California dreamin'

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June 06, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- Tinseltown not only served as a ground zero for "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania" press conference earlier in the week, but the City of Angels also welcomed Friday Night SmackDown to town.

A host of celebrities joined more than 14,500 of our fans in L.A.'s STAPLES Center to witness first-time sports-entertainer Cousin Sal square off against Raw Superstar Santino Marella. For expert guidance and support, Cousin Sal had none other than WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in his corner, as well as late-night host Jimmy Kimmel at ringside and Kimmel's girlfriend, comedian/actress Sarah Silverman, close by.

After holding his own against the Braggadocios Italian Superstar, Cousin Sal was aided by a distraction from Kimmel, helping him get the pinfall in his in-ring debut. (WATCH)

Star-studded event
SmackDown's Franchise Playa Montel Vontavious Porter was spotted watching the night's action from a sky box. And, a host of celebrities, including Grammy Award Winning Producer Rick Rubin, were in attendance, enjoying the sports-entertainment experience.

Golden Dreams
While our fans and Superstars alike anticipate how the upcoming Draft will change things in WWE, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero didn't wait until draft day to announce a brand new SmackDown women's title -- the Divas Championship.

The GM also wasted no time in allowing seven Divas to compete for an opportunity at the new title by setting up a qualifying Golden Dreams Match. Michelle McCool, Cherry, Kelly Kelly, Victoria, Natalya, Maryse and Layla all fought tough -- attempting to grab the gleaming gold star hanging from a pole in the specialty match -- but it was Natalya who came out on top and will now compete for the new title. (WATCH)

Titanic showdown
A black-eyed Big Show came to L.A. to talk to our fans about his Singapore Cane Match victory at One Night Stand. But, Mark Henry interrupted to let everyone know he was not impressed with Big Show becoming the No. 1 contender to Kane's ECW Championship. The World's Largest Athlete invited the World's Strongest Man to come to the ring to back up his words, but just when it looked like Henry would accept the challenge, he backed away from the ring. When will these titans cross paths again? (Big Show injury exclusives: Update | VideoPhotos )

Speaking of SmackDown's big men, The Great Khali made a triumphant return after recently touring his homeland of India. (Exclusive photos) Khali was pitted against Deuce & Domino in a Handicap Match. He easily took care of business by delivering Khali Bombs to both opponents, then covering Domino for the pinfall.

Belfast brawlin'
Adversaries Finlay and Chuck Palumbo squared off in a Belfast Brawl with no disqualifications and no count-outs. Capitalizing on the rules, Palumbo grabbed a thick-linked chain from his motorcycle, wrapped it around his fist, and approached Finlay as if he was going to strike him. However, Finlay's son, Hornswoggle, came to the aid of his father by attacking Palumbo from behind with a low blow, forcing him to drop the chain. The distraction allowed Finlay to turn the tables on Palumbo. The Irishman grabbed the chain from the mat and used it to clobber Palumbo and get the pinfall.

Moments later, Finlay stopped WWE Tag Team Champions The MIz & John Morrison from teasing his son, and the duo seemed none-too-pleased with the pint-size Superstar's antics.

Undefeated streak continues
Vladimir Kozlov upped his SmackDown record to an impressive 10-0 by defeating Jimmy Wang Yang. Using explosive quickness -- and his skull as a battering ram -- the man from Moscow finished off Yang with a belly-to-belly throw to get win No. 10.

General Manager mania
SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero has certainly taken center stage lately -- and usually her actions have generated a chorus of boos from our fans. From stripping Undertaker of his title and banning him from WWE, to announcing the date of her wedding to Edge (July 11 on SmackDown) (WATCH), to announcing the new WWE Diva Championship, to forcing Batista to compete in a lopsided Eight-Man Tag Team Match to protect his opportunity for a World Heavyweight Title Match (WATCH) -- WWE's only female GM is sure shaking things up.  Read the full story…

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