Seeing red

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May 19, 2006

"When you play with fire, you get burned."

Those were the ominous words spoken by JBL when SmackDown kicked off from Albuquerque, NM. But no one knew just how ominous those words would turn out to be.

JBL has made it his mission to put World Champion Rey Mysterio through hell in the weeks leading up to their Championship match this Sunday at Judgment Day. Mysterio said that he will take on all comers, so JBL has made him eat his words. JBL has fed Mysterio to Mark Henry and the Great Khali the last two weeks, but he said those challenges would be nothing compared to what he had in store for his “amigo” just two days before Judgment Day, and boy was he right. The surprise opponent was none other than the deranged Kane.

In a WWE.com Unlimited exclusive this Monday during RAW, JBL contacted Mr. McMahon. It was unknown what the phone call entailed, but the mystery was solved after Mysterio came to the ring and awaited his challenger. JBL said that after all of the beatings Rey had endured, he didn’t look so well. He said that Rey probably didn’t even know what day it was. Mysterio, not realizing what was about to happen, answered JBL and said, “May 19th.” With that, the Big Red Monster’s music hit and Kane hit the ring.

For the last several weeks on RAW, any time someone mentioned the date May 19, Kane would go ballistic. The date, which also coincides with the release date of his new movie See No Evil, has some other unknown significance in Kane’s life, and it has consumed him.

Kane immediately started to manhandle the World Champion with a wide array of power moves, tossing him around the ring like a rag doll. Mysterio was bleeding from the mouth, but all of a sudden, Kane began hearing voices in his head again, and the voices were talking about May 19. The Big Red Monster fell into another psychotic trance and tried to shake off the voices. Mysterio was able to hit a 619, but nothing could stop Kane. He came back with a monstrous chokeslam, but he was still dealing with the voices. JBL berated Kane and told him that he had to finish the job and destroy Mysterio.

But JBL made a huge mistake when he also accidentally said the words May 19. JBL’s words seemed to snap Kane out of his trance, and he turned his anger towards the United States Champion instead, and leveled him with a monstrous chokeslam as well.

Will Rey Mysterio be able to persevere and overcome the last three weeks of hellacious beatings to retain the World Championship? Or will JBL’s tortuous plan pay off and lead to a victory at Judgment Day?

But the World Championship won’t be the only prestigious honor up for grabs Sunday. A new King of the Ring will be crowned as well when Booker T faces Lashley in the finals. After making short work of Jared Steele, Lashley took a long look at the throne. Before Lashley was done looking at what might become his at Judgment Day, Booker T came out for his tag team match. The two engaged in an intense stare-down. Booker has been saying for weeks that it’s only a matter of time before he becomes king, but it looked like Lashley had other plans.

Before Booker T could concentrate on Lashley, he had to team up with Finlay to take on Chris Benoit & Gunner Scott. Last month, Scott made his SmackDown debut, shocking Booker T by pinning the five-time WCW Champion. But Booker remains unfazed by the outcome of that match.

“Gunner something,” is how Booker T referred to Scott in an exclusive interview with WWE.com earlier in the day. Finlay also appeared confident before his match. When asked by WWE.com in another exclusive what his strategy would be against Benoit, the fighting Irishman simply replied, “I’m going to pin him.”

Perhaps Finlay and Booker were both a little too overconfident, as they came up on the losing end of the match. As Booker T went to work on Scott, Lashley reemerged on the stage, and proudly sat on the throne as if he were the new king. Sharmell and Booker became extremely agitated at Lashley’s audacity, and Gunner took advantage. With Booker’s back turned to him, the newcomer pinned him with a crucifix for the 1-2-3. Heading into Judgment Day, has Lashley gotten inside Booker T’s head?

Speaking of getting inside your opponents’ heads, Brian Kendrick & Paul London had the opportunity to go five for five in matches against WWE Tag Team Champions MNM. Kendrick & London will finally get their Championship Match at Judgment Day, but two days before that, they teamed up with Jillian to take on Mercury, Nitro and Melina in a Six Person Mixed Tag Team Match.

MNM spent much of the match working on Kendrick’s left knee, and keeping the high-flier grounded seemed to make the champs cocky and confident. But Kendrick persevered, and eventually he and London cleaned house of Nitro and Mercury. With the champs on the outside, Jillian, who will face Melina at Judgment Day, hit a high-cross body off the top rope for the win. For the fifth straight time, London & Kendrick defeated MNM in a match. Can the high-octane team make it an amazing six in a row against MNM to become WWE Tag Team Champions? If they can, it could very well be the most impressive feat in the tag team division in decades.

Mark Henry tried to pick up some momentum heading into the pay-per-view as well. Henry will go one-on-one against Kurt Angle at Judgment Day, but he faced Matt Hardy on SmackDown. Hardy gave it his all, but Henry’s size and strength was too much to overcome as he fell victim to the World’s Strongest Slam. After the match, Henry vowed that at Judgment Day he would finish what he started with the Wrestling Machine. Earlier in the night, Angle also had words for Henry in a backstage interview. Angle said, “You’re the World’s Strongest Man, but I’m the world’s greatest wrestler.” Will Angle be able to back up his words at Judgment Day and get revenge on the World’s Strongest Man?

The Great Khali also had words…at least I think that’s what he had…for Undertaker. Several weeks ago, Khali dismantled Undertaker like no one else in sports-entertainment history. Undertaker hasn’t been seen since he was laid out by the monster of a man. Yet, for some reason, the Deadman has challenged the Great Khali for Judgment Day. Rumors have been swirling that Undertaker has lost his spirit. But if that were true, why would the Phenom have issued the challenge? Was it a big mistake? According to Khali it was, as he said, “Undertaker, rest in peace.”

We also learned that Tatanka has finished his initiation into the Lakota tribe. The proud warrior will make his SmackDown return next week.

And Nunzio had another interesting backstage encounter. His good buddy Vito told him that he had set them up with a double date with the hottest girls you could ever find. Before Nunzio could leave and finish getting ready for his big date, he ran into the swashbuckling Paul Burchill. Seemingly in need of a refill for his flask, he told Nunzio that he had spotted a rather large woman at the store last week, and she looked familiar. When he came face to face with “her”, he said it looked eerily similar to Vito. Last week Orlando Jordan had a similar story for Nunzio, but the former Cruiserweight Champion doesn’t believe the accusations.

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