Backlash battle plans

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April 25, 2008

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- With Backlash just 48 hours away, Edge and his entourage kicked off Friday Night SmackDown with a bold prediction -- the World Heavyweight and ECW Championships would soon be returned to their rightful owners within the family ranks. But before the titles would be contested on Sunday, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero upped the ante in the night's title match between World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker and Batista by making it a No Disqualification bout -- with the winner to face Edge at Backlash.

But as the countdown began to finding out who Edge's Backlash opponent would be, CM Punk entered the arena with his Money in the Bank briefcase to taunt the Rated-R Superstar. As the two engaged in a verbal sparring bout, the GM took it to the next level by setting up a match between her fiancé and Mr. Money in the Bank for later in the night on SmackDown.

Despite being scheduled for a huge title match just 48 hours later at Backlash, Edge showed no signs of taking it easy when he faced Punk. After a few near pinfalls from both men, it was a ringside appearance from Zack Ryder which provided the distraction the Ultimate Opportunist needed to deliver a hard-hitting spear and get the win over Punk. (WATCH)

Hot streak
After a botched Reality Check from WWE Tag Team Champion The Miz, Shannon Moore defeated the Chick Magnet -- much to the dismay of Miz's partner and guest commentator, John Morrison. (WATCH) The scene was reminiscent of Tuesday night on ECW when Jimmy Wang Yang defeated John Morrison with The Miz looking on as a guest commentator. Do "the Redneck & the Reject" have the combo to unlock the Palace of Wisdom?

Looking sharp
After making an impact the last few weeks on SmackDown, Natalya made her in-ring debut. The third-generation Diva employed a wicked sharpshooter to get the submission victory over Cherry -- who she will again face in a 12-Diva Tag Team Match at Backlash. (WATCH) Will Natalya's winning ways continue?

Score to settle
SmackDown's Michael Cole welcomed Matt Hardy to the ring to talk about the heated year-long rivalry between Hardy and United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter. But as Hardy let our fans know his injured knee had fully recuperated and he's ready to face MVP at Backlash, SmackDown's Franchise Playa interrupted and made his way to the ring. As the two aired their differences, Hardy made it clear there would never be a return to the days when they were friends and tag team partners. Things escalated as MVP viciously kicked Hardy's surgically-repaired knee and clobbered him in the head with his title. With tensions now well past the boiling point, the two will be looking to settle the score in a title match this Sunday at Backlash. (Backlash preview)

Start of a streak
Staying undefeated is a superhuman feat in WWE. Since debuting on SmackDown on April 4, Vladimir Kozlov has done just that by vanquishing all of his opponents. This week, his fourth and latest victim was Marty Garner, who was put away with a crushing reverse DDT. Is anyone capable of stopping this Russian superpower?

Backlash bound
With CM Punk taken care of, all that remained for Edge was to learn who he would face at Backlash -- current World Heavyweight Champion Undertaker or Batista. As The Phenom and The Animal fought it out for the title, it was a surprise appearance from Shawn Michaels -- and Sweet Chin Music -- which not only enabled Undertaker to successfully defend his title, but simultaneously ensure HBK himself would face rival Batista at Backlash. (WATCH) Read more…

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