Fired-up for Florida
CLEVELAND -- With WrestleMania just 23 days away, the SmackDown Superstars have started stepping up their game in preparation for the biggest event in sports-entertainment.
Perhaps broadcasting the strongest message is the "World's Largest Athlete," Big Show, who continues to destroy all in his path to WrestleMania and his bout with boxing champion Floyd Mayweather. On Monday Night Raw, he tossed around a local boxer like he was a rag doll. (WATCH) Then on Friday Night SmackDown, a low blow from Jamie Noble in his match against the goliath enraged the giant. Awarded the victory by DQ, Big Show showed his pugilistic skills by demolishing his diminutive opponent with a series of body blows, leaving him a quivering, bloody ball in the ring. (WATCH)
"The Biggest and The Best" match-up between the 7-foot, 430-pound athlete and the undefeated boxing champion has created quite a buzz in the boxing community. Recently, trainer Freddie Roach, ring announcer Michael Buffer, and boxing legend Thomas "Hitman" Hearns all weighed-in on the bout. (WATCH)
U.S. Championship at stake
Speaking of champions, United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter faced Batista for the gold after several weeks of The Animal earning non-title victories over Porter. Their back-and-forth battle for the gold eventually spilled into the capacity crowd, and MVP saw an opportunity to leave his opponent stranded outside the ring by kicking him onto the announce table. As Batista tried to re-enter the ring he was counted out, giving MVP the win and a successful title defense.
As announced in a WWE.com exclusive, there will be a No Holds Barred title rematch between the champion and Batista next week on SmackDown. At WrestleMania, The Animal will face Umaga in the SmackDown vs. Raw Match. (More) Will he represent SmackDown as the new United States Champion?
Clash of the titans
In a battle of SmackDown's big men, Kane faced off against Chuck Palumbo. Earlier in the week on ECW, Palumbo kept a watchful eye over Kane by stalking him around the ring on his motorcycle during the Big Red Monster's match. On SmackDown, Palumbo matched up well and held his own against Kane, but in the end, it was the Big Red Machine who walked away with a victory after chokeslamming and pinning the motorcycle-ridin' Palumbo.
Diva Swimsuit Competition
Divas Eve, Cherry, Maryse, Victoria and Michelle McCool delighted our fans with an in-ring swimsuit competition. But as the competitive juices started flowing, things heated up and got physical among the Divas. (WATCH) Stay tuned to SmackDown as one Diva will be eliminated each week according to your votes. (More)
Despite her strong showing in the Swimsuit Competition, one contest McCool seemed happy to be out of was the one for Jamie Noble's affection. Earlier in the evening, the two spoke backstage. At first, Noble arrogantly presumed McCool was interested in a relationship with Noble. But, as he went on to explain he couldn't be a "one woman man," McCool saw the opportunity to end the relationship before it started and was in agreement with his decision. As Noble walked away, a look of relief came over McCool's face.
Also on SmackDown
And, in tag action, CM Punk, Jesse & Festus defeated ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero & WWE Tag Team Champions The Miz & John Morrison in a Six-Man Tag Team Match.
In addition to the Playboy BunnyMania Lumberjack Match, the list of beautiful women appearing at WrestleMania got even hotter as it was announced on SmackDown that Playboy cover girl Kim Kardashian will be a guest hostess at WrestleMania. (More)
Three against The Phenom
In a prelude to the big WrestleMania title confrontation between World Heavyweight Champion Edge and Undertaker, The Phenom had to face the champion and his minions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match set up by SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. In the end, the Ultimate Opportunist found a way to use the three-man format to his advantage and pin Undertaker for the shocking victory. (WATCH)
Earlier in the night, the champion hosted an edition of The Cutting Edge with special guest, 2008 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Ric Flair. Things got confrontational between the two with Flair calling Edge's relationship with Guerrero a sham and a scam. (WATCH) To settle the score, a 3-on-1 Steel Cage Handicap Match is set for next week on SmackDown between Edge, Hawkins & Ryder and Flair. Read the full story...