Prelude to the Chamber
AUSTIN, Texas -- Shawn Michaels often smiles when he sees Jeff Hardy; in many ways, the Intercontinental Champion reminds him of himself from years past. And HBK is the Superstar Hardy hopes to be someday.
But mutual respect aside, on Raw this Monday, these two will battle for momentum going into their Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out. Their four other opponents in the Elimination Chamber -- Umaga, JBL, Chris Jericho and Triple H -- will be watching their match closely as they prepare to battle for an opportunity to be in the main event at WrestleMania XXIV. No Way Out Preview ...
Jeff Hardy versus HBK is a dream match many of our fans have fantasized about, but only the most important of opportunities have allowed it to happen. Hardy and Michaels both want the same thing: A chance at the WWE Championship on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania.
"Last year, I main-evented WrestleMania and I came up short when it came to winning the WWE Championship," HBK said. "Yes, I've main-evented WrestleMania a few times before, but second-best is just not good enough for ol' HBK. As much as I respect Jeff, he's just going to have to get in the back of the line, like everyone else."
In Search of the Holy Grail
Easier said than done. Despite failing to win the WWE Title from Randy Orton at Royal Rumble, Hardy has been arguably hotter than any Superstar in WWE. Feeling the gold within his grasp -- and just barely falling short in realizing his dream -- has only further fueled Hardy's desire to win the WWE Championship. And he doesn't care who he has to defeat -- even if it's a legend he's admired for years -- to make it to WrestleMania and win sports-entertainment's Holy Grail.
"Shawn Michaels will always be The Showstopper -- he's been an inspiration to me and so many others," Hardy said. "But he's main-evented WrestleMania before. I have never been in the main event at WrestleMania. I have never won the WWE Championship. My quest for the title didn't end at Royal Rumble; it only began. And at No Way Out, I will take another step toward realizing my dream."
But first Jeff Hardy must face HBK on Raw Monday, and both will look to make a statement not just to each other, but to their No Way Out opponents … and our fans. When the smoke clears between Hardy and HBK, could we be looking at the future of No Way Out and the WWE Championship?