Armageddon 2008: Jeffrey Freaking Nero Hardy

Armageddon 2008
Date: December 14, 2008
Location: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, New York
Attendance: 12,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, Todd Grisham, Michael Cole, Taz

Well this is the final show of the series and thankfully we go out with a big old bang. The main events are Edge vs. HHH vs. Hardy for the Smackdown title and Jericho vs. Cena for the Red Show title. Also there’s Batista vs. Orton in the closest thing to a major match they ever had (not counting some random title matches). Let’s get to it.
In a not very interesting bit of trivia, the dark match for this show is the same match that was the dark match for the previous year’s Armageddon: Jesse and Festus vs. Miz/Morrison. The more famous team lost the first time and won this year.

It’s Armageddon and the same theme is used.

Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov

Vlad was released on the day this was written. Matt is ECW Champion but this is non-title. Vlad has that rare thing called credibility here and is undefeated. The fans chant USA as is their custom because they’re anti-foreigner. Hardy starts off kind of well and is then thrown all over the place because Vlad is Russians and Russians are better fighters. He throws on a key lock and the fans cheer for Hardy.

Vlad shifts off to an armbar and pulls Matt off the mat (oh the irony) by his arm which looked REALLY freaking painful. Trapping headbutts keep Matt from getting any long term offense going. Vlad gets a DDT to either the head or the arm. It looked like a regular one but it seemed like Matt landed on his arm. Back to the keylock as this isn’t a very exciting match even though the fans are interested in it.

Matt manages to get up top and hit a top rope elbow to the head. Vlad gets tossed to the floor but Matt’s dive doesn’t work. He counters the counter though and Vlad tastes the steel. Not really but you get the idea. I doubt Vlad likes to lick posts but who knows, maybe he does. Matt goes up again but jumps into a punch for two. He goes into the corner for ten punches but gets dropped onto the post. The headbutt to the chest and a standing spinebuster end this.

Rating: C. Not a bad match but there’s something out of place about a Russian monster using arm holds for the majority of the match. Matt losing was expected because he’s Matt Hardy, but Vlad’s push more or less stopped soon after this, mainly due to an abysmal fan response at Cyber Sunday. Nothing great here but it was fine for what it was.

Edge, Vickie and Chavo are in the back. Edge leaves to get ready and Chavo asks Vickie how they got rid of Jeff that night in the hotel. Vickie doesn’t want to answer and sends Chavo for coffee.

Horny comes up to Eve and hits her with a rubber hammer. Finlay comes in to help her and Eve says it’s cool. Finlay tells his son not to come out for the match later because he might get hurt. Horny is sad.

Here’s William Regal with Layla to sit at ringside for the next match.

Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final: CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

Why they call it that I have no idea because it’s for a shot at the title, held by Regal. Punk is introduced as half of the tag champions but he and Kofi lost the titles at a house show the previous night to Miz and Morrison. There’s a pre-match handshake and here we go. Mysterio might have a bad wrist but it isn’t taped. Jerry does his job and talks about how having an injury taped up is a bad idea at times.

Some lone fan tries to start a Miz and Morrison chant and the arena shouts him down. Pretty basic back and forth stuff to start but they’re speeding up. 619 is avoided but the GTS fails also. Rey is sent to the floor in front of Regal and Punk hits a big dive which gets two in the ring. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. Rey tries to speed things up but is caught in the Tree of Woe and Punk fires off some kicks.

He avoids a charge though and hits a moonsault off the top for two. It might have hurt his already injured wrist though and Punk capitalizes it. Punk grabs a weird kind of crossface where he puts Rey’s arm behind Punk’s back and cranks back on it. Rey gets to the ropes and uses what appears to be La Mistica (Sin Cara’s move in Mexico) but Punk makes a rope as well.

A dropkick puts Punk on the floor and Rey hits a big dive off the top, putting both guys down. Back in a victory roll by Rey gets two but Punk counters into a rollup of his own for two. Pretty back and forth match so far with both guys mirroring each other. Punk hits a running bulldog for two. Regal is finally interested in the match while Layla holds the title up for him.

Punk puts Rey on the ropes but gets put in the 619 position. That misses again and Punk tries the GTS. Rey reverses that into a rana to put CM into 619 position. It finally connects but the splash misses. Crucifix gets two for Rey. Punk counters another rana attempt and hits the GTS out of mostly nowhere for the pin and the shot at Regal. Rey’s nose is busted.

Rating: B. Rather good match here and they were moving out there. The ending is kind of out of nowhere but the GTS looked good. Rey would get the title from JBL at Mania in like 30 seconds after JBL beat Punk for it who beat Regal for it like three weeks after this. Good match here though as is par for the course with these two.

Jeff talks about spending the last year to get ready for this moment. He’s been told he had to change to get what he wanted, but that’s because the people are afraid of him. Tonight he’ll prove everyone wrong and become WWE Champion.

We recap JBL and Shawn’s issues. The idea is that Shawn is broke due to the 2008 financial crash. He had to take a job with JBL as his servant basically and give up his pride. The problem with all this was simple: Shawn Michaels is a top level WWE Superstar. Are we supposed to believe he doesn’t make enough to pay his bills?

Here’s JBL who introduces Shawn as his new employee. He says that the financial issues have caught up with him and he’s invested his money in the stock market. See, that’s the thing: he got his money being a wrestler and he has the same job now. He’s still making checks now so why is this such a big issue?

It makes sense in theory but it always came off as a hole in the story to me. Shawn doesn’t like JBL but he’s not going to become one of those guys that you hear about who is a tragedy and going to a high school gym to wrestle for a quick payday. YOU WERE IN THE MATCH OF THE YEAR LAST YEAR AT WRESTLEMANIA. I THINK YOU HAVE SOME TIME LEFT. Anyway, Shawn shakes JBL’s hand and is all sad. He always will have a lifetime job looking for his smile.

Orton says…nothing because Cody and Manu interrupt. Cody says Orton was the star of Evolution and Manu says that Orton has been waiting to prove himself as the better man for years. I can see why Manu didn’t keep his job long. Everyone leaves after that in a weird moment.

Some Buffalo Bills are here.

Finlay vs. Mark Henry

This is a Belfast Brawl, which means street fight. Henry had tried to squash Horny but Finlay made the save for his son. Tony Atlas is with Henry. Striker says this has its roots in the streets of Belfast. There are wrestling rings in Belfast streets where you win fights by holding someone down for three seconds in front of 12,000 people? Henry sends him to the floor quickly but Finlay manages to send him into the announce table. Henry takes over and pounds away outside, ramming him into the railing.

No Hornswoggle out here as per his pop’s request. Back in the ring the splash misses and Finlay tries to get in some offense. The Irish dude pulls out some weapons, in the form of like three trashcans. The delay lets Henry get up and Finlay goes down fast. Henry hits that move that has no name where you jump on the guy’s head when he’s in the 619 position. He yells at Finlay, saying you wanted a fight and now you got one.

Finlay manages to fight back with a trashcan shot and another to put Henry down. He pounds away a bit and gets two. Henry takes over again and stands on Finlay’s chest but misses a Banzai Drop from the middle rope. Yokozuna he is not. There’s that Irish club that I can’t spell but Henry knocks it out of Finlay’s hand. Henry breaks the club easily and does the same to a kendo stick.

Bear hug goes on and here’s Horny. Henry casually throws him into Finlay’s balls from where he came. Or did Finlay come? Not sure actually. I guess Finlay had to so Horny could. And I guess Finlay had to be Horny to come so Horny could come. I love wordplay. Anyway Henry beats Finlay down and picks up the steps but Finlay dropkicks the knee to send Henry’s face into the steps. Horny slips him another stick (add that aspect to the aforementioned joke) and a shot to the head with that ends this.

Rating: C-. Eh nothing too horrible here. The weapons probably saved this as I don’t even want to imagine these two trying to have a regular match. Not a horrible match here and Horny helping to win is ok. I don’t mind him as a sidekick but being on the show week after week gets to be a bit much.

The Divas are decorating a tree and here’s Santa-Haas. They all get presents which were already in the room. Santino and Beth come in and show off Beth’s Diva of the Year Slammy. Santino tries to get a present out of the box but Boogeyman is inside. He runs for the door and there’s Goldust under some mistletoe. Boogey gives Goldust a present and then the two of them along with Santa, the Divas and the drugged out Festus sing We Wish You A Merry Christmas. It’s as weird as it sounds.

Kennedy says drink responsibly and don’t do drugs. However, do go get his new DVD, Behind Enemy Lines III.

We recap Batista vs. Orton. They were both in Evolution and this fight is basically to decide who was the better young and future star in the team. Both won world titles and then Orton went all heel and said he was better than everyone else. I don’t get why this is at Armageddon and not like at, Wrestlemania or something.

Batista vs. Randy Orton

Cody and Manu are with Orton. They fight over a lockup to start and there’s no real advantage yet. Orton takes him to the mat but that gets him nowhere at all. Batista goes to the floor and Rhodes gets involved for generally evil purposes. The two of them get thrown out quickly though so we get down to a regular match. Orton sends the shoulder into the post and works on the arm for the first real advantage.

They’re treating this like a clash of the titans which it really is. There’s an RKO chant also. Batista snaps and tries a Batista Bomb early but Randy escapes into a neckbreaker for two. Batista tosses him to the floor and Orton may have reinjured his shoulder which was hurt earlier in the year. Back in Orton manages to get the elevated DDT for two. This is when the move made sense as the rope is under Big Dave’s knees instead of his ankles, making it a bit harder to escape.

Since we were getting close to something interesting out of Orton, it’s the Orton Stomp to the rescue! When you steal moves from Ronnie Garvin, you’re not in a good place. Batista goes to the floor as the pace of the match has gone down into negative gears. Orton throws on a chinlock which is broken rather quickly. He’s working on the neck so we hit the chinlock again.

The fans aren’t sure if they want to chant boring or not. Big Dave gets underneaath the chinlock and drops back with the weight crashing down onto Randy. Batista wins a slugout but Orton uses the lethal art of kicking your feet to escape a powerslam. They go outside again which doesn’t amount to much. A superplex by Orton gets two.

Spinebuster gets two out of nowhere for Batista. He’s too spent to follow up immediately and the Batista Bomb is delayed. Orton gets the backbreaker for two. RKO is blocked and Batista gets a slam for two. The Animal (just a generic animal, not the Viper) is getting frustrated. Another Bomb attempt is countered and Randy gets a DDT for two. The Punt is countered by Batista putting him in the corner and ramming in shoulders and then ten punches. Orton tries to counter into something but winds up in the position for the Batista Bomb and we’re done.

Rating: B-. Well the second half was better but at the same time the first half was really boring. Orton got A LOT better over the last year or so and was just dull beyond belief as a heel in 2008. A lot of this match was weak but they turned it around and got something close to a big match going. The pacing was off too though and it looked like they kept wanting to get going but it never clicked.

Recap of the Slammys from Raw on Monday. This is mainly done to set up some more of Cena vs. Jericho. They’re fighting for the Raw World Title later. Jeff Hardy, Edge and HHH got involved somehow too.

Maria/Mickie James/Kelly Kelly/Michelle McCool vs. Maryse/Jillian Hall/Victoria/Natalya

Santa’s Little Helper’s match here. The heels are in green and are elves I guess. Maria’s song is really catchy. I miss Michelle. Mickie vs. Maryse starts us off. Mickie keeps going after her and Maryse tries to pose. Off to Mickie vs. Natalya in the real fight here. Nattie is pretty new at this point. Kelly is Jewish and Striker calls her the Hot Hebrew. That sounds like a really bad coffee shop. The announcers are having a fun time with this. The match is totally pointless of course and it’s off to Maria. Somehow she gets compared to John Berzerker Nord. Everything breaks down and Michelle hits the Faithbreaker (Styles Clash) to end Maryse.

Rating: C+. Don’t bother trying to figure out if the rating is good because it isn’t, but there was a weird energy for this one and I had fun with it. Also Michelle in shorts and Maria with her energetic perkiness are never bad things. The girls looks hot and everyone was having fun in a nice breath of air before the main events. What more can you ask for?

Khali comes out for the Kiss Cam with the Divas in the ring still. Michelle runs away with her Divas Title. Instead he’s going to kiss the other three. This doesn’t work either so Runjin Singh says that it’s because he’s too much man for them. Singh has a backup plan in the form of Mae Young. This is one of those things you classify as all in good fun. Yes it’s stupid, but I like it for some weird reason. The announcers are cracking up over Lawler’s one liners.

Preview of Prince of Persia, which is the game sponsoring the show.

We recap Jericho vs. Cena which is a rematch from Survivor Series where Cena came back to beat Jericho for the title after being gone for like three months. Jericho never beat Cena for the most part so what do you think is happening here? Oh and Jericho is the Superstar of the Year, which he probably deserved. The rest of the video is a long beatdown of Cena by Jericho with help from Legacy.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho

After some big match intros we’re ready to go. Crowd is mostly pro Cena, I’d say 75-80%. Jericho outsmarts him to start and stomps away on the back and the neck. Cena is like screw this and spears him down to hammer away. Jericho fights out and throws on a sleeper. Cena might go to sleep faster if Jericho wasn’t calling spot to him. Dueling chants already but the better one is for Jericho.

Cena reverses into an attempted FU but that gets countered into a DDT. Cena rolls to the floor and Jericho gets caught in another FU attempt but he counters THAT into a bulldog off the apron and onto the steps. Cool sequence there. Jericho stays on the neck which is good psychology from a master of it. Cena counters into his finishing sequence but it’s WAY too early for that.

Jericho manages another counter to the FU, this time into the Walls. Scratch that as it’s more like a door frame which is reversed by Cena anyway. Missile dropkick from the middle rope gets two. Nice fast paced match here so far. Throwback is blocked and Jericho hits the Lionsault for two. We go up top and Cena blocks a superplex and hits the top rope Fameasser for a delayed cover.

The ninth or so FU attempt is countered as Jericho lands on his feet and the Codebreaker gets two. Jericho charges at Cena again and this time gets caught in the FU. It only gets two and both guys are down. Jericho pulls a Bret and plays possum into a small package for two. Cena grabs the STFU but Jericho counters into the Walls. He manages to crawl through Chris’ legs and grabs the STFU for a relatively quick tap out.

Rating: B+. I liked this one as they had both guys moving out there the entire time and constantly countering the finishers. Cena tried the FU about 10 times but he kept hammering away until Jericho ran out of counters and got frustrated, resulting in his downfall. Nice story being told and great execution of it. What more can you ask for from a match like this?

We recap the Smackdown World Title match. Someone jumped Hardy to keep him out of the triple threat match at Survivor Series. Edge returned and stole the title from HHH. The attack on Hardy was called the most disgusting thing of the year for some reason because it implied Jeff was on drugs or something, despite that never being mentioned ever. Oh well I guess.

Smackdown World Title: Edge vs. HHH vs. Jeff Hardy

Solid heat on Edge and a solid gut also. Jeff goes straight for Edge as JR can’t remember if Jeff got attacked in Baltimore or Boston. Basic opening so far with Jeff driving the action. He sends Edge and HHH to the floor and dives on the Canadian. Trips takes his head off though so it’s Edge vs. HHH in the ring now. How was that never the main event of a bigger show than Great American Bash?

Jumping knee to the face puts Edge down as does a neckbreaker. Edge’s bad luck continues as he gets caught in a facebuster. Jeff back in now and he gets a facebuster for Christmas also. HHH tries the Pedigree to Edge but Jeff takes them both out with a Whisper in the Wind. The Game is down and Jeff gets crotched on the top. HHH comes in to get Edge and it’s a Doomsday Device with Jeff hitting a Whisper in the Wind instead of a clothesline. Edge’s bump is SCARY here as he lands on the back of his head.

Pedigree to Jeff is countered again and he goes into the buckle. Slingshot dropkick hits HHH but the Edge-O-Matic takes Jeff down for two. HHH’s bad luck continues in the form of a spear. Twist of Fate and Swanton hit HHH but Edge makes a last second save. Everybody goes to the floor and HHH is mostly dead.

Edge gets whipped around a lot and Jeff loads up the announce table. HHH pops up again and sends Edge onto the table but not through it. Jeff escapes a Pedigree and gets killed with a spear through the third table. Edge vs. HHH in the ring with the Canadian hitting an Edgecution for no cover. Spear is countered into the spinebuster and there’s the Pedigree.

Kozlov of all people pops up and breaks up the pin before beating on HHH. Matt Hardy comes out to get rid of Kozlov. Jeff goes up but Kozlov shoves him away before the Swanton can hit. Matt and Vlad go up the aisle and only Edge is in the ring. HHH comes back in but walks into a spear for two. A frustrated Edge goes to the floor and sets for a Conchairto.

Jeff grabs a chair and BLASTS Edge with it. He wants the Swanton but HHH crotches him. That was a sick, sick chair shot and it was only with one hand. HHH grabs the Pedigree in the corner but Jeff dives off the top with the Swanton to HHH and covers Edge for the pin and his first world title. The roof blows off the place and with good reason. The LD exploded and I did too, since I slept through the original broadcast of this and the first thing I saw was Jeff diving onto HHH.

Rating: B. Solid match all around here but the point here was for the ending. That Swanton and the reaction from the crowd was excellent. The whole thing worked perfectly and the match was good. Not sure why they had Kozlov and Matt in there but it wasn’t a big issue. The right man won here and that’s all that matters.

The last five minutes of this are spent on a huge celebration by Jeff. Totally awesome moment for one simple reason: this has been a year in the making and Jeff felt like he finally earned it. This could have been in the main event of Wrestlemania but the shock of it was a great bonus perk. I’m not a Hardy fan but this is still awesome on every possible level.

Jeff’s celebrating on top of the set ends the show.

Overall Rating: A. I really liked this show. The whole thing worked incredibly well and there isn’t a bad match to be found. You get an historical moment in the title change at the end, another good match in cena vs. Jericho, a big match in Orton vs. Batista and hot women in Santa outfits. What more can you really ask for from a show? I had a really good time with this and it’s worth seeing.

Armageddon is now done, leaving us with Unforgiven, Great American Bash, No Mercy and Backlash. This was a surprisingly good series with some bad shows but when it was good, it was REALLY good. The final one is probably the best or maybe 2005. Either way some of them are worth seeing but on the other hand some aren’t worth seeing at all. Translation: it’s just like every other PPV series.

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