw announcers' table off and set Hardy on top of it. Hunter went for the Pedigree, but Jeff fought out and went for the Twist of Fate, but Hunter dodged it. Hunter jumped out of the way as Edge ran from the ECW table and speared Hardy through the Smackdown table at the other end of the row of announcers' tables.
Back inside the ring, Edge DDT'd Hunter at 13:00. Edge tried to spear Hunter, but Hunter caught him with the spinebuster. Hunter hit the hit the Pedigree on Edge and went for a cover, but Vladimir Kozlov ran out and pulled him off. Matt Hardy ran out and fought with Kozlov. Jeff Hardy went up top for the Swanton on Edge, but Kozlov pushed Jeff to the floor. Kozlov and Matt fought their way to the back at 15:00.
At 16:15, Edge set up Hunter for the Conchairto, but Hardy recovered and stopped him from swinging the chair. Hardy grabbed the chair and struck Edge with it. Hardy went to the top for his finisher, but Hunter recovered and pushed him down. Hunter hit the Pedigree on Edge. Hunter covered Edge, but Hardy came off the top with the Swanton Bomb on both men. Hardy covered Edge and got the 1-2-3 to become the new WWE Champion. Big pop from the live crowd.
The announcers laid out while Hardy celebrated in the ring and put the WWE Title around his waist for the first time. Hardy danced and continued to celebrate. Fans are generally racing for the exits at this point, but it looked like most stayed to celebrate Hardy finally winning the big one. He shook hands with the fans in the aisle and took off one of his nylon arm bands and handed them to a kid who asked for one.
The announcers checked back in and recapped the match as Hardy continued to celebrate with the fans. They replayed footage of the match, including the footage of the finish. Ross said the WWE Universe will be saying, "Let the Hardy party begin." A shot aired of Hardy standing on top of the castle set with the WWE Title...
Powell's POV: Awesome match with all three guys working hard. The nearfalls and even the finisher teases were great. The only thing that disappoints me is that WWE didn't do a good job of raising the hopes of Hardy fans to order this show, so I'm sure there are plenty of fans who missed out on seeing it finally happen. Overall, an entertaining show with a surprise payoff at the end.