BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- With Royal Rumble looming a week from Sunday, Undertaker kicked off SmackDown by grabbing the ring mic and issuing a grim warning: "In nine days, I will step into the ring at Royal Rumble. If you stand before me, you will fall before me. If you enter that ring, you will rest in peace!"
After Undertaker's rare appearance on the mic, Matt Striker and Big Daddy V - who will also compete in the Rumble Match - came down the ramp to have their say in the matter. While the quarter-ton ECW mastodon sneered at Undertaker, Striker - still recovering from last week's Tombstone - asked The Phenom, "How do you plan to move this man over the tope rope and onto the floor?!" Things soon escalated, with Undertaker and V exchanging blows. The two stopped before a full blown battle ensued, but next week, these beasts will collide in the middle of the ring on SmackDown. (WATCH)
First time on network TV
Although they squared off at Armageddon, this was the first time Khali and Finlay met up on SmackDown. With revenge on his mind, Khali dominated the Irishman for most of the match and finished him off with his brutal Vise Grip. (WATCH)
After the match, the Chairman had a little talk with Finlay, who was supposed to take care of Khali, "but Khali took care of you," he said. To potentially give Finlay the advantage against the Punjabi giant, Mr. McMahon lined up a Belfast Brawl street fight between the two next week on the debut of SmackDown in HD. (WATCH)
Very, Very VIP
Sixteen-time World Champion Ric Flair made an appearance on MVP's VIP Lounge to talk about his upcoming Royal Rumble match against the United States Champion. After trading verbal barbs about who really is THE man, Flair smacked MVP in the chest, knocking him to the mat. (WATCH) Will Flair be forced into retirement at Royal Rumble? Or, will he put the younger MVP in his place?
Ready to Rumble
Batista -- winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble -- looked to be on form for the 30-man over-the-top rope war by taking out The World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry. The Animal roared and appeared more than ready for the Rumble. But, with his massive size and strength, Henry will surely not go over the ropes without a fight next Sunday.
Caught in the middle
In Diva action, Michelle McCool defeated Layla and was later surprised to find a bouquet of flowers for her in the locker room area. At first, Michelle thought Jamie Noble got them for her, but Chuck Palumbo quickly stepped in to explain he gave the flowers -- an effort to get back in McCool's good graces for his actions on last week's SmackDown. Stuck between the two testosterone-pumped Superstars, McCool had to play mediator to get them to agree to "all get along."
Redneck & Reject roll on
In other SmackDown action, Deuce & Domino wore down Shannon Moore & Jimmy Wang Yang. But in the end, it was a moonsault press from Yang to Domino that helped give his team the win.
One big, happy family?
SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero continued to express her love for World Heavyweight Champion Edge. In a shocking display of affection backstage, Chavo Guerrero decided to make amends for the things he said about his aunt, Vickie. As he put his arms around both Vickie and Edge for a group hug, he asked, "What do you say the three of us become one, big happy family?"
Later in the ring, things got even more physical as The Rated-R Superstar and Chavo took on Rey Mysterio & ECW Champion CM Punk. At the end of the bout, Edge viciously attacked Mysterio with a steel chair to the knee, which immediately earned his team the loss by DQ. After the match, the Ultimate Opportunist and his cohorts, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, dished out more punishment. (WATCH) Read the full story…