December 30, 2008
Scott Criscuolo

Friday Night Smackdown!
December 19, 2008
Baltimore, Maryland
Jim Ross and Tazz

We get a video recap of Armageddon, and the moment fans have been waiting years for…Jeff Hardy is the WWE Champion. We then go live to a painted Jeff Hardy popping up behind his WWE Title belt and smiling.

OPENING ANIMATION

We skip the pyro and Justin Roberts immediately announces the new WWE Champion, Jeff Hardy. He comes out to a ridiculous pop from the Baltimore crowd. Confetti is dropping from the rafters as Jeff goes to all the corners with his shiny new belt. I wonder if they’ll make a funky belt for him, with snazzy colors and stuff. They made that hood ornament for Cena after all. Jeff takes the mike and goes WOW. He says he’s heard the crowd scream for a decade, and he’s sorry for taking so long but it finally happened. Jeff says the thought of ever being the WWE Champion put all reality in danger. Jeff says this title doesn’t represent him, it represents all the rejects and screw ups, and he is the WWE Champion. Jeff says for those who knows him knows he’s crazy so he tells all those in the audience and those at home to stand up, scream and go crazy. Suddenly the FORMER WWE Champion Edge comes out with no music screaming into the mike, saying this is all heartwarming but really nothing has changed. Edge says Jeff got lucky at Armageddon. He says one good day out of 365 doesn’t make a champion. He says it takes a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Edge says representing the WWE is not about fate or destiny. He says it’s about sacrifice. Edge says fate is what spoiled kids say when things don’t go their way, and destiny is just a cop out. Edge says Jeff knows all about that. Edge says he was the WWE Champion for one reason only, and that was hard work, period. Jeff says he’s got a word for Edge…LIAR…LIAR..LIAR…and the crowd joins him. Edge says that’s clever, but he had nothing to do with the attack on Jeff before Survivor Series. Edge says he’s better than Jeff, so he doesn’t need backstage attacks. Edge says for the past decade he has been through everything and still outperformed Jeff. Edge says Jeff wanted to get everyone’s attention. He did, but Edge says tonight GM Vickie Guerrero has made two matches for tonight. Tonight it will be Jeff’s big brother Matt Hardy, the ECW Champion against yours truly. Edge says Jeff wanted change, all this change. Well tonight, Edge says there will be change. Edge says tonight Jeff Hardy the WWE Champion will face the undefeated Vladimir Kozlov. Edge says to Jeff no matter what, he will always be the screw-up. Jeff says if he’s done, and in the next breath drops Edge with the Twist of Fate. Great opening segment for Jeff, Edge and the fans.

MVP & United States Champion Shelton Benjamin vs. Hurricane Helms & R-Truth

JR announces that next week on Smackdown Hurricane Helms will get a US Title shot against Shelton after beating him last week. MVP starts with R-Truth and Truth almost with a roll-up. Truth with some hip tosses and a body slam for 1. Truth works the arm and tags Helms, who drives an elbow from the second rope on the arm followed by some leg drops on the arm for 2. MVP gets some shots in to take control and a face drop. MVP goes into the ropes and Shelton with a blind tag. He hits some knee lifts on Helms but misses a clothesline and Helms with a hip toss. Tag to Truth and he hits a power slam for 2. Truth off the ropes and Shelton catches him with a Samoan drop. Shelton with some stomps and punches on Truth, then a snap mare into the turnbuckle. Shelton with a rear chinlock. Truth fights out with elbows and a punch. Shelton with a blind tag and he eats turnbuckle, then Truth with a big DDT. Both men are down, and MVP is yelling for a tag. Helms is tagged, and he cracks Shelton with some elbows. Helms to the top rope with a high cross body for 2. MVP breaks the count and Truth tosses him out of the ring. Shelton tosses Truth out of the ring, then he and Helms are caught in a backslide. MVP gets in the ring to kick Helms but he ducks and MVP nails Shelton. Truth hits MVP with a corkscrew elbow, then Helms hits a move that looks like an Unprettier on Shelton and gets the 3 count. WINNER: R-Truth & Hurricane Helms (Grade: 2)

-Backstage Vickie and Chavo are backstage and Vickie says her coffee is not hot. Chavo tastes and she violently knocks the cup out of his hand and screams that she wants it hot! He leaves and Edge comes in furious about this Jeff Hardy situation. Edge can’t calm down and Vickie says it needs to be step-by-step. Soon Edge will get Jeff Hardy, but tonight he will work on big brother.

Festus vs. WWE Tag Team Champion John Morrison

I’m glad they don’t restrict Miz & Morrison to any one show because they rule anywhere. We get shots from the Toronto house show when Morrison & Miz beat CM Punk & Kofi Kingston to win the Tag straps. Miz tries to steal the bell and Jesse tackles him. Jesse has the bell and it hasn’t rung yet. It finally rings and Morrison tries some punches but Festus goes off. Festus with a bodyslam but he misses a splash. Morrison ducks a clothesline but eats a right hand. Morrison grabs Festus’ neck and snaps him over the top rope. He gets some knees and punches in for 2. Morrison with a full nelson but Festus breaks it. Morrison in the ropes and Festus with a shoulder block and some right hands. Morrison goes for a cross body but Festus catches him and hits a fallaway slam. Miz goes to the apron and gets crushed. Miz then throws Jesse into the ring post and bell accidentally rings, so Festus stops cold. Morrison stares, hits the Moonlight Drive and gets the win. Morrison then surfs on the comatosed Festus. WINNER: John Morrison (Grade: 1.5)

-We have a new DX Christmas bit, recapping all the stuff they’ve pimped this month. We get a wide shot of Baltimore, then Eve Torres is with ECW Champion Matt Hardy. Matt says as long as he can remember, he’s heard his brother’s critics about never winning the big one. He says Edge is all about telling Jeff its luck. Tonight it won’t be luck when he defeats Edge in the middle of the ring.

ECW Champion Matt Hardy vs. Edge

Always a good match here. They lock up and Matt’s pushed into the corner, so Edge goes for a shot and Matt ducks, frustrating the Rated-R superstar. They lock up again and Edge with a waistlock. Matt breaks it and cinches and arm bar. Edge rolls out and goes for some type of headlock but Matt with a hammer lock that’s broken when Edge hits the ropes and Edge rolls out. He gets back in and they lock up again. In the corner and Matt with some right hands but Edge gets to the ropes. They lock up yet again and Edge gets hip tossed, and Matt with the hammerlock. Edge breaks it and shoulder blocks Matt down. Off the ropes and Matt throws Edge over the ropes, but Edge’s boot catches the top rope and Matt nicely pitches him out. Edge is beside himself as we go to break. We return and Matt is whipped into the ropes but Edge misses the charge and Matt with a hip toss into the armbar. Edge pushes Matt off and gets a low knee. Edge throws Matt out of the ring. Matt tries to get in but Edge baseball slides him back to the floor. Edge comes out and throws Matt into the steel steps. He gets back into the ring as Matt regroups. He gets back in the ring and stomps on Matt. Edge with an armbar and he snaps it off the ropes. JR just said that Edge has won 24 championships in 10 years. Wow. Edge continues to work Matt’s arm over in the corner, then ties him into the ropes and snaps his head to the canvas for 2. Edge goes back to the armbar. Matt tries to get out of it with a Side Effect but Edge snaps the arm down. Edge lets go and starts stomping. Matt fights back with a boot and some punches but Edge catches him with an armdrag and goes back to the arm. Matt fights back with punches but Edge won’t let go. Very slow-paced cerebral match. Matt with some rib shots and Edge lets go. Matt catches an Edge boot and hits a reverse suplex. Matt with a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Matt goes to the top rope but Edge catches him and crotches him on the top. Edge climbs up but Edge gets him off the top and hits a nice moonsault for 2. Edge with a low shot but misses the clothesline, then Matt counters with a Twist of Fate attempt but Edge with a powerbomb for 2. Matt’s down and Edge goes to the second turnbuckle but Matt catches him with the Side Effect for 2 as Edge’s foot hits the ropes. Matt goes to the second rope and goes for maybe a clothesline but Edge catches him and goes for a roll-up with tights but Matt rolls over and he gets a 2 count. Double clothesline and both men are down. Both men are up and Matt with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle, then tries a Twist of Fate, but Edge throws him into the ring post. Matt is out of it and Edge spears him for the 3 count. Pretty good match. WINNER: Edge (Grade: 3)

WWE Tag Team Champion Carlito vs. Ezekiel Jackson

At least Zeke ditched the white tights and went to red. Carlito with some punches but to no avail. Zeke throws him off and shoulder blocks him in the corner. Zeke with low knee lifts but Carlito with a boot. Zeke returns the boot and whips Carlito into the corner but Carlito somersaults out but walks into another shoulder block. Zeke with some boots, a bodyslam then into a bear hug. Carlito’s trying to punch out of it and Zeke finally lets go. Carlito smacks Zeke in the face and Zeke clotheslines him. Carlito is pitched out of the ring and Kendrick tries to mess with him but Carlito throws him off and Primo runs over and crushes Kendrick to the ground. Carlito off the ropes with a high cross body for 2, then goes for a springboard but Zeke with a clubbing blow to the back. Zeke hits his modified “Rock Bottom” and Carlito is done in 3 seconds. WINNER: Ezekiel Jackson (Grade: 2)

#1 contenders match: Maria vs. Maryse

Divas Champion Michelle McCool is at ringside, as the winner of this match gets a title match. This is a no-brainer, but we still have to watch this mess. JR seems like he could care less about. At least it will be short. Maria smacks Maryse in the face and some catfight action. Both hit the floor on a double clothesline but Maryse gets in first and pulls Maria back in. Maria’s dumped face first to the canvas for 2. More hair pulling and face slamming, but Maryse does pull off a nice backbreaker for 2. More face slamming to the canvas by Maryse, then a chinlock. The crowd is dead for this and I don’t blame them. Maria’s thrown to the floor and Maryse with a chinlock. Maria gets up and slams her in the corner. Maryse misses a charge and Maria with multiple clotheslines but Maryse with a low gut shot. Maryse goes for a corner splash but Maria gets out of the way, then Maria goes to the second rope and tries for something but misses it. Maryse hits a DDT and surprisingly gets the 3 count. This makes no sense, unless Michelle McCool is staying a face? Regardless, why do they give this French Canadian hooker title shots? WINNER: Maryse (Grade: 0)

-Maryse walks up to Michelle sitting in a chair and starts talking. Michelle gets up and they go face to face. This is doing nothing and the segment should just end. Unless Maryse kisses her, which she doesn’t. Maryse points at the belt and Michelle slaps her. Whoopie.

-Backstage and a frustrated MVP is slamming his stuff down in frustration. Mr. Kennedy sits right next to him and tells him that times are tough and he feels for him. Kennedy says MVP should smile and keep his chin up. He says things could get better by January, then MVP cuts him off and starts giving him crap about pimping the Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia DVD, which Kennedy says he wasn’t going to, but thanks for the plug. He does his outro in MVP’s ear. Actually a pretty good segment.

-We go to break with a promo for Edge’s “A Decade of Decadence” DVD, which looks pretty awesome.

We go to the Raw Rebound, brought to you by WWE Mobile. We recap the situation between John Cena, Batista and Randy Orton’s Legacy, including Orton’s kick to Batista’s head.

-Eve Torres is with The Great Khali, as they recap that absolutely retarded moment at Armageddon when Mae Young came out, a gimmick that should have ended 5 years ago. Runjin Singh tells Eve that Young’s kiss sent tingles up and down Khali’s spine, and that Khali has found his true soul mate in Mae Young. Oh Christ, we’re re-using the Mark Henry gimmick from 2000? Is Mae going to finally give birth to the other friggin hand?

Vladimir Kozlov vs. WWE Champion Jeff Hardy

I never thought I would type that title next to Jeff Hardy’s name. Kozlov has a cut under his left eye. They lock up and Kozlov goes for an armbar but Jeff kicks him in the face. Kozlov with a waistlock takes Jeff down. Jeff gets up and hits reverse elbows to break the hold. Kozlov misses a boot and Jeff with right hands but Kozlov with a clothesline and elbow drop. Kozlov with forearm shots and he’s pitched out of the ring. Kozlov goes after Jeff but Jeff gets back in the ring and baseball slides Kozlov to the floor as we go to break. We return and Jeff is down as Kozlov throws him into the ring post. We see during the commercial Kozlov drilled Jeff with a boot. Kozlov slams Jeff’s knee to the canvas for 2. Kozlov cinches a hammerlock. Jeff gets to his feet and hits a couple of forearms to break the hold, but he goes off the ropes and gets crushed by a Kozlov powerslam for 2. Kozlov continues to work the arm over. While the arm is cinched Kozlov hits Jeff with knees to the head. Jeff tries to punch out of it but Kozlov grabs the arms, hits the Al Snow head butts, and cranks the belly-to-belly suplex for 2. Jeff’s thrown into the corner and Kozlov with shoulder blocks, but Kozlov misses a blind charge and Jeff hits Whisper in the Wind, then another one. Suddenly Edge runs in to attack Jeff to force the DQ. Edge and Kozlov start working Jeff over with punches and kicks, but then we get a backstage shot and a very pissed off Triple H is walking down the hallway. Edge sees him, but grabs a chair and is about to crush Jeff with it, but now its TIME TO PLAY THE GAME. Triple H gets it and instantly Pedigrees Edge, then goes after Kozlov with punches. Kozlov bails but Triple H goes after him and throws Kozlov into the steps. He pitches Kozlov back into the ring and gets the sledgehammer. Triple H chases Kozlov off, then Jeff Hardy goes to the top rope and Swantons over a prone Edge as the crowd goes crazy and we’re out. WINNER: Jeff Hardy by disqualification (Grade: 2)

DRAMA’S TAKE: Nice opening segment to give Jeff Hardy a moment in the sun, and Edge some of his heat back as a wet blanket asshole. The tag match was decent paint by numbers and a good set up for next week’s US Title match. Festus/Morrison was nothing, and I think the whole “Pavlov’s dog” thing is getting a little old. They should have Festus lose some matches then mysteriously it doesn’t work anymore. He’s getting stale similar to Eugene getting stale in late-2004. I am going to miss those DX Christmas bits as they are quite funny. Great match between Edge and Matt Hardy as they always work well together. Kudos for looking through the past and working together. Ezekiel Jackson with a nice win but he still has yet to really have that big man presence. More singles matches will help that. The divas situation is a mess again, as Maryse is AGAIN the #1 contender. So Maria isn’t feuding with Michelle McCool, and McCool is staying a face? I’m so lost. I enjoy Kennedy’s and MVP’s interaction, as I hope that leads to a feud. The main event match was really nothing more than a chance to get Edge to run in and Triple H to go after Kozlov. Nice finish to the show and an effective way to get Triple H into the show and prepare for 2009 and the Royal Rumble card. We’re still a couple of weeks away from that but for now we start to set things up for January. FINAL GRADE: B

MVP: John Morrison
Runner Up: Jeff Hardy/Edge
Non MVP: Matt Hardy
Runner Up: Maria

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