Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the series that you thought was more dead in the water than Wardlow in AEW! I am back, wrestling will always be one of my loves in this life but I have to take breaks every now and then so I do not get burnt out on it, I had covered The Golden Era and I had covered WCW from the NWA days to the NWO days but now after three years, I am back to WWE in the midst of the PG Era! It’s WWE Armageddon 2008! Headlined by Chris Jericho trying to regain his World Heavyweight Championship that was taken from by the returning John Cena and for Smackdown we have the triple threat match between Jeff Hardy, Edge and Triple H! What a night it will be as we also have an ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match between Matt Hardy and Vladimir Kozlov, we also have big matches between CM Punk & Rey Mysterio as well as JBL vs Shawn Michaels. Stacked card to end the year, what will happen here?
Matt Hardy vs Vladimir Kozlov
Kozlov is undefeated and wanted another crack at the WWE Champion Triple H but Kozlov was unable to beat Matt Hardy to qualify for the triple threat, this is a non-title match so not looking good for Matt Hardy. The match starts out with Hardy ducking and dodging The Moscow Mauler but Kozlov lands a massive belly to back suplex and the tide turns dramatically, Kozlov slaps on a hammerlock and tortures the champion. Clubbing blows to the ribs, Hardy uses his foot to escape the hold before Kozlove stretches Hardy some more. Hardy uses a jaw-breaker to escape the hold, right hands by Hardy but a headbutt to the chest stops Hardy in his tracks. A trifecta of headbutts takes down Hardy, back to the arm from Kozlov. Hardy is back on his feet, clubbing Kozlov but a single arm DDT takes down Hardy.
Two for Kozlov, Kozlov uses forearms and goes back to the arm. Crowd is big into Matt Hardy, Kozlov transitions to a kimura but Hardy makes it to the ropes. Hardy rolls to the apron, Hardy smacks the ropes into Kozlov’s face. Shoulder thrusts to the ribs, top rope elbow to the neck by Hardy. Kozlov is tossed to the floor, Hardy tries a diving crossbody but Kozlov catches him, Kozlov is reversed and sent into the ring-post, Hardy has an opening. One-arm side effect by Hardy but Kozlov kicks out! Hardy steps on the arm of Kozlov, Twist of Fate is countered by Kozlov.
Hardy kicks away Kozlov, Hardy tries a middle rope elbow but Kozlov clotheslines Hardy, 1…2.. Hardy reaches the ropes. Small package for two from Hardy, side headlock is countered by Kozlov. Kozlov runs sternum-first into the buckle, ten punches in the corner by Hardy but Kozlov flapjacks Hardy into the ring-post. Headbutt by Kozlov, Kozlov nails his Spine-buster like Rock Bottom for the win!
Kozlov is an experiment and very rough around the edges, the Triple H match exposed the poor giant horribly but Matt Hardy is more willing than Triple H, Matt also seems to have a good following in this city so the fans react to each bump and each attempt from Hardy to get the crowd on his side. Not a good luck for the ECW Champion but Hardy was only ever going to get so far in the company, Kozlov is back on track but how kind will the future be to Kozlov? No idea!
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov over Matt Hardy via Spine-Buster!
CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio
Beaten for a championship he never lost, CM Punk looks to recover from also losing his WWE World Tag Team Championship by recapturing the Intercontinental Championship. However, Punk must go through Rey Mysterio who is no push-over and always one move away from upsetting a favourite. This should be a great match, both men playing babyfaces though so will Punk lean into that heel side of his personality?
Punk and Mysterio feel one another out, both men trade roll-ups. Punk takes down Mysterio and locks up the legs, Punk has a front chancery. Mysterio counters with a hammerlock, some fan seems to be screaming about Miz & Morrison which is wild when you see who we have in the ring but I digress. Shoulder blocks by Punk for one, Mysterio trips up Punk for a couple of covers of his own. Punk lands a boot to the ribs, Mysterio reverses an Irish whip and lands a drop toehold but Punk dodges a 619 for two hip-tosses, Mysterio counters a GTS with an arm-drag. Punk elevates Mysterio to the floor, plancha from Punk that squishes Mysterio. Punk has a body-scissors in the ring, Punk transitions to a cover for two. Punk softens up Mysterio’s leg, big kick but Mysterio lands a shoulder thrust from the apron, Mysterio is up high but Punk stops the moonsault and Mysterio is in the tree of woe. Punk lands a massive kick but misses a knee, Mysterio crushes Punk with the moonsault for two.
Mysterio kicks the leg of Punk, Punk lands a beautiful powerslam for two. Fujiwara arm-bar from Punk, Mysterio reaches the ropes and applies his own Fujiwara arm-bar after a tilt-a-whirl. Mysterio is on the apron, shoulder thrust to the arm, Mysterio dropkicks Punk to the floor. Diving crossbody to the floor by Mysterio, springboard seated senton and springboard crossbody by Mysterio for a close two. Victory roll for two which Punk reverses for a close two, fans chant Regal sucks as Punk and Mysterio continue working. Punk flapjacks Mysterio into the buckle, high knee and running bulldog for two.
Regal looks excited by all this wrestling, he continues to whisper with Layla who is holding the championship excellently. Punk looks for a suplex, Mysterio almost steals it with a great roll-up. Spinning sole butt by Punk, Mysterio trips Punk. 619 misses, GTS is countered with a hurricanrana. 619 connects! Punk is down, springboard splash misses as Punk sits up at the last second. Punk is bleeding, Mysterio almost steals it with a crucifix cover. Mysterio hits an elbow, Mysterio wanted another hurricanrana but Punk reverses for a GTS and it's goodnight for Mysterio!
Good match between these two, Mysterio and Punk look like they gave one another receipts as both men are bleeding but regardless of that, they had a great back and forth here with both men trading holds and submissions, the crowd doesn’t really give it a lot of respect early on which is surprising considering it’s Mysterio of all people. However, once we hit that home-stretch the crowd is all in on those near-falls and fans are white-hot for the 619 and GTS at the end of it all, Punk vs Regal should be a fun one because they will beat the piss out of one another, Punk continues to grow his status within the WWE Company!
Winner: CM Punk over Rey Mysterio via GTS!
(Belfast Brawl Match) Mark Henry W/ Tony Atlas vs Finlay W/ Hornswoggle
Henry is destroying everyone in ECW, Finlay is a reluctant babyface with his comedy sidekick Hornswoggle, Finlay starts with kicks and punches before Henry drops Finlay across the top rope, Finlay is selling that leg already. Finlay drop toeholds Henry into the announce table, more clubbing blows. Henry sends Finlay into the ring-post and ring-apron. The barricade too, Finlay fights back with more clubbing blows. Henry sweeps the leg of Finlay who falls to the ground, Finlay dodges a splash and lands a dropkick and knees to the face. Finlay looks for weapons and has two kendo sticks and a trash can, Finlay intimidates Tony Atlas, Atlas is uninterested as nobody is walking around barefoot in the arena. Atlas lands a trash can shot to Finlay but Finlay kicks him away like he is nothing. In the ring, Henry smashes Finlay in the face with a trash can. Henry steps on Finlay’s face and head, brutal stuff from Henry. Henry charges up and drops all his weight across the back of Finlay. Great camera work here as we have a close-up on Henry’s face, Finlay fights back and waffles Henry with a kendo stick.
DDT by Finlay, Finlay grabs a trash can and kicks it into the face of Henry. Henry answers back with headbutts, kick to the corner. Henry steps on Finlay in the corner, Henry misses a banzai drop. Finlay goes for the shillelagh, Henry boots Finlay and breaks the shillelagh in half. Finlay tries a kendo stick shot, same result as Henry smashes it in half.
Bearhug from Henry, Finlay screams out in pain but Hornswoggle is here. Henry sends Finlay into Hornswoggle, Tony Atlas tries finding the little mischievous devil. Atlas gives up, Henry crushes Finlay with a trash can, Finlay is waffled across the back time and time again. Henry is on the floor, Henry wants the steel steps. Finlay dropkicks the knees of Henry, Hornswoggle gives Finlay the shillelagh and one shot later, Henry has been slain by The Belfast Brawler.
A fun hardcore match, Finlay is not afraid to dish it out and get hit so these two rough bastards beat the shite out of one another, each blow gaining an audible reaction from the crowd. The crowd saying oh and ah with each weapon shot and Finlay putting over from the get-go how devastating Henry is as the first spot establishes that Finlay is in serious trouble here and the crowd pops huge for little Hornswoggle who plays into the finish and the finish is one that leaves all of us happy, good work from a match that had no right being any good.
Winner: Finlay over Mark Henry via Shillelagh!
Randy Orton vs Batista
Two men with a lot of history, they fought alongside one another in Evolution, they were like brothers, Orton was the first to break away from Triple H and Batista would follow in his footsteps but then both men would be on opposite brands, they would not cross paths until Batista would be drafted to RAW. Orton would initially be injured so the two would have to wait to do battle but now we have a one on one match between the two, Orton has his Legacy buddies here with Cody Rhodes and Manu being here at ringside.
The two lock-up, Batista has Orton in the corner. Clean break from Batista, side headlock from Orton. Another clean break from Batista off a lock-up, side headlock again from The Viper. Drop toehold into a front chancery from Orton, clean break from Orton. Both men feeling one another out, this feels like a big match and it should. Shoulder block by Batista, Orton is scrambling to the ropes. Batista is tossed to the floor, Manu clubs Batista in the back. Orton has the referee distracted but Rhodes and Manu mess things up and get caught. Orton punishes Batista with kicks to the ribs, Orton tries to rip the arm of Batista out of the socket and applies a big hammerlock.
Batista shoves off Orton, massive clothesline from Batista. Massive powerslam by Batista who calls for a big move, Orton is in trouble. Orton slips out and counters with a neck-breaker, Batista is in a bad way. Knee to the head for two, Batista lands a massive scoop slam and shoulder thrusts in the corner. Batista ducks his head off an Irish whip, Batista side-steps Orton who falls to the floor. Orton grabs his shoulder, Orton is thrown back in the ring. Batista tries re-entering the ring but Batista eats a kick to the head, rope-hung DDT by Orton for a close two. Orton goes for the Garvin stomp on Batista, Orton’s facials are great in this match. Seems to have tapped into something here, Orton lands a massive stomp to the head. Orton lands a shot to the throat, measured shots to the head. Batista is on the floor, Batista kicks out at two before Orton applies a reverse chinlock!
Batista tries fighting out but Orton locks in the choke-hold tight with legs wrapped around the ribs, Batista eventually escapes with a sidewalk slam. They trade fists with Batista winning the slug-fest, Irish whip to the buckle. Corner clothesline again, powerslam is slipped out of but the clothesline does not miss. Clothesline to the floor, Orton is down in front of the announce table. Batista is on the top rope, Orton stops that attack. Orton wants a superplex, beautiful move from Orton. Two count for Orton, Orton is caught off an Irish whip, Spine-buster by Batista for a close two. Batista Bomb is the plan, Orton escapes but RKO is countered. Spinning side-walk slam for two, Batista measures for a Spear. Orton kicks Batista in the head, Orton’s inverted back-breaker for two.
Orton pounds the mat, it’s time for The RKO. Batista counters for a uranage slam, 1…2.. Orton kicks out! Jaw-breaker and DDT from Orton, Batista is in trouble now. Orton is measuring for something, Batista is struggling to his feet. Batista is on his knees, Orton wants The Punt. Batista counters and has Orton in the corner, ten punches from Batista. Orton wants a flapjack but Batista holds onto the ropes and gets into Batista Bomb position and plants Orton into oblivion for the win.
The most puzzling thing about this for me is what are they thinking to do with Batista? Batista has beaten John Cena and Randy Orton in the space of about 4 months but there is no world championship reign coming for Batista, it’s gone so how does The Animal continue from this point? Regardless, I thought this was a little slow in parts, the finishing stretch is fun with the counters here and there but I wanted something more. This didn’t hit like the Cena vs Batista match but maybe the chemistry was just off and Orton’s slow methodical approach just isn’t what I wanted when it came to this huge star vs star clash. The backstory was more interesting than the match itself and very rarely do we have a situation where the heels are sent away that early in a match and never return for some sort of shenanigans at the end.
Winner: Batista over Randy Orton via Batista Bomb!
(Santa’s Little Helper 8 -Woman Tag Match) Mickie James/Maria/Kelly Kelly/Michelle McCool vs Maryse/Natalya/Victoria/Jillian
Maryse and Mickie start out, big forearms and chops by both. Maryse goes into the ropes, dodging Mickie. Maryse does her pose and annoys Mickie, in comes Natalya who has words with Mickie. Shove and slap by Natalya, Lou Thesz Press from Mickie. In comes Kelly Kelly with a slingshot sunset flip, Kelly Kelly lands a big clothesline before Natalya slaps on a belly to back throw. Natalya wrenches the arm, Kelly flips through and lands an elbow and a dropkick. Natalya lands a massive kick, to the corner we go with Natalya teeing off on Kelly. Victoria attacks illegally before Kelly knocks her down, Nattie by Nature clothesline for two. Jillian comes in and hair-tosses Kelly, two for Jillian.
Kelly makes the tag to Maria, elbows between the two ladies. Jillian whips Maria to the corner, Maria kicks away Jillian and lands a bulldog. In comes Victoria, the match breaks down with Michelle McCool doing nothing. Head-scissors by Maria, Michelle tags herself into the match. Faith-Breaker and it’s over!
Well poor Victoria never got into the ring, that’s sad but there is a story to this match, I am shocked with Michelle showing heelish tendencies by stealing the pin from Maria, could this be the rise of Michelle to the top of the card. Khali comes out and has to kiss Mae Young, that was funny.
Winners: Team Mickie over Team Maryse via Faith-Breaker!
(WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match) John Cena © vs Chris Jericho
John Cena made his triumphant return and captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Y2J. Y2J was in the midst of a career-defining run and Cena’s return would mark the end of that run for Jericho and sadly, the duo didn’t seem to have the best chemistry when they had their match at Survivor Series. We could chalk it up to ring-rust so now we have this match a month later, can Jericho & Cena have a great match here as Jericho gets his rematch? We shall see!
The bell rings and we have an aggressive lock-up, both men are heated. Side headlock by Jericho, shoulder block by Jericho. Cena gets caught with boots and kicks, Jericho targets the neck. Massive kick to the ribs, Cena comes back with a spear and hammering blows. Jericho takes a walk, Cena is not letting that happen. Jericho meets the steel steps, Cena tries re-entering the ring but Jericho is ready. Kicks to the ribs, headbutt and elbows to the face. Cena is whipped to the buckle but explodes out with a massive clothesline, Jericho is in the corner but dodges the splash. Jericho goes for the sleeper, Cena falls back on Jericho but Jericho holds onto the hold. Jericho is backed into the corner and holds on, Cena is beginning to fade. Cena collapses to the mat, Cena counters into FU position but Jericho counters with a beautiful DDT. Cena wisely rolls to the apron, Jericho wants a crossbody on the apron but Cena catches Jericho. Jericho wriggles free and smashes Cena’s face off of the steel steps, both men are down on the floor.
Cobra clutch style submission from Jericho, Cena is powering up once more but Jericho uses strikes to keep Cena dazed. Jericho whips Cena to the buckle, corner spear misses for Jericho. Jericho smashes his shoulder before Cena comes back with two shoulder blocks and a belly to back suplex. Five-Knuckle-Shuffle connects, Cena wants the FU. Jericho wriggles free into the Walls of Jericho, Cena reverses the hold. Belly to belly suplex by Cena for two, Jericho rakes the eyes and lands a middle rope dropkick for two. Jericho clubs the neck and lands knees to the head, hip-toss by Cena. Clothesline by Cena, throwback is countered for a Lionsault for two. Corner clothesline and forearms by Jericho, Jericho wants a superplex.
We are going to the top rope, Cena is battling hard to block it. Jericho is suplexed to the canvas and Cena lands a top rope leg drop for two. Cena calls for the finish, Cena is measuring Y2J. Elbows from Jericho seem to have no-effect, Jericho counters and lands a massive Codebreaker! 1…2…. Cena kicks out! Jericho runs into a massive FU from Cena, Cena cannot capitalize right away so Jericho manages to kick out. Credit to Big John for protecting his finish, small package by Jericho for two. Enzuigiri misses for Jericho, Cena wants the STFU but Jericho is fighting like a mad man to avoid it. Small package hold by Jericho into The Walls of Jericho! Cena reverses the hold and applies a brutally tight STFU for the win.
So I liked the beginning of this match, Jericho went right after the neck. Every attack, every move had that goal of hurting Cena’s neck but the drama never goes into overdrive. Never felt like Cena was really hurt or could be in danger of losing here, the finisher reversal sequences were fun as Jericho always finds fun ways to get into The Walls and the near-fall for the Codebreaker was really good too but mostly the crowd was carrying this match for me. Felt it should have been better from these two, looking forward to seeing where both men go heading into Wrestlemania season.
Winner: John Cena over Chris Jericho via STFU!
(WWE Championship Match) Edge © vs Triple H vs Jeff Hardy
Edge was sent to hell by The Undertaker to end their feud with Triple H controlling the WWE Championship and making Smackdown his show. However, at Survivor Series Jeff Hardy would be taken out of the picture and Edge would make his glorious return by taking out Triple H for the WWE Championship. Jeff Hardy has been climbing the ranks in WWE, reaching a level of popularity that few thought was possible for the extreme daredevil but now here we stand at Armageddon 2008, Triple H and Edge two huge WWE stars being dwarfed by the reaction for The Charismatic Enigma.
All three men want to destroy one another, all three men have their issues. Jeff Hardy goes after Edge, Triple is knocked by Hardy. Forearms all around by Hardy, Edge & Triple H are in the corner. Hardy whips them into one another, crossbody from Hardy. Poetry in Motion on Edge for two, Triple H is whipped to the floor. Edge stops a plancha by dragging Hardy to the mat, Edge wanted a spear but is thrown to the floor. Hardy flattens Edge with a plancha, Triple H lands a clothesline. Edge and Triple H do battle in the ring, Edge takes control with a big boot, Triple H answers back with high knee.
Neck-breaker by HHH, Edge rolls to the corner. Corner clothesline, make it two. Face-buster by HHH, HHH wanted the pedigree but Hardy stops that attempt. Irish whip by Hardy, HHH counters with a face-buster. Edge gets caught for another pedigree attempt but Hardy answers with a beautiful Whisper In The Wind. Neck-breakers by Hardy on Edge before Triple H breaks up a pin attempt, Edge whips Hardy to the corner. Edge stops the whisper in the wind, tower of doom spot coming I believe?
Triple H has Edge in electric chair position, super Whisper in The Wind for two. Hardy and Triple H are up now, Hardy avoids a pedigree and lands his sling-shot dropkick. Edge O Matic on Hardy for two, Edge wants the spear. Triple H is speared in the corner, Hardy clotheslines Edge to the floor. Twist of Fate on Triple H, Hardy climbs to the top rope. Swanton Bomb, Hardy covers Triple H but Edge pulls out Hardy. Edge whips Hardy into the barricade, Hardy & Edge are battling by the announce table. Edge meets the barricade, Triple H clotheslines Hardy down from behind. Edge is thrown into the ECW announcers, Striker leaves the action. Triple Ha has Hardy on the announce table, it could be Pedigree time! Hardy counters but Triple H moves out of the way, Edge runs the length of two tables and Spears Hardy through the announce table.
Triple H looks on, Edge is begging for mercy. Triple H wants a pedigree but Edge lands The Edgecution! Both men are down in the middle of the ring, Hardy is not moving after being put through the table. Edge’s spear is countered as Triple H drills Edge with a spine-buster. Pedigree! Kozlov is here and sends Triple H into the steel steps, Matt Hardy is here and brawling with Kozlov. Hardy is up, Kozlov shoves Jeff Hardy to the floor preventing the Swanton. Kozlov and Matt Hardy brawl their way to the back, Edge is in cuckoo land in the ring. Triple H is crawling his way into the ring, Spear from Edge! 1…2.. Triple H kicks out! Edge is shocked, Edge cannot believe this so Edge rolls to the floor and thinks chair.
Edge has the chair, conchairto is on his mind. Hardy grabs the chair out of the hands of Edge and wallops Edge with the chair to the head. Hardy was going for a Swanton, Triple H crotches Hardy on the top rope. Edge is loopy, Triple H lands a Pedigree but Hardy is up, Swanton Bomb across the back of Triple H and crushes Edge. Swanton Bomb connects! Jeff Hardy is your WWE Champion!
What a moment, this was unthinkable at the time. Yes Jeff Hardy was popular but nobody thought the company would put everything behind Jeff Hardy but by God, they did it and what a beautiful moment for Jeff Hardy. Triple Threats can be hit and miss, most of my favourites involve a big man destroying people before being taken out but this one had a lot of emotional stakes and the crowd were on fire for Jeff. Had no memory of Kozlov getting involved in this one, I don’t think they would be foolish enough to have Kozlov vs Triple H as the Rumble so I am not sure why they would have included him but it gets a reaction from the crowd and Matt Hardy too getting a big reaction from the fans. Interestingly, JR and Tazz are silent for Hardy after he wins the championship, preferring the man of the people to have his moment. A moment that outshines anything they could have done in the ring.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via Swanton Bomb!
That was WWE’s Armageddon 2008, a solid show that should have been bigger with the stacked card it had but let’s break this one down shall we? Matt Hardy vs Kozlov has no right to been anywhere near solid, Kozlov is awkward and rough and is in his “I am a monster and I don’t sell but when I have to sell, I can’t sell for shit because nobody has really taught me how” phase so it should be a horrid match but the fans just love Matt Hardy, they are into the ECW Champion and want Hardy to somehow topple the monster and Matt goes out there and puts that son of a bitch over, every shot looks like death for Matt and the crowd go for it and they care by the end so kudos to Matt on this night, a watchable Kozlov match is no easy task.
Punk vs Mysterio suffers from babyface vs babyface with no clear intention of making Punk the bad guy, Punk never leans into being the bully or knocking down Mysterio so they trade holds which I enjoy and go shot for shot but it can never reach that next level because Punk has to maintain his babyface status. Finishing stretch is fun with counters and the fans losing their minds at Mysterio like they should but this is definitely held back as both men are babyfaces which is a shame considering how good they would be together in the near-future.
Mark Henry vs Fit Finlay is another match that completely over-achieves like the first match. The toys and trinkets help with the smokes and mirrors but Finlay puts everything over, the squash in the corner with the trash can is a fantastic spot. They work hard and it all pays off when Hornswoggle re-emerges with that shillelagh after Henry had thought he had broken the only one and the crowd is very happy when the giant is cracked in the head and Finlay emerges victorious.
The card slips for me a little here as we have Batista vs Randy Orton, this should be huge, two titans of RAW, two titans of this era who have been kept apart from one another and it just never leaves second gear. Maybe it is a little lost on me as I have had the image of Batista as this unstoppable monster of bad-assery tainted by his numerous lost opportunities when it came to capturing the world championship or maybe Orton’s body language couldn’t make up for the slow methodical style of his wrestling but this should have been a big deal and it just did not click for me, I wouldn’t want to see this at Mania. The Divas match is filler, nothing of note there at all.
Cena vs Jericho had good psychology in the beginning but never felt Cena was in danger, Jericho’s attacks to the neck never really got that huge heat from the fans, the fans made it feel like a forgone conclusion that Cena would wipe the floor with Jericho and Jericho was only holding the championship until Cena came back and that’s a shame because Jericho was doing some of his best work prior to this feud but then again, Jericho was working with HBK and maybe that’s just life as very few could ever hold a candle to HBK. Big Match John this was not, Cena goes over comfortably and without the last few seconds of finisher reversals, I think this was flat.
The main event, finisher kick-outs and reversals are really stepping into overdrive now in the company, clear to see here as there were multiple spear, pedigree and swanton bomb teases throughout the match. Not the most cohesive triple threat match I have ever seen, it was good in parts. The spear through the table was very cool and the interference definitely gave it a bit of life but the finish is the shock of a lifetime and the fans love it. Definitely an easy PPV to sit through and cover, glad I came back to this series as it has been far too long since I watched wrestling but I am back and I will try to cover more as the year comes to a close. Thank you if you ever read one of these silly little recaps of me watching wrestling and remember: there’s always another night!