Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy def. Johnny Nitro (Steel Cage Match)

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January 07, 2007

After several months of the Intercontinental Championship changing hands between current champion Jeff Hardy and Johnny Nitro, it took the confines of a steel cage at New Year's Revolution to perhaps forever close the door on the two Superstars' fierce rivalry. In fact, after a high-impact, seesaw battle, it took the cage door itself for Hardy to persevere over Nitro once again and retain his championship.

Both the three-time Intercontinental Champion and the former two-time title holder (whose reign ended both times by Hardy's hand) entered the 15-foot-high enclosure knowing they could win the match one of three ways: by pinfall, submission, or being the first to escape the cage. That meant either exiting through the front door or climbing over the top and having both feet touch the floor. Neither Hardy nor Nitro are strangers to living (and sometimes dying) in the high-risk zone, so it should come as no surprise that both Superstars tried gaining the advantage by resorting to top-rope dropkicks or sunset flips-turned-powerbombs off the top of the cage. Such high-impact maneuvers kept the Kemper Arena crowd standing on its feet from the onset of the match, with an overwhelming majority chanting Hardy's name in support.

Nitro's biggest advocate, the primal screamer Melina, also made her presence felt several times throughout the contest, especially when she used her metal-studded belt to whack Hardy's hands and keep him from climbing up top. The vicious assault allowed Nitro—who had been left hanging upside-down 15 feet in the air—to recover and almost climb out of the cage. Hardy proved just as resilient, however, forcing Nitro back in, then nearly grabbing the pinfall after a Swanton Bomb that practically shook the Kemper Arena. Nitro's foot on the bottom rope stopped the referee's three-count, while his instincts enabled him to block an attempted Twist of Fate off the top rope moments later.

Nitro climbed up to the top of the cage once more, and this time he made it over. From the outside, Melina again inserted herself into the match, blocking the front door to prevent Jeff from exiting the cage. But as the referee outside moved the Diva away, Hardy dropkicked the door open just as Nitro began dropping down to the floor. Racking himself on top of the open door, there was no disguising the agony felt by the A-lister—not only from having the worst seat in the house, but watching Hardy, less than a few feet below, crawl outside the door and touch the floor, giving him a truly unbelievable win.

An elated Hardy told WWE.com backstage how pleased he was with the outcome. "I've lost track of how many Steel Cage Matches I've been in," he said, "but any match like this is my comfort zone, so I was calm going in. I always know in my mind that there's a possibility of losing my title, but then I go in full throttle, to the max, and hope for the best."

Inside the locker room, Melina tried consoling Nitro, who was still clearly in a great deal of pain. But the A-lister had only one thought on his mind: "Call Joey," he told the Diva, referring to his MNM partner Joey Mercury. "The Hardys are gonna pay."

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