Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy (Orton retains WWE Championship)

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January 27, 2008

NEW YORK -- Before their title match tonight at Royal Rumble, some critics believed that fate -- especially a Twist of Fate -- was on Jeff Hardy's side and working against WWE Champion Randy Orton. After all, Orton's personal head games, which had arguably defeated other opponents before they even stepped into the ring, had not worked on the Intercontinental Champion, who had left him facedown and even sent him to the emergency room in recent weeks. Attacking Jeff's brother Matt only fanned the fires of his desire to be WWE Champion.

However, tonight, Orton put a damper on Jeff Hardy's fiery run at the title. But the "Rainbow-haired Warrior" had nothing to be ashamed of. As our fans in New York City's sold-out Madison Square Garden chanted, "Hardy! Hardy!" he looked around and bowed and then waved. Drenched in sweat and out of breath, Hardy could barely pull himself up. Jeff didn't leave the Garden with sports-entertainment's most coveted prize, but he may have Swanton Bombed himself into a spot as a persistent challenger for the WWE Title.

The personal issues between the two Superstars -- and Jeff's apparent willingness to do anything to snare the WWE Championship from Orton -- made tonight's match one of the most anticipated in recent memory. Fans in attendance at the Garden were still buzzing about Hardy's 30-foot Swanton Bomb onto Orton that sent them both to the hospital and gave Raw a "Holy S@#t!" moment. Hardy made a statement that night: He was serious about taking Orton out and snaring the WWE Championship, even if he had to be carried out on a gurney with the gold resting on his lap.

What better place for another "Holy S@#t" moment than the Mecca of sports-entertainment, Madison Square Garden? Our fans expected a war between Hardy and Orton, and they got one. Jeff's trademark "devil-may-care" style was on display, but he tore into the third-generation Superstar with a fury that made even his longtime observers gasp.

But there's a reason the Legend Killer is known as a viper. Like so many times before, Orton struck a fatal blow just when he was cornered and appeared on the verge of defeat. Hardy found out that Orton's RKO can be just as sudden as a Twist of Fate -- and it led to his demise.

While Orton slithered out of the ring and held his WWE Championship aloft, New York's faithful booed, called him names that we can't repeat here and gave a salute -- the middle-fingered kind. Like it or not, the Legend Killer is continuing to build his "one-man dynasty."

However, Orton may not have seen the last of Jeff Hardy. Tonight wasn't Jeff's night, but he may have other nights ahead. Someday, the WWE Championship may still be Jeff Hardy's destiny.

Check out Orton's Oblivion t-shirt at WWEShop...

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