Countdown to the Bash

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July 21, 2006

Friday Night SmackDown was nothing short of explosive, just 48 hours before The Great American Bash. With Mark Henry injured at last week's Saturday Night's Main Event, Mr. Kennedy was named Batista's opponent for the Bash.  In addition, World Champion Rey Mysterio made his mark on Friday night by defeating his Bash opponent, King Booker, with a little help from Chavo Guerrero and the Guerrero family method of lying, cheating, and stealing.

SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long kicked off SmackDown prepared to address Mark Henry's injury. Long announced that Henry will not be able to compete on Sunday and therefore, the number one contender's match between Batista and Henry would not take place. Before Long could get any further, he was interrupted by Mr. Kennedy who made his way to the ring. Kennedy called for the Kennedy microphone and said that though Batista may be former World Champion, he's not the one everyone's talking about because that man is Mr. Kennedy. The brazen Kennedy then challenged Batista to a match at The Great American Bash. Before Teddy Long could respond, the Animal's music hit and a fierce, focused Batista marched to the ring.

"I've got six months of hatred and anger," said Batista. "And since Mark Henry hurt his knee, now I've got no one to take it out on…so I think Mr. Kennedy will do just fine."

Kennedy then extended his hand to Batista and pulled it away before the Animal could connect palms, leaving a heated Batista in the ring. Mr. Kennedy may have stepped up to the plate to face Batista at the Bash, but will Kennedy be successful against an Animal that's been caged for six months? (Watch Batista confront Mr. Kennedy)

Early in the night, Chavo Guerrero and Teddy Long were met by an irate King Booker in the General Manager's office. Booker explained that he is intent on becoming World Champion at the Bash, but wanted to "make Rey Mysterio bow down like the peasant that he is" on SmackDown. Chavo fired back at his majesty, saying that he is tired of people disrespecting the World Champion. Chavo also told Booker that on Sunday, he's going to "watch the King get dethroned." Later, Chavo implored Rey not to accept Booker's challenge just days before The Great American Bash. Refusing to back down from any challenge, Rey told Teddy Long that he would indeed battle Booker on SmackDown.

In the main event of the night, the resilient World Champion would ultimately foil King Booker's plan to weaken Mysterio as Rey pinned the King before their championship match on Sunday. King Booker wore down Rey throughout much of the match until the fighting underdog Champion rallied against his royal opponent with a barrage of quick attacks.

Mysterio attempted to hit the 619 on his foe, but was tripped by Queen Sharmell and walked into a thunderous Bookend from the King. Booker then set up Rey for a scissor kick but as Booker hit the ropes, Rey's good friend, Chavo Guerrero appeared and grabbed the King's leg. This provided ample distraction as Rey caught Booker with a dropkick to the back and a 619. Rey followed up by Dropping the Dime on Booker and got the three-count.

Chavo Guerrero was at WrestleMania 22 when Rey won the World Championship and he is still in his corner three months later, as Mysterio looks to continue his dream beyond Sunday night. (See the match)

Undertaker was not on SmackDown this week and you have to believe that it was because of the violent attack at the hands of The Great Khali and ECW World Champion Big Show this past Tuesday night,. His nemesis, The Great Khali and his manager, Daivari had another resounding message for the Phenom.

"Once the Deadman is locked into that [Punjabi Prison Match] with The Great Khali, there will be no escape," exclaimed Daivari, "and ironically, escape is the only way to win."

Daivari and Khali then presented a visual display of Khali dominating Undertaker, from the Punjabi Warrior's debut to Khali's victory over the Phenom at Judgment Day to the ferocious chokeslam through the ECW announce table. The Great Khali and Daivari watched the video, fiendishly laughing at the destruction. It remains to be seen what condition the Deadman will be in at the Bash. Will Khali dismantle Undertaker's legacy in the mysterious Punjabi Prison Match? We'll soon find out if the Phenom will survive.

Two embittered rivals -- Bobby Lashley and United States Champion Finlay -- locked up on SmackDown in a rematch from last week's show. A man of few words, the former U.S. Champion was interviewed by the Miz just moments before his championship match. (Watch the match)

"Finlay's not the only one that loves to fight," said an intense Lashley.

A fight it certainly was, as Lashley and Finlay brawled in and out of the ring just two days before the U.S. Championship Triple Threat Match at The Great American Bash. From the start, Finlay slowed down the pace of the match to deter Lashley from using his explosive power. Eventually, the third man in Sunday's Triple Threat Match, William Regal, came to the ring and got involved. As if that wasn't enough, Little Bastard came from under the ring and was tossed into Lashley's midsection by Finlay. Lashley fought back again until Regal entered the ring with a chair, causing a disqualification.

After the bell rang, the melee continued as Lashley took out Regal and then went for Finlay. Behind Lashley's back, Little Bastard again crept up and gave Lashley a low blow with the shillelagh. Finlay then struck Lashley one final time with his own shillelagh on the back of the head. The U.S. Champion could be in jeopardy at the Bash because under Triple Threat rules, Finlay can lose the championship without being involved in the decision. But after Friday Night SmackDown, how can Lashley contend with Finlay, Regal, and Little Bastard to regain the championship? (Watch)  Breaking News: As we learned immediately following the match, Lashey will not be able to compete in the United States Championship Match at the Bash. Continue...

In another Bash preview, WWE Tag Team Champion Brian Kendrick met PitBull Kid Kash one-on-one. Similarly to last week's SmackDown, the PitBulls' aggressive, rugged, and underhanded offense earned them a victory. Kash pinned Kendrick, making the Pitbulls 2-and-0 against Kendrick and London. The Tag Champions will need to reexamine their strategy and regroup before heading into their championship defense on Sunday. (View the match)

Also on SmackDown, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms sat at commentary for a competitive match between former tag team partners, Super Crazy and Psicosis. As Super Crazy picked up the victory, Helms (the longest current reigning champion in sports entertainment) announced that he will defend his Cruiserwight Championship at The Great American Bash. As of this time, we do not know who Helms will defend his championship against, but we'll find out on Sunday.

This week's SmackDown was also host to the Diva Dance-off competition in the $250,000 Diva Search. For full coverage of the Divas' hottest dance moves, click here.

Speaking of Divas, SmackDown's finest females met in a tag match that pit Ashley and Jillian against Kristal and Michelle McCool. In what might be a preview of the Fourway Bra and Panties Match at the Bash, Jillian tore off Kristal's top off from behind, allowing Ashley to roll up Kristal for the pin.

Quebec's newest Ambassador-at-Large, Sylvan was also present on SmackDown as he interrupted Funaki, Tatanka and Matt Hardy backstage and encouraged them to "leave the doldrums of [their] daily life behind" and join him for a visit to Quebec, an island of tranquility in a truculent world. (Watch Sylvan backstage)

Finally, SmackDown fans saw Vito take a tour of downtown Corpus Christi, TX as he shopped for all-things-Texan: cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and even denim skirts. (See Vito shop)

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