Hardy a thorn in Umaga's paw once again

Hardy a thorn in Umaga's paw once again

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After Jeff Hardy defeated Mr. Kennedy on a night where the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship was set to be named, many in the Arco Arena believed that the rainbow-haired daredevil would be the next in line to challenge John Cena.

Hardy, on the other hand, had another target in his sights. One night after falling victim to the Intercontinental Champion's Samoan Spike, Jeff Hardy crossed paths with the Samoan Bulldozer Umaga once again. This time, he came to the ring with a steel chair in hand.

Falling short of winning Intercontinental gold just 24 hours earlier, Jeff bashed Umaga with repeated chair blows during the Samoan Bulldozer's Champions Only Match. Hardy was relentless as Umaga retreated to the locker room, where they were separated by WWE officials.

The aggression demonstrated by the former World Tag Team and Intercontinental Champion shows that Hardy isn't giving up quite yet on regaining the gold he missed out on at The Great American Bash.

Sources in the locker room question Hardy's logic. Umaga had defeated him repeatedly in hotly-contested previous battles. Why was Jeff inviting another round of pain from the Samoan Bulldozer by interfering in the champions-only contest?

One source friendly with Jeff told WWE.com that the Carolina Superstar was incensed after losing Sunday at The Bash. But he also thinks Jeff could be in for a world of hurt.

"I don't know why [Jeff] keeps going after Umaga … there's no beating him if you're Jeff's size," the friend told WWE.com.

But then again, Hardy's no-fear attitude and aggressiveness in the face of insurmountable odds has paid off in the past, earning himself numerous championships. Hardy had the edge against the Samoan tonight, even though he had a steel chair as an equalizer. Can he do it again without steel in hand, with the title on the line?

Lost in this melee was the Women's Champion, Candice Michelle, who escaped a Umaga beating thanks to Hardy's attack. Was Candice's alluring show in front of the Hardys at The Great American Bash enough to entice Jeff to save beauty from the beast on Raw?

Or did he make the save to defy Acting General Manager Jonathan Coachman, who insisted that Candice compete in a match where she was both outnumbered and outweighed?  

Certainly Hardy knew the feeling of being oppressed by the General Manager's office. Jeff and his brother Matt lost their World Tag Team Titles a few months ago after being forced to compete less than 24 hours after a brutal ladder match at One Night Stand. And Jeff knows all about being outsized by an opponent, giving up almost 100 pounds to Umaga Sunday night.

If so, the move could have Hardy facing future repercussions from Coachman, who doesn't like his carefully constructed plans trifled with.

Whether the act was selfish or selfless is debatable. What's not in question: Jeff's renewed aggression has put him on the Samoan giant's radar screen once again.

As the summer gets hotter, the attack throws fuel on the already-burning rivalry between Hardy and Umaga -- the man who ended Jeff's reign as Intercontinental Champion earlier this year.  Are these two ready to explode once again, as they did at The Great American Bash?  We might find out in the weeks ahead.

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