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Did Matt Hardy shine in spotlight on Smackdown?

When speculating in the past about a potential Hardy Boyz feud, I wrote that the key to it working would largely hinge on whether Matt Hardy could cut a serious heel promo.

The moment of truth occurred last night on Smackdown. I wouldn't say that Hardy hit a home run with his performance on the microphone, but I think it was a solid double off the wall. It was certainly a lot better than his promo a few years ago after returning to WWE for an angle with Edge and Lita.

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Last night, Hardy explained why he attacked his brother Jeff at the Royal Rumble. The basic idea was that he was tired of being his brother's keeper and was jealous of Jeff's success and the fact that the fans cared more about Jeff than they did him. He blamed the fans for leaving him no choice but to do what he did, and he said that he no longer considered Jeff his brother. As to whether he was Jeff's stalker, Matt said that "no one could prove" that he was.

Matt was booed, but he didn't get anywhere near the mega-heat that Edge and Vickie Guerrero got later in the show. The fans genuinely like Matt, so it will take time for them to warm up to the idea of booing him. It's very similar to the initial reaction Chris Jericho got after turning heel.

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For the most part I thought the promo worked because Jeff really is the more successful and popular of the two. And Jeff has received a bigger push even though Matt has always been more responsible, dependable and dedicated. There is no real-life heat between the brothers, but deep down there probably is a part of Matt that is a little envious. When I asked Jeff in an interview last October if there is a friendly rivalry between them as far as their wrestling careers, he said: "I think with him more than me. I'm nowhere near as competitive as he is."

Matt's delivery on the mic has never been great, but it was good that he didn't try to overcompensate by yelling or overacting. To make the promo more dramatic, WWE showed photos of the Hardys as kids and in happier times as adults. That was a nice touch. The somber music playing in the background was probably unnecessary, though.

I think the promo would have been a little stronger if Matt had given some specific examples that demonstrated his jealousy. He could have mentioned how he did not get a confetti celebration when he won the ECW title like Jeff did when he won the WWE title, as well as the fact that he was put in the opening match on the past two pay-per-views, while his brother wrestled in main events.

Other thoughts on last night's show:

There was little doubt that Triple H would win the triple threat match over The Great Khali and Vladimir Kozlov to earn a spot in the elimination chamber match at the No Way Out pay-per-view. I'm not sure why Khali was even in this match. He's a comedy act now, not a serious world title contender. By the way, that sure was one horrible-looking Pedigree Khali took from Triple H. …

It's great that MVP is winning matches again, but I was expecting a bigger payoff after all those months of losing. Having him end the losing streak by defeating The Big Show (with an assist from Triple H) in a last man standing match a couple weeks ago was fine, but the follow-up has been lacking. MVP never should have been eliminated so early in the Royal Rumble match for one thing, and then last night after beating Chavo Guerrero, he cut a pretty ordinary promo about getting his mojo back and going after the U.S. title. That's it?

I thought his character would get more of a serious edge, perhaps even playing off his troubled past, but it looks like all we're getting is a generic babyface turn. Hopefully after WrestleMania, MVP will get the big push that he deserves. …

Speaking of someone who deserves a push, what's up with R-Truth? I'm not saying the guy should be headlining WrestleMania, but I think he's worthy of being in the main-event mix. Instead of putting all the usual suspects in the elimination chamber match, why not give R-Truth an opportunity to get a rub like Kofi Kingston is getting on Raw? …

I'm still not sure where the Edge/Big Show story line is headed. Is Big Show turning again? If so, he's Smackdown's version of Kane. …

I have nothing against Umaga, but I think it was a bit overstated when Jim Ross said that he was making his "long-awaited return." …

Since a recap of the Mickey Rourke-Chris Jericho angle was shown, I assume that means Rourke is still expected to be "in attendance" at WrestleMania.

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