A shocking return leads to new Champs

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December 30, 2005


Batista & Rey Mysterio already had a lot on their plates as they had to face MNM in a rematch for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but The Animal also had to deal with some issues that go beyond the ring. Before the WWE Tag Team Championship Match, Melina came to the ring, accompanied by her lawyer, and held a press conference. She claimed that two weeks ago, prior to MNM's title defense against Batista & Mysterio, Batista sexually harassed her. She accused the World Heavyweight Champion of being a sexual predator and using his power and influence as Champion to get whatever he wants. She claimed that he forced her to have sexual relations, and now she is suing him for sexual harassment -- and all of this came out prior to Batista's WWE Tag Team Champioship defense.

But to his credit, when talking to Josh Mathews before his match, Batista seemed unphased by the accusations. His carefree attitude appeared to follow him inside the squared circle as well. Mysterio and Batista got off to a quick start utilizing their unique combination of speed and power to overwhelm MNM. But a miscue by Mysterio led to him injuring his right knee. Nitro and Mercury were like sharks smelling blood and pounced on Mysterio's knee. They relentlessly attacked his injury to the point where Mysterio could hardly stand. But Mysterio refused to give up, and his quickness overcame the injury, allowing him to make the tag to Batista.

Batista started cleaning house and had Mercury up for the Batista Bomb. Nitro broke up the attempt, but Mysterio came back and took Nitro to the outside with a hurricanrana. Batista hoisted Mercury up for a powerslam, but Mercury's legs took down the ref. With the referee down, it was revealed that Melina had a secret ally. The World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry, made his WWE return, and he made it in a big way. With Batista's back turned, Henry leveled the Animal with a thunderous clothesline. He then hoisted the World Heavyweight Champion over his head and brought him down with a monstrous powerslam -- the World's Strongest Slam. The ref began to come to, unaware of what had transpired, and Batista was ripe for the pickings. The 1-2-3 was academic, and MNM became WWE Tag Team Champions for the third time in less than a year.

While new WWE Tag Team Champions were crowned, there was also a chance that a new United States Champion could be crowned as well. Booker T was ahead of Chris Benoit 3-1 in their Best of Seven Series. Booker T had taken an early 3-0 lead, but Benoit kept his hopes alive with a huge win at Armageddon. Booker T still had the huge advantage, but he suffered an injured groin at a live event Monday night in White Plains, NY. Due to doctor's orders, Booker T was unable to compete. General Manager Theodore Long said that due to the circumstances, Booker T would have to forfeit the fifth match in the series. Booker T was irate at this decision, but so was Benoit. Benoit wanted to win the United States Championship, but he didn't want to take the easy way out. They all agreed that Booker T could pick anyone on the roster to take his place in the match. If the replacement won, then Booker T would be the new Untied States Champion. If the replacement lost, then Benoit would be right back in the hunt, narrowing the gap to 3-2.

After dismissing Orlando Jordan's request to be the replacement, Booker T found a dejected Randy Orton by himself in the locker room. Booker motivated Orton to prove to the world that despite losing to Undertaker in Hell in a Cell he's still the Legend Killer. Orton took Booker T's words to heart and was confident he could take down the Rabid Wolverine.

Booker T and Sharmell joined Michael Cole and Tazz for commentary. After some back and forth action, Benoit was able to lock in the Crossface. Orton was able to get to the ropes and escaped to the outside for a breather. Benoit wouldn't allow it, though, and soared through the air with a suicide plancha. Back inside, Benoit went for the rolling Germans, but Orton blocked it. Benoit came back with an ode to Eddie Guerrero and connected with the Three Amigos. He went up top, but Orton telegraphed the diving headbutt. Benoit recovered and went for the Sharpshooter, but Orton was able to roll through it. The Legend Killer went the RKO, but Benoit was able to reverse it into another Crossface. With Orton in trouble, Sharmell jumped into the ring and hit Benoit with one of Booker T's crutches, causing a disqualification. Not realizing what she had done, Benoit was now one step closer to becoming United States Champion. Booker T still leads the series, though, 3-2. Benoit's celebration was very short-lived, as Orton laid out the Rabid Wolverine with an RKO.

Earlier in the evening, JBL came to the ring and said that he no longer has matches -- he just sends messages. He said that he would send a message regardless of who the opponent was. Matt Hardy answered the challenge, hungry for revenge from Armageddon. Hardy was able to connect with a top rope leg drop, but had a twist of Fate blocked. JBL looked primed for a comeback but was distracted when The Boogeyman made a surprise appearance. JBL and Jillian cowered from the bizarre newcomer, as he chomped on a fresh batch of worms. The self-proclaimed Wrestling God and his image consultant retreated through the crowd, giving Matt Hardy a win via disqualification.

Lashley continued his path of destruction on SmackDown as well. Lashley squared off against Sylvan, and after an offensive flurry, Sylvan retreated in fear that he would be hit in his beautiful face again causing him to lose via countout.

Plus, Psicosis & Super Crazy of The Mexicools picked up huge win over The Dicks. SmackDown's No. 1 announcer Funaki also interviewed Cruiserweight Champion Kid Kash. Kash said that he was the greatest Cruiserweight Champion of all time and left Funaki laying on the stage after the Dead Level.

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