Stretcher Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy; Smackdown 4/10/09
First off, thanks to everyone who voted in my StrawPoll. This match won 4-3-3-3 in a tight race.
For some backstory, Jeff Hardy was the hottest star in WWE. His popularity rose, his merchandise was moving and he was rivaling John Cena as THE MAN. At least, it felt that way to me. He made it to the top of the WWE, but they couldn’t quite trust him, so his title run was cut short after a month when his brother turned on him. They met at WrestleMania XXV, five days before this, in an Extreme Rules Match that Matt won. Matt opened this episode by badmouthing Jeff and saying he wanted to erase (or DELETE) him from existence. Teddy Long, playa, came out and booked a Stretcher Match for them in case one got drafted to Raw the following week.
Todd Grisham decided he had to explain the rules of a Stretcher Match to fans. Simple enough, you get your opponent on the stretcher and drive it up the ramp past the finish line. Not the most creative stipulation, but it has produced some damn good matches (See: Batista/HBK at One Night Stand 2008).
This was a heated battle, as they came out of the blocks firing. Thank goodness, too. Too many matches start with typical grappling, even if it’s a bitter feud. Normally, I wouldn’t like Jeff going for the win early, since he should want to hurt his brother. However, in Matt’s promo to open the show, he kept called Jeff a disappointment and a loser, so I could see why he’d want to get the win and even the score more than putting a hurting on Matt. Ever the fun daredevil, Jeff did a cool spot where he skateboarded on the stretcher down the ramp and jumped off onto Matt. After a commercial, the violence continued with the use of steel chairs and stairs. Jeff missed a huge leg drop onto the stretcher, which played into their Mania match as Jeff lost because of a bad risk. Like an idiot, he tried it again, but with a Swanton, and missed. It cost him again, as Matt pushed him over the line to win at 14:04.
I’d say this was one of their better matches together. It was smartly worked, with Jeff wanting to win but still managing to be the right amount of violent. My main issue was Jeff going for the big spot twice in the end. Once makes you look like a daredevil who took a bad risk. Twice just makes you look dumb. I was also happy to see Matt win. Beating Jeff, who was such a big deal at this time, twice in five days was kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to a ton for Matt. [***½]