The Animal roars into SummerSlam

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August 18, 2006

Just two days before The Animal looks to regain the richest prize in all of sports-entertainment, Batista made a momentous return to his hometown crowd of Washington, D.C. on SmackDown and seized the throne of World Heavyweight Champion King Booker. Based on the events of Friday's SmackDown, one has to believe that at SummerSlam, the "biggest party of the summer" could become the celebration of a new champion.

Batista opened up SmackDown by facing Quebec's Ambassador-at-Large, Sylvan, who said that he'd show the world his province's greatness by beating the hometown hero. An ambassador in his own right to the nation's capitol, Batista made extremely short work of Sylvan and gained ample momentum before his championship match this Sunday (Watch).

Later in the night, the reigning World Heavyweight Champion King Booker came to the ring to make a royal decree in The Animal's hometown. The King proclaimed that he will "march into SummerSlam and beat [Batista] to a royal, bloody pulp beyond recognition."

His majesty then offered his SummerSlam challenger an option that would bring Batista to the ring. Rather than facing the King on Sunday, King Booker gave Batista the option to bow down, get on his knees and kiss the King's "royal feet." With Batista seemingly contemplating his option, Queen Sharmell removed his majesty's shoe and exposed the King's foot. The Animal dropped to one knee, but then quickly rose and stomped on the champion's toes. Providing a heaping dose of humility, Batista then knocked King Booker to the outside, draped himself in the King's red cape and sat triumphantly upon the royal throne (See the video).

Batista was never pinned for the World Heavyweight Championship eight months ago and The Animal believes that he is the rightful champion. After what we saw on Friday night, it's clear that Batista is on fire and ready to reclaim the gold this Sunday.

Also on SmackDown, just as she promised WWE.com in an exclusive interview last week, Vickie Guerrero pleaded with Theodore Long to call off the match between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero at SummerSlam.

The common denominator between Rey and Chavo is Eddie Guerrero. With Eddie gone, Vickie has been in the middle of these men as she's tried desperately to restore the peace between them. Vickie explained that the match between Rey and Chavo is tearing her family apart and that Long is the only one who has the power to cancel their match (Watch).

"If Eddie was here, he'd want [Rey and Chavo] to resolve this peacefully," an emotional Vickie said to Long. "In the name of Eddie, you have to stop this. I am begging you, Teddy."

Long respectfully denied Vickie's request, saying that the only way to resolve the personal conflict between Rey and Chavo is for them to be "man against man, face-to-face in the ring."

"The match this Sunday at SummerSlam," Long said, "is still on."

The General Manager was forced to make a tough decision this Friday on SmackDown. And despite the emotional plea of Vickie Guerrero, the issue between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero will be settled in the ring this Sunday.

Two of WWE's most feared monsters met on Friday as Undertaker conquered his foe, The Great Khali, in grueling a Last Man Standing Match. In this match, the only way to win was for one man to beat his opponent to the point where he could not respond to the referee's count of 10. Given the nature of this contest, fans were in for one of the most savage battles in SmackDown history (See the video).

Both Undertaker and Khali exchanged a salvo of clubbing blows and massive boots for several minutes. With Khali down momentarily, Daivari eventually got involved and lured the Phenom from the ring and toward the SmackDown stage. Khali followed and got the advantage in the match by bashing his opponent into the mirrored glass of the SmackDown set. The Punjabi giant tossed Undertaker off the stage into tables many feet below, but the Deadman would rise -- just as he has many times before in his career.

The behemoth Khali beat the Phenom back toward the ring; Undertaker sustained this attack until getting his arms tied up in the ropes. With the Deadman in a vulnerable position, Khali landed four mighty chops and the same big boot that led to Undertaker's defeat to Khali at Judgment Day.

Somehow, the resilient Undertaker did his signature sit-up and again engaged in battle with Khali. The Deadman used the steel steps to bash Khali in his giant cranium and then leveled Khali with multiple shots to the head with a steel chair, causing Khali to bleed from his skull. Later, the giant would need nine stitches to close the wound inflicted by the Phenom. Click here to watch the WWE.com exclusive video.

Despite the porous crimson blood that ran from his monstrous head, Khali rose back to his feet. Undertaker landed two more hits with the chair -- denting it with the impression of his enemy's cranium -- and dropped The Great Khali with a colossal chokeslam. After felling the giant, the Punjabi warrior could not get up to beat the count of 10 and Undertaker was declared the victor in this unbelievably brutal encounter.

In a most appropriate setting, the United States Championship was at stake in Washington, D.C. as Lashley clashed with Finlay, the man who stole the championship from Lashley last month. As always with Finlay, Lashley had to contend with not just his opponent, but also Little Bastard, Finlay's shillelagh and William Regal. Lashley seemed to have Finlay beat until Regal pulled the referee from the ring before he could count to three. Though Lashley won by disqualification, he did not win the U.S. Championship (Watch the video).

After the bell rang, Lashley managed to overcome a triple team assault by his enemies. He then added an exclamation point by hurling a steel chair at the head of the U.S. Champion. It seems as if Regal and Finlay's on-again-off-again relationship is back on for the time being. Can Lashley overcome the odds that are stacked so high against him in his pursuit to reclaim the U.S. gold?

On Friday night, SmackDown newcomers K.C. James and Idol Stevens continued to make an impression on the WWE Tag Team Champions. In an interview with Kristal, London and Kendrick addressed their loss to James and Stevens last week and explained that they are looking forward to facing Michelle McCool's teacher's pets again. Suddenly, James and Stevens ambushed the champions and used anything they could find backstage to batter London and Kendrick. McCool watched on, directing the fierce assault until she herself got involved by striking London across his back with her ruler. Leaving the WWE Tag Team Champions beaten down on SmackDown, James and Stevens sent a resounding message that they are hungry for tag team gold.

In other action, SmackDown veteran Scotty 2 Hotty faced the bully Sylvester Terkay. Terkay brutalized the Master of the Worm throughout the match and after pinning Scotty, he continued the physical punishment as he has done for the past few weeks.

With champagne in one hand and cell phone in the other, Montel Vontavious Porter watched SmackDown from the skybox of the Verizon Center flanked by three sexy valets. Given that his agent is still in contract negotiations with Theodore Long, MVP scouted what could soon become his competition on Friday nights.

This week, Mr. Kennedy also earned a controversial victory over Tatanka. With a handful of the Native American Superstar's tights, Kennedy pinned Tatanka to not only continue his hot streak, but also perpetuate Tatanka's recent bad luck in the ring.

Also maintaining a streak of his own this week was Vito, who gained another victory on SmackDown. In addition to competing on Friday night, the rugged Italian spent his afternoon visiting the national landmarks in the area and showed off his newest threads. Vito has been undefeated since embracing this alternative attire, and the toughest man to ever wear a dress has proven to be just that (See Vito in the nation's capital).

Finally, on SmackDown, we saw a video of The Boogeyman's most horrifying exploits in WWE (Watch the video). The Boogeyman is coming back to SmackDown…but when?

Be sure to tune into SmackDown to catch all the action every Friday night at 8/7 CT on UPN.

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