RAW's Revenge Strikes SmackDown

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September 29, 2006

King Booker may hail himself as a benevolent ruler, but when he and his court deplorably attacked WWE Champion John Cena Monday night on RAW, the King of SmackDown revealed his sadistic side. He wasn't laughing long, though, as The Champ struck back on Friday night, daring The King and his Court to defend the SmackDown Kingdom. Yet despite the fact that a historic WWE battle was being waged before the spirited WWE fans in Tulsa, Okla., a surprise ambush would provide arguably the most shocking moment of all. Also, with Oct. 8 fast approaching, No Mercy continued to take shape, and we learned that King Booker and Bobby Lashley will attempt to make each other's lives miserable next week without even squaring off in the ring together. In just its second week on the CW, SmackDown made it clear why last week's season premiere was the second-highest rated show among adults on Friday nights. The fireworks will surely be ablaze next week on the final SmackDown before No Mercy, but the action this week was equally explosive.

Cena opened up the show as promised, relishing the sensation of returning to SmackDown, where he made his first splash in WWE. Sporting a heavily bandaged left arm as a result of the brutal ambush he endured on Monday Night RAW, when Finlay and Sir William Regal forced him to kiss King Booker's feet. His right arm had been tied behind his back as part of a stipulation for his match against Lita, leaving Cena defenseless and his left arm isolated for a vicious beating. On SmackDown, Cena declared it was now his turn to bring along some backup.

"Tonight, the odds are even," the WWE Champion proclaimed, "because in my corner tonight will be Bobby Lashley. In my corner tonight, I go to war with Batista. Tonight from The Champ there will be no kissing feet because tonight on SmackDown, we will simply kick [King Booker's] ass."

No one could blame Cena for his ornery mood following Monday night's attack, but the sight of his bandaged left arm was a stark reminder of his condition, and begged the question, would he be physically disadvantaged during the historic main event?

Cena put the issue to rest by taking the fight to King Booker and his Court, interrupting the Royal processional along with his partners, Batista and Lashley. As the action finally made its way to the ring, the SmackDown fans (and even commentator Michael Cole) were brought to their feet by the raw strength of perhaps the most powerful team ever assembled in WWE history. However, Cole and the fans would soon witness a familiar sight, as Finlay's Little Bastard handed him the shillelagh from under the ring. Soon the King's Royal Knights Extraordinaire were isolating the beaten arm of Cena, and it was clear that even if he escaped SmackDown victorious, he would be at less than 100 percent strength for his Steel Cage Match against Edge for the WWE Championship on RAW Monday. Once Cena was finally able to escape the clutches of Finlay and Regal, his powerhouse partners went to work, culminating with a crushing spear from Lashley into the heart of King Booker for the pin. After plowing his way through The King's Court in recent weeks, Lashley fittingly pinned King Booker, making it clear that with just nine days until No Mercy he is focused and coming for the World Heavyweight Championship. Will a charging Bobby Lashley be the last thing King Booker sees as Champion? Will there be a new King of SmackDown after No Mercy?

Speaking of potential new champions, Cena's victory celebration was cut short when, as if out of the shadows, Edge appeared and speared the WWE Champion. The message was clear: Prepare to say goodbye to the WWE Championship in the Steel Cage on RAW. Cena honorably made good on his promise to SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, but between the beating he took on Monday night and the attack by Edge on SmackDown, will Cena be physically ready to survive the 15-foot steel structure? Will it be the end of a brief championship reign Monday night in Topeka, Kan.? (Watch)

As long as we're looking ahead, the fireworks will continue on the CW network as next week in Wichita, Kan., WWE fans will witness the first ever SmackDown Pick Your Poison. World Heavyweight Champion King Booker will choose Bobby Lashley's opponent, while the No. 1 Contender will decide who The King will meet. The only place to find out the match-ups is WWE.com, where Long will reveal King Booker's and Lashley's opponents on Saturday.

As No Mercy approaches, the SmackDown Superstars were busy preparing and sending messages. Mr. Kennedy had his own message for the SmackDown fans as he offered what he called a "tribute" to Undertaker, his opponent at the Oct. 8 pay-per-view. Kennedy declared that Undertaker has nothing left to prove, and that it would therefore be rude of him to "intrude upon his legacy" and "put a black mark on his career" by defeating The Deadman at No Mercy. Kennedy then shocked the audience by announcing that, out of reverence, he could not wrestle Undertaker at No Mercy.

As the incensed crowd reacted in shock to the announcement, The Phenom made his way to the ring. With Kennedy still clinging to the microphone in fear, Undertaker wrapped a paw around Kennedy's hand and brought the mic to his lips to remind his opponent, "I show no mercy, and you will rest in peace." As Kennedy then reared back to strike The Deadman with his trusty microphone, Undertaker had more supernatural tricks in store as the microphone literally exploded in Kennedy's hand (Watch). Will the terror-struck young Superstar have any answer for the legendary Undertaker?

Rey Mysterio was back in action, looking fresh and revived for his match against Sylvester Terkay. While Chavo and Vickie Guerrero watched backstage, Terkay sized up Mysterio, looking as though he was wondering where the rest of Rey was. Unimpressed, Terkay stepped aside and offered the match to his manager, Elijah Burke. During the match, Terkay attempted to trip Rey, but ended up getting kicked in the face before Burke came face to face with the 6-1-9 and lost the match. Terkay continued his bullying ways after the match ended, ambushing Rey from behind (Watch). After Rey had appeared to overcome weeks of mind games from Chavo and Vickie, the Guerrero business partnership must have been delighted to see the post-match beating Rey suffered. Any extra damage inflicted on either Rey or Chavo will surely influence the outcome of their No Mercy match-up, which will be fought under the stipulation of Falls Count Anywhere.

Later in the night, Chavo was dealing out some damage of his own against Matt Hardy. Hardy will face Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms at No Mercy, where the two will return to their native North Carolina to settle a personal score that has been played out over the last few weeks on SmackDown. Helms made his way through the crowd to ringside and was quickly dispatched by Hardy, but as Hardy attempted to set up the Twist of Fate, Vickie Guerrero landed a low blow, turning the tide for Chavo to connect on a frog splash and pick up the victory (Watch). For the first time since forging their business partnership, Vickie physically assisted Chavo during a match, establishing herself as a potential difference-maker in Chavo's future matches. Will Vickie make her impact felt at No Mercy when Chavo faces Rey Mysterio? Hardy certainly felt an impact when Helms attacked him after the match, sending his pre-No Mercy message as well. Who will come out on top in the battle of old friends and training mates? 

The Tag Team Champions Brian Kendrick and Paul London weren't in action, but they were definitely watching intently as KC James & Idol Stevens grappled with the Pitbulls to decide who would meet the champions at No Mercy, where the gold will be on the line. Thanks to Michelle McCool, James & Stevens were able to steal a victory (Watch), but it will be difficult to pry the championship away from London & Kendrick, who have brilliantly fought their way through every possible tag team challenge since winning the gold at Judgment Day. Can James & Stevens finally end the reign of what has become one of the most exciting young combinations in WWE?

The southern mainstay of Tulsa was the perfect venue for the debut of SmackDown's newest resident redneck, Jimmy Wang Yang, who saluted his fans with some country line dance moves and a rebel "Yee-Haw!" Yang battled tenaciously against Sylvan and showed WWE fans what they have to look forward to, displaying loads of talent and ability. Unfortunately, his coming out party was spoiled by the opportunistic Sylvan, who used the ropes as leverage to steal a victory (Watch).

Speaking of debuts, Montel Vontavious Porter -- or, as he prefers to be known, MVP -- will finally make his at No Mercy. As announced on WWE.com earlier this week, MVP ended his holdout and signed a contract with SmackDown. On Oct. 8 in Raleigh, N.C., it's put up or shut up time for the outspoken free agent signee.

Finally, The Miz was back and louder than ever, trumpeting his unblemished record and generally everything about himself. In his match against Tatanka, he made good on his guarantee of victory, improving his still-undefeated record to 5-0.

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