They aired a Royal Rumble commercial with all of the WWE stars battling on a subway car. The big finish was Michael Buffer trying to do his "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" line but Shawn Michaels superkicked him.
Todd Grisham interviewed WWE champion Randy Orton. Orton said Chris Jericho was a virus and he would wipe Jericho out tonight. He said the only thing Jericho should save us from was his empty promises. Orton said that the WWE champion doesn't have to be the most entertaining and promised he would be the one leaving with the belt. Orton said that since Jericho likes code, he has one for Jericho - Orton 18. He said that between John Cena, Triple H and Shawn Michaels, they had 18 World championships between them, and that's 18 that have fallen to the RKO. He told Jericho, "Don't save us, spare us" and said all of Jericho's hype won't spare Jericho when he gets into the ring with the best the industry has ever seen. Good promo.
Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H for a WWE championship match at the 2008 Royal Rumble
They shook hands at the bell and locked up. Triple H shoulderblocked Hardy down to the mat. Hardy got clotheslined down. Hardy armdragged HHH over several times. Hardy went for a baseball slide outside, but HHH moved. They battled outside of the ring on the floor. HHH went to slam Hardy's head into the barrier but Hardy ducked and nailed HHH. Hardy went to do the railing run but slipped. HHH saved it with a clothesline on the floor.
Back in the ring, HHH went for a back suplex but Hardy landed on his feet. He went to throw a punch but hesitated, so HHH slapped him. HHH yelled at Hardy to fight him. Hardy charged him and they locked up. HHH tossed Hardy into the corner. Hardy avoided him and nailed a series of kicks. He whipped HHH, who reversed it. Hardy slid underneath and nailed a low legdrop between the legs and a dropkick to the face. He slapped HHH.
HHH smiled, then kicked Hardy in the gut. He tossed Hardy to the floor, then followed. He whipped Hardy into the ring steps on the floor, then drilled him into the ring apron back-first outside the ring. HHH dropped an elbow on Hardy, then whipped him into the corner. Hardy started to mount a comeback but when he went to the top, HHH shoved him to the floor with hardy landing throat-first on the barrier, like Brian Pillman in WCW.
They teased a countout but Hardy got back into the ring at nine. As Hardy made his way through the ropes, HHH nailed him with a kneedrop to the back off the corner. Hardy continued to fight off HHH, who avoided Hardy's reverse kick. HHH locked on an abdominal stretch and began grabbing the ropes for additional leverage. Hardy broke free but HHH rebounded off the ropes with another clothesline.
HHH locked on a sleeper but Hardy charged the corner and HHH ate turnbuckle. Hardy nailed a dropkick. HHH whipped him into the ropes but Hardy lariated him. HHH and Hardy slugged it out in the center of the ring. HHH missed a clothesline but Hardy hit a flying clothesline rebounding off the ropes. Hardy peppered him with punches in the corner. HHH fell to the mat but Hardy missed a dropkick.
Hardy clotheslined HHH to the floor then dropkicked him down on the floor. He tossed HHH back into the ring. He went to the top rope and hit a flying bodypress for a two count. Hardy hit a twisting corkscrew moonsault press for another near fall. Hardy went for the Twist of Fate but HHH nailed a DDT for a two count.
Hardy went for a crucifix but HHH fell backwards. Hardy then tried to counter it with a pinfall attempt and got a two. HHH went overly aggressive, beating Hardy in the corner. The announcers said that HHH realized he was only a second away from being beat. Hardy kicked a reverse mule kick, and dropkicked HHH in the chest. Hardy nailed the swanton but HHH kicked up at the last second.
HHH cut off Hardy and teased the Pedigree. HHH grabbed Hardy as he escaped and nailed the spinebuster. HHH pulled him up for the Pedigree but Hardy reversed it into a forward roll for the clean pinfall.
Your winner, WWE Intercontinental champion Jeff Hardy, who now has earned a title match at the Royal Rumble.
Hardy jumped into the crowd to celebrate as HHH looked on. The match was good with the story being that HHH was the better wrestler because he kept Hardy from building any long-term offense. They teased that Hardy could have stolen a win and HHH got even more aggressive at that point. Hardy stealing the win at the end seemed to make the ringside fans happy but I didn't think it came off like a huge momentous moment for Hardy. If this was designed to make it "his moment" to get him to a new level, Pittsburgh wasn't the town to do it in. Still, another good match.
Great Khali bellowed something backstage. Runjin Singh said that Finlay would learn the consequences of his actions after stopping Khali from destroying Hornswoggle at Survivor Series. Runjin said that Finlay loves to fight but Khali loves to destroy. He said that Hornswoggle and Khali will lay at the feet of Khali tonight, decimated.
Great Khali (with Runjin Singh) vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle)
Hornswoggle came to the ring with Finlay. If Finlay can pull an entertaining match out here, he's truly double the awesome worker we already know he is. Finlay got right into Khali's face, but was shoved into the corner and kicked. He chopped Finlay in the chest, then nailed him in the head.
Finlay was tossed to the floor. Khali followed. He slammed Finlay's face into the apron. Finlay escaped and nailed several kicks to Khali while he was on the apron. Khali still nailed him with a chop to the chest. They returned to the ring, where Khali used his Vulcan nerve pinch of doom. Finlay escaped but was hit with a big boot.
Khali went right back to the nerve pinch. That went on forever it seemed. Finlay finally gets the ropes to break the hold. Khali used the vice grip while Finlay was in the ropes, so the referee called for the break. Hornswoggle who was on the apron was grabbed by Khali and tossed aside.
Khali chopped Finlay, then pressed and slammed him. Khali began removing one of the top turnbuckle pads. The referee caught him. Finlay grabbed the shillelagh to crack Khali but was caught for a chokeslam. Hornswoggle hit the ring with a second and nailed Khali with a low blow. Finlay scored the pin.
Your winner, Finlay!
Not a good match from an in-ring standpoint but they probably did as much as you could expect and this was far better than you would have believed going into it.
WWE champion Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho
It's kind of telling this is in the middle of the card. They tied up in the middle of the ring but neither got any advantage. Orton backed Jericho up into the corner and nailed several punches. Jericho escaped and caught him with an armdrag into an armbar.
Jericho picked up Orton for a suplex and dropped him across the ropes. When Orton landed in the ring, Jericho kicked him. He nailed another in the gut, then went right back to the armbar. He went after Orton's exposed ribs with a number of elbows as well. He nailed Orton with a spin kick. Orton went to the floor. Jericho dove off the top to the floor.
Orton caught Jericho returning to the ring and teased hitting the DDT while hanging Jericho off the ropes but Jericho escaped and went for the Wall of Jericho. Orton finally got the better of the exchange and drilled Jericho with a DDT. He stalked Jericho with several kicked and then locked on a side chinlock. Jericho fought to his feet but was caught with a big dropkick as he rebounded off the ropes. Orton got a two count after the dropkick.
Orton went right back into a sleeper combination, grapevining his legs around Jericho's torso. Orton whipped Jericho into the corner. Jericho went to avoid the charge but the two "cracked heads" and both collapsed to the mat. The referee began counting each down on the mat but each returned to their feet at the eight count.
Jericho got the better of their exchange once they got back to their feet including a forearm off the ropes. Jericho clotheslined Orton for a two count. He nailed an uppercut on Orton (Dory Funk would be proud) and nailed a dropkick off the ropes. Orton got his shoulder up right before the three count. Orton drilled Jericho with a powerslam for a two count.
Orton tossed Jericho into the ringpost shoulder-first. He went for the RKO but Jericho attempted a backslide, getting a two count. Orton tossed Jericho back into the ringpost again. Orton nailed Jericho with a superplex, but only gained a two count as Jericho got his shoulder up.
Orton missed a dropkick, but was caught by Jericho, who went for the Walls of Jericho. Orton was nailed with an enziguiri and then hit with a bulldog takedown. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Orton got his knees up. Orton went for the RKO but Jericho shoved him off and hit a Lionsault for a near fall. The Arena thought it was the finish.
They battled in the corner with Orton elbowing Jericho off the apron into the ring barrier. Orton stalked him but was slammed into the ring post. Orton tossed Jericho into the Smackdown announce table. Jericho landed on JBL, then shoved him aside as he went back after Orton. He tossed Orton into the ring and nailed a shot to the back of the head off the top.
Jericho waited for Orton to get to his feet and called for the Codebreaker, but Orton caught him and slammed him powerbomb style into the turnbuckles. Orton went for his trademark kick to the head, but Jericho avoided it and locked on the Wall of Jericho. Orton dragged himself to the ropes but Jericho pulled him to the center of the ring. JBL hit the ring and kicked Jericho in the face, causing a disqualification.
Your winner, by DQ, Chris Jericho!
As he left the ring, JBL said, "You think you can put your hands on me, son?" He went to the back. Even Orton looked shocked and confused by what happened. Orton drilled Jericho with the RKO.
The match itself was good until the finish, which the live crowd absolutely hated. I guess we are looking at a JBL-Jericho program.