SmackDown Kingdom on the line at No Mercy

In a shocking turn of events on Friday Night SmackDown, General Manager Theodore Long did something monumental in WWE: he changed the main event of a pay-per-view days before the event.

At No Mercy this Sunday, instead of a one-on-one match between World Heavyweight Champion King Booker and Lashley, it will now be a Fatal Four Way that includes Batista and Finlay, who were also slated to go head to head in a singles match. The King was the angriest of all four competitors, as the odds have now been stacked against him. The rules of a Fatal Four Way state that whoever gets the pinfall wins the match — meaning the champion doesn't have to be pinned to lose the gold.

This raises questions regarding the King's Royal Court; namely, how can it stay intact with two members battling it out for the gold? On the final SmackDown leading to No Mercy, Finlay was forced to take on King Booker. Instead of laying down for the King, Finlay disobeyed a direct order and chose to fight. Was this the beginning of the erosion of the imperial faction?

The King was so incensed at Teddy Long that when approached him for his thoughts, he mumbled incoherently as he stormed off with his Queen following closely by his side.

Finlay, the grumpy Irishman who rarely breaks so much as a smirk, was also happy after the announcement. Finlay said his glee stemmed from having more people to fight with at No Mercy — although it may test his loyalty towards King Booker and the Royal Court. 

"These guys have no idea what its like to fight. I've been fighting all my life; bred in it; grown up in it; survived in it. This is a walk in the park," said a grinning Finlay. 

Also, how will two friends -- Batista and Lashley -- react when they step into the ring as opponents, not tag team partners? This will be Lashley's first opportunity at SmackDown's biggest prize, and he doesn't intend letting the chance at obtaining gold pass him by.

"My plan was to win the championship before and that's still my plan," said a focused Lashley. "I've had bouts with Finlay and with King Booker, but now I have another bout, and that's with the Animal Batista."

Lashley added: "When you get to the level of winning the World Heavyweight Championship, things change; people change and I know now that I can't trust anybody." 

For Batista, the change to a Fatal Four Way is exactly what he's been waiting for since an injury forced him to relinquish the World Heavyweight Championship last January.  

"This is good news all around," Batista said with a smile. "I still get to get my hands on Finlay and win back the World Heavyweight Championship. I get to kill two birds with one stone, and it was unexpected so it was a pleasant surprise for me."

With these four fierce combatants stuffed into one ring at No Mercy, the Fatal Four Way is a surefire equation for chaos and destruction. Who will walk out with the gold around their waist?

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