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Steel Cage showdown

Since their first altercation during the King of the Ring tournament, the rivalry between King Booker and Bobby Lashley has done nothing but intensify. Friday night on SmackDown, everything will reach a head when the United States Champion defends his gold against the King inside a Steel Cage. And while it will be the first time Lashley takes part in a Steel Cage Match, the champion feels that he is ready.

“I’m not so much concerned; I’ve never been inside of a Steel Cage before so it’s a different kind of match for me,” Lashley told WWE.com. “Booker is a veteran and he’s been around the business for years; he has (won) a world of championships, so it’s not going to be a pushover match. I definitely want to defend my (championship) and walk out of the Steel Cage with everything intact, so this match is big for me.”

So what is the champion’s strategy going in? “I’m going out there with a lot of anger because of what’s been going on the last few weeks, but I’m going to keep my head on my shoulders and go out there and fight the way that I was taught. (I’ll) be ready for anything.”

Rumors have been circulating that King Booker is extremely unhappy about being locked in a Steel Cage with the powerhouse Lashley. When WWE.com spoke to the King, he sounded extremely confident; but is it confidence, or is the King trying to convince himself that he’s not worried? Judge for yourself:

“I feel great, but it all goes back to one thing: Teddy Long. Teddy Long (is) just trying to strip King Booker of everything, he’s trying to strip King Booker of his dignity,” he declared. “He’s trying to go out of his way to make King Booker look bad. King Booker has been on the SmackDown brand for quite some time and he hasn’t gotten a (championship match) yet, so you read between the lines as far as Teddy Long goes and what he’s trying to do to King Booker.”

That’s great Booker…but what about Lashley? “As far as this peasant Bobby Lashley goes…it’s like Gladiator, you know, Russell Crowe trying to go up against the strongest force, and that’s the King. That’s who I am, but it’s going to be a totally different ending than it was in the movies; see, this is real. The Steel Cage (is) a place that I haven’t been in a long time but that I remember so well, a place that brings back great and fond memories. My first pay-per-view match ever (was inside) a Steel Cage, and now 16 years later (I’m) in the same place again. (Friday night) will be the end of Bobby Lashley’s illustrious three month career. I’m going to put an end to it.”

When WWE.com told Lashley about Booker’s thoughts on Theodore Long, the United States Champion smiled and offered a simple reply.

“No one is out to get him except me; I’m out to get him,” the champion said. “That’s who he needs to watch out for. He’s trying to point the finger at everyone that he can. The only one that he needs to point the finger at is me. I’m the one coming after him, that’s who he needs to worry about.”

One of the things that could worry King Booker is the fact that his Court won’t be able to get inside the Steel Cage. However, Lashley knows that he still has to be on the lookout.

“Those guys are going to be trapped outside of that Steel Cage, which is a good thing because Booker and I need to settle the issues that we have with one another,” Lashley said. “I know they’re going to try some way to get involved in the match, but a Steel Cage is tough (to get into). They’re not going to be able to make it inside, so it’s going to be a good one.”

Once again though, the King sounded confident when asked for his take on this development.

“I thought about it for a second, but then I think about one other thing: how many matches has Bobby Lashley had in a cage?” the King asked. “King Booker has been all around the world and he’s wrestled in that Steel Cage many, many, many times. He has bled and sweat and almost cried, but didn’t. What has Bobby Lashley done? What has he done in his career? He slipped on a banana peel and backed into the United States Championship when JBL wasn’t quite right mentally. See but (Friday night), after all the scorn I’ve been through, tonight will be that shining moment. (I will become) the five-time United States Champion, King Booker.”

To many, King Booker’s words make it seem like he is dealing with the issues at hand by simply avoiding them. Unfortunately for the King, he won’t be able to avoid Bobby Lashley this Friday night because a 15-foot high Steel Cage won’t let him run away. Will that be the advantage Lashley needs to get a decisive victory over the King, or will Booker find a way to come out of the match intact?

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