Written By: Alexander Settee
Armageddon 2008, December 14, 2008, HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY
Announcers: The teams of: Jim Ross & Tazz, Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler, and Todd Grisham & Matt Striker
Have I ever mentioned that I think there are too many PPV’s these days? It’s just not easy to get excited about shows with generic lineups on three weeks of build. Nothing comes across as special anymore regardless of what they try and tell me. The saving grace is that you do generally get some good in ring action, but I wish I could look forward to these shows like I used to. Anyways, let’s get to the action.
Opening Match: Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov
After being hyped as a title match, this is now non-title with the reasoning being that Kozlov has never had a match in ECW and is thus not in line for a title shot. I could go off on the continuity issues there, but no one’s listening at this point, so why bother? Matt keeps his distance at first and picks his shots, but soon gets caught and run to the corner. He gets Kozlov with a knee and tries a sunset flip, but Kozlov is right out of it. Kozlov goes for a slam, but Matt slips out and gets a rollup for 2 then goes to a side headlock. Kozlov shoves him off and hits a back suplex, and then sends Matt shoulder first to the post. He goes to a keylock with Matt trying but failing to escape. Finally Matt uses a jawjacker to get out but Kozlov comes right back with headbutts to the chest for 2 and then goes back to the hold. Matt fires back again, but gets hit with a DDT for 2 and once again put back in the hold. Matt now escapes to the apron and pulls Kozlov down on the ropes. Double axhandle from the top hits and he tosses Kozlov, but gets caught on a bodypress attempt from the apron. Kozlov goes to send him to the post, but Matt slips out and rams Kozlov a couple of times. Back in, Matt hits the Side Effect and gets 2. He goes to the 2nd rope, but gets hit with a clothesline coming down for a close 2 as he grabs the ropes to save himself. Kozlov drags him to the middle, but Matt gets a small package for 2. Kozlov misses a charge to the corner which allows Matt to get some shots in, but Kozlov just hoists him up and drops him on the post. Headbutt to the chest, followed by a choke slam finishes Matt off at 9:03. ½*
In the back we see Chavo questioning Vickie about her and Edge’s involvement in the attack on Jeff Hardy prior to Survivor Series, but she denies any part in it. Then she makes him fetch some coffee.
Finlay has a moment with his son and asks him to stay away from ringside tonight during his match with Mark Henry.
Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender Tournament Finals: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. CM Punk
Winner of this gets a shot at IC Champ William Regal at some point in the future, and in fact, Regal, along with his throne and Layla are at ringside to observe. Going in to this event, this match looked like it had good potential to steal the show. But first, we have some other business to get to. Lillian introduces Punk as one half of the World Tag Team Champions, but he’s got no belt with him. Why? Because he and Kingston lost them to Miz and John Morrison last night in Hamilton, Ontario, of which we see some still photos. A house show title change, how about that? A handshake kicks things off on a note of good sportsmanship followed by a chain wrestling sequence that also sees both guys get a couple of pinfall attempts. Early attempt at the GTS by Punk is countered to an armdrag by Rey, who then charges, but gets backdropped to the floor. Punk nails him with a dive and then rolls him back in for a 2 count. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets 2, and now Punk goes to a bodyscissors. Out of the hold, Rey ends up on the apron where he hits some shoulderblocks and goes up, but Punk crotches him. Rey is in the Tree of Woe, but he avoids a knee and gets back up top where he comes off of with a moonsault for 2. Rey gets sent off the ropes leading to a Punk powerslam for 2. Punk goes to an armbar, but Rey makes the ropes. Irish whip sees Rey slide under and come back with a flying headscissors. He goes to his own armbar, from which Punk makes the ropes. Springboard dropkick sends Punk to the floor, with Rey then going up and nailing a dive. Back in, springboard vertical press gets 2 as does a victory roll, which Punk then reverses for his own 2. They trade kicks, with Rey the charging, but getting dropped on the buckle. Punk nails a high knee, followed by a bulldog for 2. Rey slips out of a suplex attempt and rolls Punk up for 2. Punk hits a knee and charges, but misses and gets set up for the 619, which also misses. Punk for the GTS again, but Rey counters with a headscissors to the 619 position. This time it hits, but the springboard splash misses, although Rey still gets a rollup for 2. He then leaps on to Punk’s shoulders, but Punk hooks him and nails the GTS for the 3 count at 14:44. Rey is bloodied from the finish and it turns out his nose was broken by the move. Really good match. ***1/2
Jeff Hardy cuts a promo in the dark regarding his chances in the title match later on. Pretty good job there.
Next, we get JBL introducing his newest employee, Shawn Michaels. Shawn explains what he’s been through lately in order to justify his decision, but they made it clear he’s still supposed to be the babyface here. Also, they did a real 180 on JBL’s situation as just two months ago he was talking about the worst week of his life and how much money he’d lost in reference to the crash, but apparently now we find out he was doing just fine all along. Interesting story, but Shawn, try as he might to make it work, really isn’t the right guy to be doing it with.
Now we get a Randy Orton promo, although it’s Rhodes and Manu who do all the talking for him. And the Buffalo Bills are here, looking pretty happy considering how badly they fumbled that game against the Jets away only hours earlier. For the record, it has now been over twenty minutes since our last match ended.
Belfast Brawl: Mark Henry (w/ Tony Atlas) vs. Fit Finlay
Just a hardcore match with a fancy name here. Finlay hammers Henry, but gets dumped outside. Henry chases, but Finlay uses a drop toehold to send him to the stairs. Henry then reverses a shot to the post and Finlay takes it instead. Finlay gets tossed from the apron to the barrier and then starts to fire back. He stomps Henry form the apron, but Henry cuts the legs out and gets him back in. A splash by Henry misses, allowing Finlay to drop some knees. Now Finlay goes for the weapons, but all he finds are trash cans and kendo sticks. Atlas nails him with a lid, but Finlay just no sells it and boots him right in the face, but that gives Henry the opening to attack with his own lid. He chokes Finlay on the ropes and hits his to the floor rope straddle. Back in that gets a 1 count. Finlay gets a can and nails Henry with it. He then uses a kendo stick shot, a DDT, and another shot with the can for 2. Henry takes him back down with headbutts and steps on him. He tries a Banzai Drop, which misses, giving Finlay the chance to get the shillelagh, but Henry takes him down with a big boot and breaks it. Finlay tries the kendo stock again, but Henry breaks that too and goes to a bearhug. Hornswoggle defies the order he was given earlier and makes an appearance on the apron, but Henry just shoves Finlay into him. Henry squashes a can against Finlay in the corner and then nails him with it. He grabs the stairs and gets them in the ring, but Finlay dropkicks the knee to make him drop them. Hornswoggle is back again, and now he slides Finlay a new shillelagh. Finlay nails Henry with it and pins him for 3 at 9:39. This was an ok little brawl. *1/2
Stupid backstage segment time with the women decorating a tree and Charlie Haas making an appearance as Santa Claus. Santino and Beth come in now to brag about Beth’s Slammy. Santino then grabs a present which turns out to be the Boogeyman. Santino runs away and it leads to a sing along with the others. IRS of all people makes a cameo appearance.
Dave Batista vs. Randy Orton (w/Cody Rhodes & Manu)
The setup here is that they’ve been rivals since the Evolution days, and are out to prove who’s better. Orton starts with a side headlock, but they break on the ropes. They work off that for a bit, with Orton then getting fired off and hitting a shoulderblock. He then lures Batista in and sends him to the floor. Rhodes and Manu attack out there, but the ref sees it and ejects them from ringside. But the damage is done, so now Orton goes to work on the floor. Back in, Orton sends him to the post shoulder first and starts working over the arm with an armbar. Batista shoves him back to the corner to break and hits a couple of clotheslines. Powerslam sets up a Batista Bomb, but Orton slips out, hits a neckbreaker and drops a knee for 2. Back to a headlock, but Batista slams out and shoulders Orton in the corner. Batista puts his head down on an Irish whip and gets kicked, but when Orton charges he gets tossed out. Back in, Orton kicks him and nails a DDT for 2. He then uses a Garvin Stomp, drops a knee and hammers Batista to the floor. Once he gets back in, Orton covers for 2. Orton to a rear chinlock and he maintains control with a bodyscissors. Batista gets him on his back and back him to the corner to break. Batista then gets a side slam. Slugfest leads to a clothesline by Batista. Orton slips out of an attempted powerslam, but runs into another clothesline. Yet another one sends Orton to the floor where he gets rammed to the apron. Back in, Batista goes up, but Orton catches him and nails a superplex for 2. Irish whip is reversed with Batista getting him with a spinebuster for 2. They trade finisher attempts and avoidances with Batista then getting a sidewalk slam for 2. He goes for a spear, but gets kicked and hit with a neckbreaker for 2. Orton sets up the RKO again, but can’t hit it as Batista counters to a Rock Bottom for 2. Jawjacker by Orton leads to a DDT. He then sets up the Kick of Death, but Batista runs him to the corner. Orton tries to lift him out of the corner, but gets caught and nailed with the Batista Bomb for 3 at 16:41. Well, the Even Steven booking style they like to use called for that result after Orton won at Survivor Series so no real surprise here. Match was pretty good, but nowhere near a classic or anything. **1/2
Santa’s Little Helper Match: Maria, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, & Michelle McCool vs. Maryse, Victoria, Jillian Hall, & Natalya
“Santa’s Little Helper” means that they’re all dressed in Christmas themed outfits, helpfully colour coded by team with the faces in red and the heels in green. Remember when Vince gave that speech about not insulting the intelligence of the fans anymore by telling them who to cheer and boo? Oh wait, that happened more than two months ago, so I’m not supposed to remember. Maryse and Mickie start things off with Maryse getting a side headlock and Mickie armdragging out. They trade shots for a bit until Maryse tags Natalya. Mickie gets her with a Thesz Press and some punches and then tags Kelly who comes in with a sunset flip for 1. Natalya with a waistlock takedown, but Kelly escapes. Now to a wristlock, which Kelly also gets out of but she then ends up caught in the corner with a clothesline for 2. Tag to Jillian who uses a snapmare for 2, followed by a slam and cartwheel splash. Kelly makes it over and tags Maria. Jillian runs into an elbow and Maria gets a bulldog for 1 with Victoria making the save. Tazz cracks me up here by making reference to Maria’s “John Nord-like” boots. The match breaks down into an all out brawl (except for McCool) until Maria hits a headscissors on Jillian and comes off the ropes, but McCool steals the tag. McCool then uses a Styles Clash on Jillian and that gets 3 at 4:34. The slow heel turn by McCool continues as her teammates aren’t happy that she came in and took the fall for herself. ½* It always seems to be pretty fun when they get all six guys on commentary like they did here.
But they’re not done yet as it’s time for Great Khali’s Kiss Cam. The camera picks McCool, but she wants nothing to do with it and walks off. None of the other three really want it either but they at least stick around until Mae Young comes out and makes out with Khali for a bit. Nicest thing I can say here is that it wasn’t the dumbest thing on the show.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
This is the big rematch from Survivor Series where Cena returned from injury and defeated Jericho to win the belt in his first match back. Jericho goes to a side headlock, gets fired off and comes back with a shoulderblock. He starts hammering Cena’s neck right away, but Cena fires back. Jericho bails, but Cena chases and rams him to the stairs. In the ring, Jericho connects with kicks and headbutts. He whips Cena to the corner, but Cena comes out with a clothesline. Cena gets a corner whip, but his charge misses and Jericho goes to a sleeper. Cena drops back to try and break, but Jericho holds on. He backs Jericho to the corner, but still can’t break the hold. Finally he just picks Jericho up out of it for the FU, but Jericho counters to a DDT. Cena goes to the apron, so Jericho tries the springboard dropkick, but Cena actually catches him on his shoulders. From there Jericho slips out and shoves Cena off the apron to the stairs in a pretty cool spot. Back in that gets a 2 count after a nice touch where the ref makes Jericho pull Cena’s foot from under the ropes before he’ll count. Jericho chokes him on the ropes and sends Cena to the corner, but misses a charge. Cena gets a shoulderblock and an atomic slam, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. FU is tried, but Jericho again counters. He tries to roll Cena in to the Walls, but Cena counters that and ends up hitting a belly to belly suplex for 2. Cena charges, but runs into an elbow. Dropkick by Jericho gets 2 and he goes back to working on the neck. Cena comes back with a hiptoss and a clothesline, but he misses the Throwback which leads to Jericho hitting the Lionsault, but Cena kicks out at 2. He gets Cena on the top rope, but can’t get a superplex. Cena shoves him off and gets the legdrop for 2. He goes for the FU once more, but again Jericho gets out and this time hits the Codebreaker but that only gets 2 as well. Jericho argues the count with the ref, but that lets Cena catch him and nail the FU this time. Delayed cover lets Jericho recover enough to kick out at 2 though. Both guys are down. Cena gets up, but Jericho was goldbricking and gets a small package for 2. Ensiguiri misses giving Cena a chance to get the STFU, but he can’t hook it. Cena drags him back to the middle, but Jericho gets him in the Walls. Cena fights that for a bit, and then counters back to the STFU. Jericho taps out to end it at 12:43. Pretty good match, but not quite to the level of Survivor Series as well as being a bit on the short side and below main event standards in general. ***
Main Event, WWE Championship Match: Edge vs. Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy
Tonight’s text poll was about who the fans thought attacked Jeff prior to Survivor Series. Edge wins, which means it won’t be him, followed by Other, HHH and Kozlov. It may turn out to be our re-introduction to Christian, but other than the chance of that, I doubt they even know who it was yet. Jeff attacks Edge but is in turn attacked by HHH. Jeff gets sent off, but comes back with a forearm and gets in some shots on both guys. Jeff whips Edge to the corner, and then whips HHH into Edge. HHH goes down, so Jeff uses him to hit Poetry in Motion on Edge and covers for 2. He whips HHH to the corner and he goes over and out. Edge prevents a dive onto HHH, but charges and gets tossed out himself. Now Jeff goes to dive on both, but HHH moves and only Edge takes it. HHH hits Jeff with a clothesline and sends him to the barrier. This leaves Edge and HHH to go at it in the ring. HHH charges into a boot and Edge gets 2 off of it. Irish whip is reversed, with Edge ducking bet getting hit with a high knee on the rebound. HHH gets a neckbreaker, followed by a couple of clotheslines. Edge reverses a whip, but puts his head down and takes a facebuster. Jeff is back, but he takes a facebuster as well. HHH goes for the Pedigree on Edge, but Jeff breaks it up with a Whisper in the Wind. Jeff then gets a couple of clotheslines on Edge and a cradle for 2 with HHH making the save. Jeff gets crotched in the corner leading to a superplex attempt by Edge. HHH gets Edge on his shoulders to stop that, and Jeff comes off with another Whisper on Edge while he’s on the shoulders. That gets 2 for Jeff with HHH saving again. HHH now tries the Pedigree on Jeff, but Jeff counters and catapults him to the corner. He follows up with the seated dropkick, but Edge gets him from behind and slams him down for 2. Spear misses Jeff, but he does get HHH with it and Jeff then clotheslines Edge to the floor. He gets the Twist of Fate on HHH then goes up and nails the Swanton, but Edge is back to make the save at 2. Crowd bought that as a finish. Edge whips Jeff to the barrier and rams him to the table. Jeff then turns the tide and sends Edge to the barrier. He then preps the announce table for usage but gets attacked by HHH and rammed to the stairs. HHH preps a second table and gets Jeff on it. They trade attempts at a Pedigree and Twist of Fate, but Edge runs across and spears Jeff through the first table. HHH gets Edge in the ring and goes for the Pedigree, but Edge counters to a DDT. He sets up a appear, but runs into a spinebuster. Pedigree hits but only gets 1 as Vladimir Kozlov runs in to make the save. I guess his issue with HHH isn’t quite done yet. HHH gets whipped to the stairs, but now here comes Matt Hardy to attack Kozlov. They brawl to the back leaving Edge to get a spear on HHH for 2. He grabs a couple of chairs and goes for the Conchairto, but Jeff stops it and nails him with the chair. Jeff goes up, but gets crotched by HHH. Edge takes another Pedigree, but Jeff recovers quickly enough to come off on to Edge with a Swanton and knock HHH out of the ring. Jeff covers and gets the 3 count at 17:21 to win his first World Championship. Huge reaction for that and a really great moment for Jeff. I was advocating that they save it for Wrestlemania in order to maximize the impact because you only get to win your first title once and I definitely think there were better chances to put it on him than this, but regardless, good for him. How long will he last? Probably not that long, but at least he can say he got there. ***3/4
Well, I can say that this was a pretty good show. The women’s match was a women’s match and the only other real weak point was the opener, but neither was terrible or anything. Everything else was solid, if unspectacular, and while normally that would call for a thumbs in the middle, I’m going to let the great moment of Jeff Hardy’s surprise title win carry this thing over the top and call it a mild Thumbs Up for Armageddon 2008. Obviously if you’re a Jeff Hardy fan the show is a must see, but if you couldn’t care less about him then there’s no real reason to go out of your way to catch this one.