With their WrestleMania rematch fast approaching, Shawn Michaels heads to SmackDown to make a definitive statement on The Deadman.02/12/2018 - 18:15
The Dream stays alive
Despite Kurt Angle's best efforts, Friday night wasn't the right time for Rey Mysterio's ride to come to an end.
Heading into his World Heavyweight Championship match with Kurt Angle, Mysterio said that he was living his dream, and even if Angle ended it, the ride was still worth it. As reported in an exclusive interview on WWE.com earlier in the day, Mysterio said that "if today is indeed my last day as World Heavyweight Champion, I am going to look back and know that I lived out my dream, and enjoyed every minute of it." Fortunately for Rey, he was somehow able to keep his dream alive in front of a fantastic and gracious capacity crowd in London. Throughout the show, clips of Angle's previous championship victories were shown, and the six-time champion came into the match looking to make history once again. Everyone knows what Angle will do to get the gold, but the question was what Mysterio would do to keep it?
Earlier on SmackDown, Rey acknowledged that he knew he had to avoid the Ankle Lock, and he was successful for the most part. The champion was able to escape from an early attempt, and also blocked several Angle Slam attempts. After Angle ran shoulder-first into the ringpost, Rey had an opening. He Dropped Da Dime and nailed the Wrestling Machine with a 619, but when he went for the seated senton, Angle amazingly caught him in mid-air, countering Rey's attack into the Ankle Lock. Angle cranked the hold, and as Rey's hand was raised, just a half-second away from tapping out, Mark Henry inexplicably interrupted the match, perhaps costing Angle his seventh championship. Miraculously, Rey survived again.
After breaking up the Ankle Lock, Henry tossed Rey aside and sent Angle to the floor. The World's Strongest Man then assaulted the Wrestling Machine, splashing him against the ringpost. He then set Angle up on a table and climbed the apron, and after building up a head of steam, he jumped and sent his massive 400-pound frame crashing down into Angle and through the table, injuring Angle's ribs. But why did Mark Henry do this? Did he simply want to throw his weight around? Was it to prove he's the World's Strongest Man, or maybe because he was upset over his loss earlier in the night? His motives are unclear, but Angle wasn't the only man to feel his wrath on SmackDown.
Henry met Bobby Lashley in a King of the Ring tournament opening-round match earlier in the night, a contest that Lashley was extremely excited about. Before the match, Lashley said that he understood the importance of this night, saying it was the biggest of his career. He knows that winning the King of the Ring tournament would put him in the company of such greats as Bret Hart, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin and perhaps propel him to even bigger things. Earlier in the day in an exclusive WWE.com interview, Henry said that kings have power, and since he is the World's Strongest Man, he should be crowned king.
In the match, which pitted power against power, the hard-hitting newcomer did everything he could to try to take the World's Strongest Man down. Henry rebuffed him every time, until finally, a series of Lashley clotheslines took him off his feet. The powerful Lashley then used every ounce of strength he had to slam the massive Henry, but his attempt at the Dominator was blocked. Henry charged at Lashley, but Lashley pulled the ropes down; Henry crashed to the floor, hitting his head on the announcers' table. The force of the blow temporarily stunned Henry, and he was counted out to give Lashley the victory. As he celebrated, however, Lashley was attacked by Henry, who splashed him into the ringpost much as he would Angle later in the night. The World's Strongest Man then stormed off in frustration. Was it this frustration that led to his later attack on Kurt Angle?
Friday night was a bad night for MNM as well; coming off three straight losses to Paul London & Brian Kendrick, the WWE Tag Team Champions teamed with returning Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms to face London, Kendrick & Super Crazy of the Mexicools in a Six-Man Tag Team Match. Unfortunately for MNM, it was a different combination, but the same outcome. MNM & Helms dominated Kendrick for most of the match, but London was able to make the tag and clean house. It came down to London against Helms, and London reversed a suplex into a small package to pin the Cruiserweight Champion, giving himself and Kendrick four straight match victories over the WWE Tag Team Champions.
MNM fumed, and Melina berated them backstage. Mercury & Nitro said it wasn't their fault because they didn't lose, but Melina told them that they didn't win either. She then ran into Jillian, who only made her night worse. Melina mocked Jillian for getting fired, offering her a job doing Melina's makeup. Instead, Jillian tossed a compact back in Melina's face, and the two Divas got into a fight, tossing various beauty products at each other. I hate to make Melina's weekend worse, but in my opinion, I think it's time to give London & Kendrick a chance at the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Speaking of championships, JBL defended the United States Championship on SmackDown. Last week, the self-proclaimed Wrestling God said he was coming to London to challenge the best England had to offer. When he got there, however, it seemed that JBL was more focused on insulting the crowd. The cocky United States Champion used SmackDown as his platform to insult the great English fans, telling them that they were basically America's bitch. England's own William Regal finally had enough, coming out to confront JBL. While he agreed with JBL's thoughts about Prime Minister Tony Blair, Regal told JBL that the rest of the world saw Americans as lazy, loud-mouthed and cowardly, and then challenged him for the championship. Regal had the crowd firmly on his side, as they considered their fellow Englishman the lesser of two evils; unfortunately, the home field advantage wasn't enough for Regal, as JBL nailed him with a Clothesline from Hell to win the match and retain his championship.
While the Englishman was unable to pick up a win, Irishman Finlay was victorious over Gunner Scott. Early in the show, Booker T was backstage being interciewed by Kristal. And in typical Booker style, he ignored her question and went on a rant of his own about how he could beat anyone and would win the King of the Ring tournament. Newcomer Gunner Scott interrupted, re-introducing himself to Booker and reminding him of his victory over the 5-time WCW Champion a few weeks ago. Booker told Scott that he could beat him anytime, but not tonight, because he was supposedly under the weather. Booker then coughed a lot, saying he'd find a replacement to face Gunner. It turned out to be Finlay, and Booker, despite his obviously serious illness, sat in to do commentary. Michael Cole asked Booker if he was a hypochondriac; I was wondering the same thing, because it seems to me that Booker gets sick or injured at some pretty convenient times.
Scott gave the tough Finlay all he could handle. Frustrated, Finlay grabbed his shillelagh as the two battled on the arena floor. Scott avoided Finlay's swing, tossing him back into the ring. As referee Nick Patrick tried to pry the weapon from Finlay, Booker got up from his seat and nailed Scott with a vicious kick. He then rolled Scott in the ring, where he was easy prey for Emerald Fusion, Finlay's modified version of the Death Valley Driver. After the match, Booker & Finlay stomped down the newcomer, but Chris Benoit ran out to run them off. The recent history between Benoit and Booker is no secret, and the Rabid Wolverine does meet Finlay in the final King of the Ring first-round match next week in Cincinnati, but I have to wonder if there's more to it than that. Benoit was the one who congratulated Scott after his victory over Booker weeks back, and now he has come out to save the newcomer; perhaps the Rabid Wolverine sees Gunner as a potential protégé?
SmackDown also saw the re-emergence of Native American Superstar Tatanka. SmackDown camera visited the Lakota tribe, which was represented by the likes of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. A current Lakota chief spoke of their history and culture, and it was announced that a new warrior would soon be forged in Tatanka. Apparently next week, Tatanka will be initiated into the tribe, which is a huge honor.
Also on SmackDown, The Great Khali spoke once again. Daivari led his massive charge to the ring, and told the fans that the rumors were true. The Great Khali has broken Undertaker's spirit, and while the Deadman always rose from the ashes to vanquish his assailants, this time it was different. Daivari said Undertaker trembled in fear of Khali, who needed no weapons other than his bare hands to annihilate the Deadman. He then said that Undertaker was gone for good because he was afraid of The Great Khali. It has been weeks since anyone has seen or heard from the Deadman; could Daivari be right? Has Undertaker's spirit truly been broken?
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