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August 28, 2009
– Adam Russell

A Farewell to Harm

Jeff Hardy has been called the most popular wrestler in the WWE today, and judging by the reactions he receives on a weekly basis, it is
hard to argue that point. It has also been rumoured for several months now that Jeff has become burnt out on the wrestling business,
and would soon be taking a prolonged leave of absence. This week’s Smackdown turned out to be his last televised appearance
and, this being Jeff Hardy, the man who helped introduce the world to the tables, ladders and chairs match, he made sure to go out with
a bang.

The broadcast opened with CM Punk, the new World Heavyweight Champion after beating Jeff at Summerslam last Sunday, making his
way to the ring, and being introduced as the only straight-edge world champion in history. Punk, still selling the effects of that
Summerslam match, told the crowd that he told us he would prove that he is the better man, and then, in case we were too intoxicated to
remember, he showed us a video of how he did it. He went on that he has never felt more alive, and that despite the TLC match being the
most brutal of his career, he hasn’t taken a thing for the pain. Punk then said that he was robbed of his moment at Summerslam by
the evil incarnate that is The Undertaker, and the video played of ‘Taker surprising Punk after the match. After all that, he went on, he
was being forced into defending his title tonight in a steel cage match against Hardy. With Punk continuing to talk down to the audience,
Jeff made his way out, and told Punk that his reign will be ending tonight. Punk asked Hardy what he took to get the guts to face him, and
then said that he is sick of seeing impressionable young people cheering for him. He said that one of them doesn’t belong in the
WWE anymore, and challenged Jeff to make their cage match a loser leaves the WWE match. Jeff agreed to the stipulation, and Teddy
Long came out to make it official (why would he be so keen to lose one of his main event competitors?), and to add the caveat that the
winner of the match would go on to defend the championship at Breaking Point against The Undertaker.

--- John Morrison and Matt Hardy Vs The Hart Dynasty (w/ Natalya)

Matt Hardy’s return to the babyface side continued next, as he teamed with Morrison against Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith. It was
Matt and Tyson to begin, with Matt reversing a waistlock into an armbar, and then hitting a short clothesline before tagging in Morrison.
The two then hit a legsweep/side Russian legsweep combination, which Morrison followed up with the breakdance legdrop for a two
count. Matt came back in, and the two continued to double team Kidd, hitting a double back elbow, and then a fistdrop/senton combo,
with Matt gaining another nearfall. Natalya climbed onto the apron, which caused a distraction, allowing the Harts to gain a foothold in the
match, Kidd hitting a dropkick and tagging in Smith. Smith used punches and kicks to wear down Matt, before clamping on a chinlock, but
Matt fought out, and reversed a neckbreaker attempt into a reverse DDT. Morrison got the hot tag and hotshotted Smith, following up with
a dropkick, clothesline, leg lariat and standing shooting star press, which brought Kidd in to break up a pinning attempt. This in turn
brought Matt back in, and he threw Kidd to the outside and knocked him down with a flying clothesline off the apron. Back in the ring,
Morrison went for the flying chuck kick, but Smith caught him and had him set for a running powerslam. Morrison wriggled free though,
and forced Smith into the corner, before flooring him with a bicycle kick, and then picking up the victory with Starship Pain. The match
lasted a disappointing 3’30, and really only highlighted Hardy and Morrison, with the Harts getting in hardly any offence. I’m sure
these two teams could do more with more time, and maybe they will get the chance in the coming weeks.

In the back, Melina and Maria were seen arguing, with Melina claiming that she saw Maria’s beau, Dolph Ziggler, with another
woman at Summerslam. Maria speculated that Melina could be jealous, after which Melina left. Dolph then arrived on the scene and,
when Maria challenged him with Melina’s claims, assured her that the girl he was with was his sister. He then told her that he only
has eyes for her.

--- Drew McIntyre Vs R-Truth

McIntyre was making his re-debut on Smackdown, after a short unsuccessful run a couple of years ago. Truth made his usual entrance,
rapping his way down the aisle but, as he entered the ring, McIntyre caught him with a kick to the face, and then beat down on him,
finishing with a double arm DDT. McIntyre then got on the mic and said that the party was over. The match never got underway, but this
was a strong way to introduce McIntyre.

Michelle McCool was out next, on crutches, and said that people paid good money to see her compete, but Melina’s attack on her
last week has made that impossible. She then introduced Melina’s opponent for the next match as Layla.

--- Melina Vs Layla

The two locked up with Melina taking Layla down. Layla came back with kicks, but Melina responded in kind. She then went up to the
second rope and hit what appeared to be a Thesz press, but sold an ankle injury as she landed. Layla attacked the leg with kicks, but
Melina hit the Drizzling Splits out of nowhere to pick up the win at 1’29. After the bout, Melina attacked Michelle on the outside,
pushing her backwards over a chair.

Following a video documenting the WWE’s stay in LA for the Summerslam weekend, it was straight back in action, with a match-up
that I hoped we’d never have to see again.

--- Rey Mysterio Vs Kane

Kane got a jump start on the match with a kick, punches and stomps, and then grounded Rey with a powerslam and an elbowdrop for a
one count. Rey tried to fight back by hitting Kane with a pair of boots as he ran at him in the corner, but Rey couldn’t follow up, running
into a big clothesline which earned Kane a two count. Kane picked up another nearfall after a side suplex, and then locked on a
waistlock, which Rey elbowed out of. Kane stayed on top of the Intercontinental Champion with stomps, and then a low dropkick for a
count of two, before Rey hit his first big offensive move of the match, a flying headscissors takedown. He followed that up with a
springboard seated senton and then a round-the-world reverse DDT, which earned him his first nearfall. Mysterio then went up to the top
rope, but his leap was met by a thrust to the throat, earning Kane a two. Kane sent Rey to the ropes, and caught his cross body block
attempt, then blocking his DDT attempt. Rey though connected with a low dropkick, sending Kane into 619 position. As Rey hit the ropes,
Kane caught him by the throat, but Mysterio countered the chokeslam into a hurricanrana, again putting the big man in the 619 position.
This time Kane rolled out of the ring, only to be hit with a baseball slide. Rey tried to follow up by leaping onto Kane, but Kane side
stepped him, and then hit a big boot. He then picked Rey up and drove him rib-first into the ring post and, ignoring the referee’s
warning, did it again to get himself disqualified, bringing the match to an end at 4’49. This was probably the best match Kane and
Rey have had, featuring fast-paced, but realistic action. It looked as though Kane was going to continue the assault, but the Great Khali
made his way out with Ranjin Singh, and Khali ended up beating Kane into the back with a kendo stick. Following that, Dolph Ziggler
came out and hit the Trid Yap on Mysterio, screaming that he would be the next Intercontinental Champion.

The unified tag team champions, Chris Jericho and the Big Show came out next, claiming to be the most powerful team in sports.
Jericho warned their next challengers, MVP and Mark Henry, that they would have no chance at Breaking Point, despite Floyd Mayweather
helping them cheat their way to victory on Raw.

--- Chris Jericho Vs Shad

Shad was accompanied by JTG for this match, and set right about dominating Jericho, powering him into the corner, and beating him
down with punches and kicks. He then hit a running elbow and a kneelift, before dropping his opponent with a gorilla slam. Jericho tried
to get into the match with a cross body block, but Shad caught him and slammed him to the mat, his pinning attempt being halted when
Show pulled his partner out of the ring. This caused JTG to launch himself onto Show, and a brawl broke out on the floor before Teddy
Long came out and made it a tag team match.

--- Chris Jericho and The Big Show Vs Cryme Tyme

We came back from the break to find the match in progress, and JTG slamming Jericho’s head into the corner. He followed up with a
backbreaker for a two count, but Jericho turned the tables by low-bridging his opponent to the outside. The Big Show tagged in and hit a
powerslam on JTG, followed by elbowdrops to his leg and then a leglock. Jericho tagged back in and applied a chinlock, which JTG
fought out of, and then sent Jericho into the ringpost. Shad took the hot tag and floored Jericho with clotheslines and a big boot, but Show
blindly tagged himself back in and, after Shad had hit a side suplex on Jericho, delivered a knockout punch to Shad and covered him for
the victory at 2’35.

We cut to Jeff and Matt Hardy in the back, with Matt wishing his younger brother good luck for his match. He said that he respects the fact
that Jeff is a gambler, and told him to win back the title so the Hardys can take over Smackdown. Jeff responded that the moment is now.

--- World Heavyweight Championship/Loser Leaves WWE Steel Cage Match- CM Punk (champion) Vs Jeff Hardy

As Jeff Hardy made his way to the ring, Punk staggered down behind him and attacked him, throwing and then slingshotting him into the
side of the cage, and then hitting a hiptoss and a suplex on the floor. The match finally got into the ring, and Punk immediately started to
climb the side of the cage. Hardy pulled him down, but Punk beat him down with punches, a snapmare and a kick to the back. Punk
again started to ascend the cage, but Jeff again pulled him down. Punk suplexed his challenger, and tried once more to climb out of the
cage. Jeff tried to slam the champion’s head into the cage, but Punk blocked and performed the same move on Hardy, this time
going for a cover and picking up a two count. Punk followed up with a legdrop, before Jeff tried to make a mark on the match with
punches, before missing a cross body block. Hardy finally got going by blocking Punk’s attempt to throw him into the side of the
cage, responding by sending Punk into the steel three times. He then hit an inverted atomic drop for a two count, and got another two by
hitting Whisper in the Wind, as we went to commercial at 3’39. We returned at 6’57 to find Hardy climbing the cage. Punk tried to
pull him down, but Hardy kicked him away and hit a high cross body block for another close nearfall. Jeff tried to head for the door, but
Punk held him back and tried to slingshot him into the wall, only for Hardy to hold onto the steel and attempt to make his way up the cage.
Punk climbed up alongside him, and the two exchanged punches on the top rope, with Punk falling, crotching himself on the ropes on
the way down. Jeff connected with a Swanton Bomb, but Punk managed to kick out at two, and then Punk headed up the cage as Jeff
headed for the door. Punk went after Jeff, but ate an inverted enziguri, and was then cross body blocked against the wall of the cage as
we hit our second break 10’37 in. we came back with 15’11 having passed, and with Jeff desperately trying to stop Punk from
escaping through the door. The two then exchanged punches, with Hardy winning the battle, before Punk reversed a Twist of Fate into a
Go To Sleep, which Hardy in turn countered into a backslide for a two count. Punk regained control with a double arm underhook
backbreaker, but then the GTS was again countered, this time with Jeff hitting a Twist of Fate. Both men were now down, but it was the
challenger who stirred first, making his way up the side of the cage. Punk followed him up, and Jeff was tantalisingly close to making it
over the top, before Punk hit a sensational superplex back into the ring. Both men again started to climb the cage in earnest, and another
exchange of punches commenced. This time Punk used a thumb to the eye to take control, and then slammed Jeff’s head into the
steel, sending him plummeting back into the ring. Punk then dropped to the outside to win the match at 20’50, and send his
opponent packing from the company.

What has been a great feud ended with a great match, the only downside being that it was disrupted by two commercial breaks. The
selling by both men was particularly strong, as they both carried with them the pain of a months-long struggle for supremacy. Punk left
ringside with his championship belt, and a big smile, leaving Jeff alone in the ring to address the fans. Jeff said that he was sorry if he let
anyone down, before telling the fans that it was not goodbye forever, and when the time is right, he’s sure he’d see them all
again. He then reminded everybody that there is still a Hardy left on the show. Jeff then made his way up the stage, saying his goodbyes,
and stopping on top of the ramp to take one last look at his fans. That is when Punk made his way back out behind him, and knocked
him down with the championship belt, the show ending with Punk standing over his fallen foe.

Who knows when, or if, Jeff will return, but he leaves now to heal his broken body and concentrate on other interests. Good luck to him.

MVP of the night- Jeff Hardy. Performed admirably in his last match with the company, and put Punk over like a million bucks.