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5 December championship trials that took WWE fans by surprise

Lorcan Byrne
Modified 14 Dec 2020

2) Jeff Hardy — WWE Armageddon, December 2008 (1.5 months)

Jeff Hardy’s WWE Championship win in 2008 capped a strong year of booking for WWE. Hardy’s 2008 run on WWE SmackDown was particularly eye-catching, even in a banner year for the company. A key moment in Hardy’s ascent came when the charismatic enigma brazenly interrupted The Undertaker in the middle of a promo.

As "The Phenom" delivered a chilling address, Hardy appeared on the video screen, wearing gothic face paint. There was a real darkness to Hardy’s delivery in his promo. Hardy, still very much a babyface, exuded confidence and conviction, and he secured a clean victory over Undertaker later that night. In doing so, he proved that he was a legitimate main-eventer. 

Propelled forward by this landmark victory, Hardy’s lengthy WWE Championship chase led to the main event of WWE Armageddon 2008. There, he faced Triple H and Edge for the title. The three-way bout opened the door for "The Game" to lose the title without being pinned, and that's exactly what happened.

Jeff Hardy at WWE Armageddon 2008
Jeff Hardy at WWE Armageddon 2008

The shock of Hardy’s victory was amplified by the excellent camera work which kept him out of the shot as Triple hit the pedigree on Edge. With Hardy seemingly strewn across the top turnbuckle, the champion delivered his signature move and made the cover for what looked like a sure-fire victory. But a dramatic Swanton Bomb — out of nowhere — broke up the pin.

Hardy's unexpected three count victory reverberated around the arena, and Hardy was a made man as WWE's Champion for just under two months.

Published 14 Dec 2020, 03:57 IST
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