Something to Celebrate

It was a night of celebration as Friday Night SmackDown emanated from St. Louis this week.

After being postponed from a week earlier, JBL held his United States Championship celebration. Jillian came out first, leading a marching band and introducing JBL. However, when JBL got to the ring, he berated Jillian for putting together a second-rate celebration; he then kicked the marching band out of the arena, and after berating Jillian for making another mistake, JBL fired her on the spot.

JBL then went on to talk about how he was a true American hero, and said that the fans live through him because they can't live the American dream like he does. JBL then said that he is America, and represents the people because only illegal immigrants accept Rey Mysterio as their champion. JBL claimed he would take his championship to England next week, and then when he was finished there, challenged the winner of next week's World Heavyweight Championship match between Mysterio and Kurt Angle.

Angle then made his way out, telling JBL that he won an Olympic Gold Medal for America, and compared to him, JBL sucked. Angle then told JBL that Mysterio was a better champion than he ever would be; however, Angle said he would win the gold next week and accepted JBL's challenge. This brought out Mysterio, who told Angle that while he respected him and looked forward to the match, the championship wasn't going anywhere.

JBL then berated Rey and Angle, saying the mutual respect was making him sick. He turned to Mysterio, saying the World Heavyweight Championship was bigger than he was. JBL then insulted Rey, calling to him in Spanish and saying that he couldn't see Rey behind the gold. Rey responded by kicking JBL in the knee, and Angle swooped in to deliver an Angle Slam. Rey followed with a 619 on the United States Champion, and Mysterio and Angle stared down as JBL rolled out of the ring.

Also this week, Booker T had reason to celebrate, as he defeated Matt Hardy to advance in the King of the Ring tournament. Early in the match, the two men battled back and forth until Hardy missed a moonsault press. Booker worked him over, but when Hardy came back and tried a Twist of Fate, Booker pushed him away; Sharmell was on the apron, and she pulled down the ropes, causing Hardy to spill to the floor.

Booker then took it to Hardy, but Matt came back with a reverse DDT. Booker managed to avoid a kick and hit the Bookend, but did the Spinaroony instead of covering. Hardy then avoided a Scissors Kick and hit the Side Effect; however, Sharmell jumped up on the apron again, and as Hardy went for the Twist of Fate, Booker gave him a low blow behind the referee's back. Booker then hit the Scissors Kick to get the pin, advancing to face Kurt Angle in the semi-finals.

Paul London & Brian Kendrick also had a good night, as London defeated Joey Mercury in singles action to mark London & Kendrick's third straight win over MNM. Mercury took control early in the match by pushing London off the ropes and to the floor, nearly causing London to be counted out. From there, Mercury tried everything to put London away, even using Melina & Nitro to help him out. However, after London was tossed over the top rope, he managed to skin the cat back into the ring and catch Mercury with a reverse hurricanrana for a close two count. London then hit a suicide dive onto Nitro on the floor, but Mercury responded by tossing Kendrick into London. Back in the ring, as London was down, Mercury taunted him by signaling for a Snapshot. As he bent down, however, London rolled him up in a cradle, getting a three count for the upset victory.

Finally, as Paul Burchill celebrated his buccaneer heritage, he made William Regal do so as well. Throughout the night, Burchill gave Regal a series of outfits to try on, including a teddy bear costume, a chicken suit and a gorilla suit. When they came out for their tag team match against The Gymini, however, Regal was dressed as a fellow buccaneer. Burchill quickly got control of the match and tagged Regal in, and Regal was less than happy about it. The Gymini quickly assaulted Regal, but when he made a comeback, Burchill refused to tag and walk away. Burchill's actions caused Regal to be left as easy prey, and The Gymini finished him off with the Cross Trainer for the victory.

One man who didn't have reason to celebrate, however, was The Miz. The Miz came to make his SmackDown debut, wanting to crash JBL's party. However, as he tried to enter the building, network executive Palmer Cannon stopped him. Cannon said the network found The Miz crude, offensive and uncouth, and as far as the network was concerned, The Miz was cancelled. Cannon then ordered security to escort The Miz from the property.

Also on SmackDown, Chris Benoit & Bobby Lashley defeated Finlay & Orlando Jordan. Benoit went for the Crippler Crossface on Jordan early in the match, but Finlay broke it up, and he and Jordan spent the match working over Benoit's left arm. Benoit finally escaped by nailing Jordan with a German suplex. The Rabid Wolverine then tagged Lashley, who cleaned house; as Benoit hit a suicide dive onto Finlay on the floor, Lashley quickly nailed Jordan with a spear and the Dominator to pick up the victory.

Plus, The Great Khali made his in-ring debut, destroying Funaki in short order.

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