20. Jeff Hardy (c) vs Edge (No DQ Match for the WWE Championship, Royal Rumble 2009)

In late 2008/early 2009, the WWE Championship swapped hands between the trio of HHH, Edge and Jeff Hardy. All three were at the top of their game, producing some very good/great bouts. But when I think of a singles match between Jeff and Edge, I think of their awesome Ladder match at Extreme Rules 2009 (for the WWE Championship). I’d forgotten about this No DQ match, because, well, it is rather forgettable…

Hardy was coming off his first WWE Championship victory at the previous PPV, Armageddon. In a Triple Threat match against Edge and HHH, Hardy pinned Edge to pick up the gold. Hardy had previously failed to defeat HHH for the title on two consecutive PPPVS, so if you were unsure who the better wrestler was, HHH put any doubt to rest!). And, rather than HHH having a rematch against Hardy for the title he lost without being pinned, Edge faced Jeff.

Both wrestlers put a lot of effort in, but things don’t click here. There are a few noticeable botches from Hardy (that comes with his wrestling style, but here it’s almost as if he’s trying too hard). Hardy almost falls off a ladder rather than jump off it (and it’s Chavo Guerrero, not Edge, he leaps on). Edge appears to be limping, something that isn’t mentioned on commentary or worked into the story of the match. Did he have an injury?

For a No DQ match, there’s little use of weapons/rule-breaking. I think that’s part of my disappointment with the bout. I expect wild things from Jeff Hardy in a No DQ match. it seems like this was made a No DQ match simply to have Jeff jump off a ladder and the twist ending to the match, involving interference. In fairness, the last five minutes are brilliant, full of counters and near-falls…but it’s too little, too late, and the the interference spoils it.

Given five more minutes, more use of the No DQ rules (or just make them have a straight singles bout instead), this could have been very good. The shock ending is a great twist, leading to a big bout at WrestleMania. But all I’ll remember from this bout is Hardy’s leap from the ladder, his counter of the Spear into a Twist of Fate, and the ending. Just watch their Ladder bout instead!

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

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