It was an eventful night on a jam-packed edition of SmackDown from Jacksonville. Chris Benoit made a splash in his SmackDown return, Kane shocked fans and scared MVP in his SmackDown debut, Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero agreed on an "I Quit" Match for next week's show, and Batista won a Triple Threat Match for the right to challenge King Booker for his World Heavyweight Championship next week in Los Angeles.
Much to King Booker's bewilderment, General Manager Theodore Long ordered a Triple Threat Main Event on SmackDown for the right to face King Booker for the World Heavyweight Championship on next week's show. The competitors involved were the three men who faced King Booker at No Mercy; Batista, Lashley and Finlay.
Moments before the battle began, SmackDown announcers Michael Cole and JBL were joined by none other than King Booker himself on commentary for the pivotal match. In the opening seconds of the contest, Batista and Lashley took advantage of their friendship to neutralize the angry Irishman. With Finlay out of the equation, the friendship was thrown out the window as Batista and Lashley locked it up in a battle of true powerhouses.
A variety of high impact maneuvers left both Batista and Lashley laid out on the mat, allowing Finlay to follow in the footsteps of King Booker at No Mercy, and pick up the scraps. Unfortunately for the angry fighter, Lashley and Batista weren't ready to be pinned just yet. After a few unsuccessful attempts at a pin, Lashley turned the tide and scooped up Finlay for a devastating power slam. The former U.S. Champion went for the pin, but as the ref's hand was inches from the mat, Little Bastard jumped into the ring and disrupted the count.
With the match in flux, Batista seized control, laying out both opponents before leaving the ring to head to the announce table. After staring down the seated World Heavyweight Champion, Batista proceeded to take apart the table, apparently preparing it in hopes of driving one of his opponents through it. Unfortunately for the Animal, the move backfired as Lashley and Finlay teamed up to choke slam Batista to his apparent demise.
With Batista seemingly down and out, Finlay and Lashley resumed their lengthy rivalry in the ring. After a series of blows, Finlay got the upper hand and dropped Lashley on his head with the Celtic Cross. The former U.S. Champion went for the pin, but Batista resurrected himself from the dead and broke up the count.
From there, the match belonged to Batista. With Lashley incapacitated from the Celtic Cross, Batista finished off the Irishman with the Batista Bomb and recorded the pin to be come the No. 1 Contender to King Booker's crown. As SmackDown went off the air, Michael Cole delivered a blockbuster, informing King Booker that next week during the Championship match, Cyber Sunday main eventers John Cena and Big Show will be seated at ringside to view the proceedings. What will happen next week when Batista gets another opportunity to capture the gold that he so badly craves? (Watch the video)
One of the biggest stories coming into this week's show was the SmackDown in-ring debut of Montel Vontavious Porter. At No Mercy, MVP made his WWE in-ring debut, taking on a less than formidable opponent in the unknown Marty Garner. This week, MVP begged Teddy Long for some "competition". As the old saying goes, "be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it."
MVP's "competition" came in the form of the debuting Kane, who earlier this week lost a Loser Leaves RAW match to Umaga thanks to interference from Armando Alejandro Estrada. Still fuming from the events of Monday night, Kane took out his aggression on the cocky SmackDown newcomer. Minutes into the one-sided affair, MVP bailed, leaving the ring and making a b-line to the locker room. Who is next on Kane's list? (watch the video)
Sunday's No Mercy was a monumental night in SmackDown history, in-part due to the successful return of fan-favorite Chris Benoit. On Friday night, Benoit added some hardware to his collection in the form of the United States Championship when he defeated Mr. Kennedy.
The match was made when Mr. Kennedy came out to brag about his shaky "victory" over the Undertaker at No Mercy. The loudmouth Superstar made a challenge to Theodore Long.
"I'll put my title on the line against a man Teddy Long claims I've never beaten," said Kennedy. "But if I win, I get to leave and go to RAW."
Long agreed, and seconds later, Benoit emerged from the locker room.
A shocked Kennedy looked on as the rabid wolverine stormed the ring. Benoit took it right to the United States champ, showing the aggression that has made him the decorated performer and fan-favorite that he is today. Kennedy was game for the challenge, and even looked to have the upper-hand at one point in the match before the tide was turned for good.
As Kennedy was in control, Undertaker's gong played over the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, temporarily distracting the surprised champion. That distraction opened the door for the wolverine to go to work and finish off a flustered Kennedy. Benoit used a series of german suplexes and then the signature Crippler Crossface to seal the deal and become the new United States Champion. (Watch the video)
At RAW Reunion, Rey Mysterio capped an incredible week by defeating Chavo Guerrero Jr. for the second consecutive night. On Friday, Mysterio attempted to move on, taking on and defeating a game Jamie Noble in one-on-one action. After the match, he was again confronted by Chavo Guerrero and Vickie Guerrero, who made a shocking challenge.
"You must be proud," said Chavo. "You must be proud of driving me to the lowest point in my career. As long as the two of us are on SmackDown this will never end. So Rey, I challenge you to an "I Quit" Match next week on SmackDown."
Rey hesitated before reminding Chavo, "I've beaten you twice in a row, do you really want to get beat again?"
An irritated Vickie Guerrero grabbed the microphone and re-issued the challenge.
"The difference between my Eddie and you Rey is that Eddie had balls."
A fired up Rey responded to the challenge. "I'm going to prove to both of you what Rey Mysterio is all about. You want an I Quit Match? I'll tell you what, the words "I Quit" are going to come out of your mouth Chavo." (watch the video)
In other SmackDown action, Vito and William Regal continued their increasingly heated rivalry. At No Mercy, William Regal's inauspicious night was due in part to a series of run-in's with Vito, which led to his impromptu beating at the hands of Chris Benoit.
On Friday night, William Regal took out his frustrations on the dress-wearing tough guy, but couldn't close the deal. After taking a series of punishing crossface forearms, Vito was able to record a pin with a "revealing" sunset flip on Regal, getting the 1-2-3 to stay undefeated since donning the dress. (Watch Vito win)