It was a night of second chances for the SmackDown Superstars as Friday Night SmackDown rolled into Florence, South Carolina this week.
On the Jan. 13 edition of SmackDown, Kurt Angle shocked the world by jumping from RAW to win the World Heavyweight Championship in a Battle Royal. The final two men eliminated in that Battle Royal, Mark Henry and Rey Mysterio, squared off to see who would face the new champion at the Royal Rumble.
Early in the match, Rey used his speed, trying to stick and move to counteract the World's Strongest Man's size and power advantage. While Rey managed to keep Henry at bay for a while, eventually Henry caught Mysterio and used his power advantage to dominate. However, Henry got cocky, holding Mysterio above his head for an extended length of time. Rey was able to escape before Henry could do anything, and hit a series of 619s to chop the big man down to size. Rey then hit the frog splash for a near-fall, but Henry showed his agility, rolling out of the pinfall and over Mysterio. He then nailed Rey with the World's Strongest Slam, getting the three count and winning the chance to face Angle on Jan. 29.
Henry would make another impact later in the night. On RAW, Daivari cost Kurt Angle his match with Shawn Michaels, and Angle fired Daivari on WWE.com Unlimited. Daivari pleaded with Theodore Long to do something, so Long set up a match between the two as the main event of Friday Night SmackDown. Daivari was mortified by the announcement, but had no choice. During the match, Angle dominated his former manager, but the appearance of Mark Henry and Melina at ringside distracted him long enough for Daivari to hit a low blow.
Undaunted, Kurt shook off Daivari's attack and chased him outside the ring. Angle whipped Daivari into Henry, and after Henry caught him, Angle took both of them down. Back in the ring, the World Heavyweight Champion nailed the Angle Slam and locked Daivari in the Ankle Lock. Melina ran into the ring and jumped on Angle's back, drawing a disqualification. Angle then put her in the Ankle Lock, but Henry attacked from behind. Henry hit the World's Strongest Slam, and then nailed the champion with the steel ring steps. After Angle had been sent from the ring, Daivari shook hands with Melina and revealed that he actually screwed Angle. He then announced that he was now the manager of the World's Strongest Man, and would lead Henry into battle against Angle at the Royal Rumble.
Also on SmackDown, Booker T celebrated his newly won United States Championship. In the ring, Booker claimed that he won it all by himself, and proved that he was the greatest United States Champion of all time. Orlando Jordan took offense to this and hit the ring. Jordan told Booker that he should have let him be the substitute, but was disrespected and laughed at instead. Jordan challenged Booker to a match, but the champion laughed, saying he wasn't cleared to wrestle. That wasn't the response Orlando wanted, so he shoved Booker to the ground. At this point, Theodore Long came out, and announced that since Orlando wanted a match, he would fight the man who was Booker's substitute, Randy Orton, later in the night.
Jordan worked over Orton's shoulder early in the bout, but missed a suicide dive to the floor allowing Orton to gain control. Orton and Jordan then went back and forth, with Orlando continuing to work Orton's shoulder while the Legend Killer focused on Jordan's neck and back. As the match neared conclusion, Jordan headed to the top rope, but Booker & Sharmell made their way out. This distracted Jordan, and Orton was able to meet him on the ropes. Jordan pushed him down, but Booker nailed Orlando in the back with his crutch. Jordan was then easy prey for the RKO, and Orton was able to pick up the victory. After the match was over, Chris Benoit rushed the ring as Orton and Booker celebrated. Benoit laid out both men with chops and German suplexes, and it was later announced that Benoit will meet Orton next week in a No Holds Barred, One Fall to a Finish Match.
The Boogeyman also cost JBL once again on SmackDown. JBL took on Lashley, and a worried Jillian accompanied him to ringside sporting a bandage where her mole used to reside. JBL got the best of Lashley and nailed him with the Clothesline from Hell, but the Boogeyman's music interrupted the match. He came out from under the ring to spook JBL, which distracted the "Wrestling God" long enough for Lashley to recover and nail JBL with the Dominator for the victory. JBL & Jillian ran away before he could do any more damage.
Later in the night, JBL barged into Theodore Long's office, demanding that the General Manager do something about the Boogeyman. JBL complained that he had cost him several matches and scarred Jillian for life, prompting Long to ask if JBL was afraid of the Boogeyman. After JBL said no, Long told JBL that he would go one on one with the Boogeyman at the Royal Rumble. JBL tried to get out of the match, but the General Manager denied his pleas.
In addition, Finlay made his anticipated debut, taking on Matt Hardy. After a hard fought match, Finlay caught Hardy in the ropes, and delivered a series of hard crossfaces. Ignoring the referee's count, Finlay continued to assault Hardy, and was disqualified for his actions. An irate Finlay asked the ref why he was disqualified, and said that he would give him a reason to disqualify him. Finlay then dragged Hardy to the corner, laid his head on the steel steps and stomped down, driving Hardy into the steel in a brutal display.
Also, the Gymini made their Friday Night SmackDown debut, defeating Paul London & Brian Kendrick.