CHICAGO -- Fans at the Allstate Arena got a taste of the intensity to come in just 16 days at WrestleMania XXIV as the SmackDown Superstars collided in the ring, on the unforgiving concrete arena floor, and within a 15-foot-high steel cage. There is no doubt, The Granddaddy of Them All is near.
Since his comeback, Big Show has continued to demolish any opponent who has dared get in the ring with the 7-foot, 430-pound giant. Friday was no different in a match against two Superstars, as the "World's Largest Athlete" dispatched Shannon Moore with a direct punch to the head, followed by an effortless pin using his size-22 boot. Next, in what is becoming a common occurrence, the goliath pressed Jimmy Wang Yang overhead and tossed him to the arena floor to cap off his exhibition of force. After Floyd "Money" Mayweather suffered the same fate on Raw (WATCH), the boxing champion must be asking himself if the risk is going to be worth the reward when he does battle with Big Show in "The Biggest and The Best" at WrestleMania.
Speaking of the almighty dollar, the opportunity for the last spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania was enough to turn friend into foe as WWE Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz battled each other on SmackDown. A swinging neckbreaker from Morrison allowed him to pin his teammate, The Miz. (WATCH) With Morrison earning the final spot in Money in the Bank, the stage is now set for one of WWE's most coveted opportunities on The Grandest Stage of Them All. More on The Money in the Bank Ladder Match…
After finally beating The Animal by count-out one week earlier, United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter battled Batista in a No Holds Barred Title Match. The back-and-forth struggle for dominance included steel chairs, a chokehold with a neckchain, and a slam to the exposed concrete arena floor. But, the odds quickly shifted when Raw's Umaga inserted himself into the match and delivered a vicious Samoan Spike to The Animal. His sneak attack left the door open for MVP to capitalize on the fallen Batista and get the pinfall. (WATCH)
Earlier in the week, Batista paid a visit to Raw where he delivered a spear to Umaga. (WATCH) After a tumultuous week, both Superstars will be looking to settle the score when they battle for brand supremacy, SmackDown vs. Raw, at WrestleMania.
Father knows best
While Friday was family night for some, Finlay choked back emotion as he updated fans on his son Hornswoggle's condition following a recent brutal assault from JBL. For payback for the initial injury -- as well as ruthlessly slapping Hornswoggle during a hospital visit -- the Fighting Irishman vowed to deliver a beating to JBL at WrestleMania. (WATCH)
Also on SmackDown
Chuck Palumbo & The Great Khali squared off against Kane & Jamie Noble -- who was still nursing injured ribs, courtesy of a Big Show beating last week on SmackDown. Taking advantage of his most vulnerable opponent, Khali slammed Noble to the mat and got the easy pinfall. The match offered a preview of what is to come at WrestleMania, as all four Superstars will be part of a special 24-Man Battle Royal, featuring members of Raw, ECW and SmackDown. The winner of the over-the-top rope encounter will receive an ECW Title Match that same night against ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero.
Plus, the SmackDown Diva Contest continued on Friday -- hosted by Playboy cover girl and Chicago's own, Maria. After learning that Maryse was eliminated based on your votes, the remaining Divas competed in an obstacle course, with Michelle McCool taking first place. (WATCH) More on this competition…
Safety in numbers
SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero stacked the deck even more in favor of her lover, World Heavyweight Champion Edge, by changing the scheduled 3-on-2 Handicap Steel Cage Match to a 4-on-2 brawl by announcing ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero would join the Ultimate Opportunist's team. Along with Guerrero & Edge, Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder helped relentlessly punish Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. After the Rated-R Superstar's team wore down HBK and beat Flair to a bloody pulp, Undertaker emerged within the steel cage to shift the balance of power, but Edge still managed to find the ultimate opportunity. (WATCH) Read the full story...