A grave warning

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March 02, 2007

Batista last week told Undertaker and WWE fans, "I am not intimidated by anyone." The Animal may be rethinking that statement after seeing the response of his WrestleMania 23 opponent, Undertaker, on The CW Network's No. 1 rated show - SmackDown.

The Phenom sent an ominous message of his own this week to the World Heavyweight Champion - Batista. While The Animal stood in the center of the ring reiterating his comments from last week, the champion was interrupted when the sold-out HP Pavilion arena in San Jose, Calif. went dark, and Undertaker was shown standing in a cemetery, digging a grave.

"Batista, for some, WrestleMania is heaven on earth, but for you it is going to be hell," said Undertaker. "At WrestleMania, your reign as champion will rest in peace."

The World Heavyweight Champion Batista was left speechless by the actions and words of Undertaker. For those who have followed the amazing 14-0 undefeated streak of Undertaker at WrestleMania, this message could be one the Phenom delivers on April 1 in Detroit.

Mr. McMahon arrived at SmackDown to brag about the beating he ordered Umaga to administer last week to an already injured Rey Mysterio. ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley made his way out and Mr. McMahon attempted to offer Lashley a way out of his obligations to Donald Trump in the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23, even offering the ECW Champion double what Trump was paying him.

Lashley refused, saying, "it was an honor to be chosen by Donald Trump." He continued, "it will be a privilege to compete at WrestleMania and it will be my pleasure to defeat Umaga (McMahon's representative)," Mr. McMahon became irate. The Chairman then slapped ECW's World Champion, and when Lashley snapped back and stared at him, Mr. McMahon ducked out of the ring, the arena and San Jose.

Before he made it out of San Jose, Mr. Kennedy approached Mr. McMahon and asked for a title opportunity against Bobby Lashley. Mr. McMahon granted the request, and added the rules that Mr. Kennedy could not be disqualified or counted out, but Lashley could.

A confident Kennedy did all he could in the match to win his first world title, but even with the odds against him, Bobby Lashley defeated Kennedy to retain his ECW World Championship.

The Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 23 had two more qualifying matches on SmackDown, with Matt Hardy facing Joey Mercury in the first contest. Hardy and Mercury have had a heated rivalry since the beginning of December of ‘06, and the personal brutality continued between the two Superstars. When Mercury looked to finish Hardy off with a high risk maneuver, Hardy countered, and delivered a Twist of Fate from the ropes to get the victory.

King Booker, who qualified last week by defeating Kane in the first-ever Falls Count Anywhere Qualifying Match, sat ringside on commentary for this contest, getting a first-hand look at his competition for WrestleMania 23.

In the second qualifying match, United States Champion Chris Benoit competed in the first-ever Triple Threat Qualifying Match against MVP and Finlay.

Before the match began, Finlay berated SmackDown announcer Michael Cole for referring to Hornswoggle by any other name. It could have been that fire that lit Finlay. In a physically brutal match between the three men, Finlay was able to get the victory when Hornswoggle distracted the ref, allowing the Irishman to use the shillelagh on both opponents and qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania 23.

There are now 7 known participants in the match April 1 in Detroit - Jeff Hardy, Edge, Matt Hardy, Finlay, King Booker, CM Punk and Mr. Kennedy. Who will be the last Superstar in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match?

Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore and Scotty 2 Hotty squared off against Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero, former champion Gregory Helms and Daivari. The action was fast-paced and high-flying, and Jimmy Wang Yang was able to get the win for his team when he pinned Daivari after a Moonsault.

Ashley, the April Playboy cover girl, defeated Jillian in a Diva match. While the beautiful Ashley is treating WWE fans with her pulse-pounding, upcoming Playboy appearance, Jillian is making ears bleed in arenas around the world.

Finally, Jerry "The King" Lawler has been announced as the newest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

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