Even the tenacious spirit of the ECW Champion was not enough to overcome the brutality of the Moscow Mauler. After heroically battling back from the Russian’s punishing aggression, Hardy had the misfortune of hitting his head on the unforgiving steel pole behind the top turnbuckle. He was then easy prey for Kozlov’s vicious headbutt to the chest, followed by a devastating chokeslam-spinebuster combination and the win.
Prior to the match, ECW commentator Matt Striker informed the WWE Universe of ECW General Manager Theodore Long’s decision that because Kozlov had never competed in an ECW ring, the match would be a non-title bout.
The firestorm between the two Superstars was first ignited when Hardy cost Kozlov his second chance at the WWE Championship during a Beat the Clock Challenge on SmackDown – simultaneously helping to give his brother Jeff the championship opportunity he missed out on at Survivor Series. The irate Russian Superstar fueled the fire of his discontent the following Friday night, attacking Hardy during his match with Chavo Guerrero. He then stomped boldly into the Land of the Extreme to challenge the ECW Champion to a match at Armageddon. Although Hardy had every motivation to attempt to extinguish the Moscow Mauler’s inferno, Kozlov’s vengeful fury proved too powerful in the end.
His explosive victory over Hardy reaffirmed Kozlov’s championship caliber. Wherever he aims his unchecked aggression next, it is sure to hit the squared circle with the force of a Russian bear.