SmackDown Makes a Phenomenal Premiere on CW

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September 22, 2006

From the opening fireworks to the phenomenal finale, the WWE fans at Montreal's Bell Centre kept the atmosphere electric during a night full of action and surprises at the world premiere of SmackDown on the new CW Network.

As the show began, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long was greeted in his office by a perturbed King Booker and Queen Sharmell. The King insisted that Vito was not a worthy opponent, to which Long replied that King Booker was actually in luck. As it turned out, Long continued, Vito had willingly stepped aside from the potential Main Event in deference to King Booker's new opponent: Undertaker. The benevolent King became infuriated as Long scampered away to oversee the SmackDown premiere. However, his anger would prove to be merely a cloak for the trepidation that would later be etched into his face as The Deadman made his legendary entrance through the darkness and fog in a rare SmackDown appearance.

During the match, United States Champion Mr. Kennedy brought his trademark loud mouth to the announce table, where he provided guest commentary alongside JBL and Michael Cole. However, his arrogant swagger was uncharacteristically silenced when he witnessed the sheer power and intimidating force of The Phenom -- a force he will have to combat when he faces Undertaker at No Mercy in just two weeks.

As Undertaker attempted to nail King Booker with a Tombstone, The King managed to wriggle free and land a low blow, resulting in a disqualification. He then cracked The Deadman across the face with the World Heavyweight Championship and appeared ready to escape unscathed when, to the delight of the raucous crowd, Bobby Lashley grabbed King Booker (who he will challenge at No Mercy for the World Heavyweight Championship) and tossed him, like a peasant in the ancient kingdoms of old, back into the ring to meet the waiting lion face to face. A now horrified King Booker found himself on the wrong end of a Chokeslam and a Tombstone. Undertaker perched himself on his prey and pointed his gruesome, tongue-wagging mug towards his No Mercy opponent Mr. Kennedy, who was paralyzed with fear and, perhaps for the first time in his life, speechless. (Watch) Will Mr. Kennedy be able to overcome the psychological trauma he suffered after witnessing The Deadman's wrath up close for the first time?

No Mercy will also feature the aforementioned match-up of King Booker and Bobby Lashley, the powerhouse who has spent the last few weeks simply bulldozing the competition as if to remind The King just how serious he is about winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Lashley was in action on the premiere of SmackDown on CW, joining Batista in a tag team match against The King's Royal Knights Extraordinaire, Sir William Regal and Finlay. SmackDown fans will remember that just two weeks ago, Batista was viciously assaulted by Finlay, who beat The Animal with his shillelagh and spilled his blood all over the mat. On Friday night, Batista turned the tables on the fighting Irishman, booting him into the crowd and stealing his shillelagh. The action outside the ring distracted Regal long enough for Lashley to connect with a spear and pin the Englishman for the victory (Watch). Lashley and The Animal put on a raw power display not seen from a tag team in WWE since the days of the Road Warriors, and as we count down the days until No Mercy, both of these men must be feared. King Booker would be wise to keep an eye out for Lashley, who is lurking just over his shoulder at every turn. Can anyone stop the No. 1 Contender?

This match also reminded us that Batista clearly wants Finlay, and Finlay just as clearly wants nothing to do with Batista, as he showed by staying safely in the crowd while his partner was left to suffer in the ring. Later in the evening, we learned that the score will be settled at No Mercy when Batista and Finlay go toe-to-toe.

The powerful tandem will also be back in action next week in an historic contest. Figuring that it was going to be a star-studded event, newly crowned WWE Champion John Cena decided to drop by the SmackDown premiere to personally thank Long for the contract offer.

"I owe you one," said Cena.

"I almost had you," the GM replied, before cashing in on Cena's offer. As he thugged and bugged in excitement, Long announced that next week in Tulsa, OK, for the first time ever, the WWE Champion will face the World Heavyweight Champion on SmackDown (Watch). Joining Cena will be Lashley and Batista, while King Booker will be flanked by Finlay and Regal in what is sure to be an instant classic Six Man Tag Match. How will The King stack up against the man who will challenge him for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Mercy? What will Batista do to Finlay? With all of the drama and subplots, this one has "Match of the Year" written all over it.

Another rivalry that will be on display at No Mercy is the family feud between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero, which finally tilted back towards Mysterio's corner this week on the premiere of SmackDown on CW. Before his match against Chavo, Rey told the WWE fans at the Bell Centre that Chavo and Vickie Guerrero's betrayal was the single most traumatizing event of his life.

"When they betrayed me, it was as though they raped my soul. But one thing I've learned: No matter what happens, life goes on. So Chavo, Vickie, tonight is the first day of the rest of my life," Rey declared with a stone-faced clarity and a desire in his eyes that WWE fans everywhere have missed for weeks.

The match proved to be just as intense, as the two fought in the stands and on the concrete floor surrounding the ring. Referee Nick Patrick attempted to call off the match and two other referees tried to separate Rey and Chavo as the contest devolved from a match to an all-out dogfight (Watch). How much more intense can this rivalry get? Will both of these men walk out of No Mercy under their own power?

The Tag Team Champions were in action yet again, as it seems like every week London & Kendrick have a new obstacle to overcome in. This week, that challenge came in the form of a Triple Threat Match against the Pitbulls and KC James & Idol Stevens for the Tag Team Championship, and once again the daredevil duo came out victorious. It was a wild match that featured plenty of high-flying moves and displays of agility, but London & Kendrick showed the resourcefulness that has characterized their run as Tag Team Champions. Each week they seem to get a little bit better and prove that they belong in the elite realm of WWE Champions.

The Miz also continued to impress as he showcased his intensity and ever-improving ability in a victory over Funaki. The former reality TV star is now a perfect 4-0 since his debut last month.

Matt Hardy and Gregory Helms continued to battle in what has become an intensely personal rivalry. The two came up through the ranks together as teenage friends in North Carolina. After exchanging wins in recent weeks, Hardy stole a victory with a low blow, just as Helms did last week. It's all fair game in this rivalry.

We also heard from Jimmy Wang Yang, who promised to make his debut next week in Tulsa, OK (Watch).

Finally, no visit to Quebec -- an island of tranquility in a truculent world -- would be complete without an appearance by the Ambassador at large. Sylvan was greeted by his hometown faithful with a raucous standing ovation, who went simply insane as the Canadian Superstar greeted the arena in French. As the World Cup style chants intensified to a deafening roar, Sylvan grabbed himself a handful of ropes and pinned Tatanka for the victory, adding yet another chapter to Tatanka's run of bad luck and questionable calls (Watch).

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