Off his Game?

Off his Game?

There's an old saying in cards that goes something like this: There are no friends at a poker table. If that adage is to be believed, it's a good thing that Triple H claims not to be good at the "friend thing," since the stakes in his Armageddon match with Jeff Hardy have been raised drastically. The winner of their match will earn a WWE Championship title match at Royal Rumble.

With so much on the line, though, why didn't Triple H simply cripple his weakened Armageddon opponent recently when he had the chance?

Two weeks ago, the tension in the North Charleston Arena thickened as Triple H peered down at his recent tag team partner and Armageddon opponent. The Game had just saved the Intercontinental Champion from a post-match beating from Snitsky, but a simmering rage in his eyes -- and the sledgehammer in his trembling right hand -- suggested that he did not have the best intentions.

Our fans gulped with each twitch of the sledgehammer. Earlier that night, Raw General Manager William Regal revealed the stakes of Triple H and Hardy's Armageddon Match -- and the 11-time World Champion's love of the WWE Championship is well-documented.

But then the sledgehammer fell still. Some fans sighed in relief as Triple H extended his hand and helped a wary Hardy to his feet. Still sneering, The King of Kings whispered in the Master of the Swanton Bomb's ear.

The Game's respect toward the "Rainbow-haired Warrior" begs the question: Has The Cerebral Assassin gone soft?

Perhaps sensing a spongy underbelly, Regal questioned The Game about whether or not he had enough hatred in his tank to run down his Armageddon opponent. Triple H admitted that he respected Hardy, but made it wholly clear that he'll be revving full-throttle against the high-flyer when the two face each other in Pittsburgh this Sunday.

"Maybe I don't hate Jeff Hardy," Triple H admitted to Regal. "But the thing is, if it comes to being WWE Champion again, I'd Pedigree my own mother, I'd Pedigree my own grandmother. Hell, I'd Pedigree my own father-in-law."

Triple H's words are a warning to Jeff Hardy that he will not be facing a tag team partner at Armageddon. And history has documented that The Game has not let friendships get in the way of his in-ring ambition. He and his former DX teammate Shawn Michaels are the best of friends. But their rivalry -- especially over the World Championship several years ago -- was legendary. Old friends such as Batista and Kevin Nash and even revered mentor Ric Flair felt The King of King's wrath during his pursuit of the gold.

So, when Triple H didn't hit Hardy with the sledgehammer, was he lulling him into a false sense of security? After all, he is known as The Cerebral Assassin. Jeff Hardy respects Triple H as a man of honor, but he is well-aware of his history.

"Triple H has made it very clear in the last few weeks that he's not good with friends," recalled Hardy. "And now I know that more than ever, and I'm not about to trust him."

Check out all the Hardys gear at WWEShop...

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