Kiss Him Goodbye
John Bradshaw Layfield's big mouth backed him into a corner on Friday night, and ended up costing him big time. As a result of his loss to Rey Mysterio, JBL must be a man of his word and leave SmackDown.
JBL came out at the beginning of SmackDown, claiming that Rey Mysterio's win at Judgment Day was a fluke. He told Rey that if he was still a man of his word, he should come out and offer a rematch. The World Champion did come out and said he was indeed a man of his word who would take on all comers; but instead of offering a rematch, he called JBL out for not defending the United States Championship. When the Wrestling God told the World Champion that he would indeed face anybody, Rey used a bit of his JBL's own psychology and introduced Bobby Lashley as his challenger for the United States Championship.
JBL seemed to want nothing to do with the soft-spoken powerhouse, and in the end, that concern would be justified. JBL tried to finish Lashley quickly with the Clothesline From Hell, but the challenger ducked and speared the champion. Three seconds later, Lashley was the new United States Champion. Immediately after the match, JBL barged into Theodore Long's office; he threatened the General Manager, leading Long to threaten JBL with the same fate Melina & Nitro suffered at Judgment Day. When the former champion calmed down slightly, he told Long that Judgment Day was a fluke and he needed a rematch, even claiming that he would walk away and quit if he couldn't beat Mysterio.
For the second time in 30 minutes, JBL's mouth got the best of him. Long immediately made JBL vs. Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship as the main event, with the stipulation that JBL would quit and leave SmackDown if he lost. Before the match, Chavo Guerrero told Rey that he would be in his corner, and in the end, Chavo ended up playing an unwitting role in the end of JBL's SmackDown career.
Bradshaw attacked Rey as he entered the ring, and as Chavo stood on the apron, the challenger sent the champion crashing into his friend. JBL then hit the Clothesline From Hell and covered Rey; the champion got his foot on the ropes, but referee Jim Korderas didn't see it and counted the pinfall. It appeared as though JBL was the new World Heavyweight Champion, but when Korderas saw Rey's foot still on the ropes, he reversed his decision and restarted the match much to JBL's chagrin.
For the rest of the bout, JBL threw everything he had at Mysterio, but somehow the champion would not be held down. JBL loosened a turnbuckle pad at one point, but Korderas saw it and tried to repair the damage. The challenger used the opportunity to send Rey crashing into the referee, knocking him out. After some more chicanery, JBL nailed Rey with a low blow and went to the floor for a chair. Chavo tried to stop him, taking a bullet for Rey when JBL nailed him with the weapon and entered the ring. The challenger stalked Rey in the corner, but the champion avoided his swing and kicked JBL low. With the referee still down, Mysterio nailed JBL with a Tornado DDT on the chair and set him up for the 619. That connected, as did Dropping Da Dime, and somehow Mysterio got the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship and end JBL's SmackDown career. The furious JBL's bad night was then capped off when the crowd serenaded him with a chant of "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye" as the show went off the air.
It also turned out to be a bad night for Chris Benoit. He took on Mark Henry, who had Academy Award-winning rappers Three 6 Mafia perform his theme song live before the match. Benoit tried to chop down the World's Strongest Man during the match, but was unable to do so. In fact, Henry dominated the Rabid Wolverine, escaping several attempts at the Crippler Crossface. In the end, one escape sent Benoit to the floor, where the World's Strongest Man's assault got even more vicious. He set the Rabid Wolverine up against the ringpost, and just like he did to Kurt Angle, Henry repeatedly splashed Benoit into the steel. Referee Nick Patrick stepped in and disqualified Henry, who said he would stop the assault only when he was ready. When it was finally over, Benoit was left bloody and broken in the ring. Henry didn't win the battle but certainly seems to have won the war, seriously injuring yet another top SmackDown Superstar with his vicious power. I have to wonder…who will stop his path of destruction? Or more fittingly, who CAN?
On a more positive note, SmackDown's King was officially crowned. William Regal introduced the 2006 King of the Ring, Booker T, and his wife Sharmell, and they came to the ring on a mobile throne. After Regal sung the praises of the new King, Booker was crowned by Sharmell. In his first royal decree, King Booker introduced Sharmell as the new Queen and said that they would rule with an iron fist, proclaiming that all the SmackDown Superstars would bow down to their monarch. Well Booker, as one of your "loyal subjects," I'd just like to congratulate you on not injuring yourself during the coronation.
Speaking of honorable men, Tatanka made his return to SmackDown after being initiated into the Lakota tribe. In his return, the Native American Warrior defeated Simon Dean. Tatanka finished off the fitness guru with his new signature move, the "Wykea," which translated from the Lakota language means Thunder. It was the first step in a new journey for Tatanka, who will carry the strength, honor and pride of the Lakota with him on SmackDown.
New WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London & Brian Kendrick also had a good night, defeating Nunzio & Vito in a non-title match. Before the bout, Nunzio had to make sure Vito's mind wasn't wandering from all the allegations of his cross-dressing activities. Once they got to the ring it was all business, but they couldn't stop the roll of the new champions. In their first match since capturing the gold, the high-flying champions got the win when Kendrick finished Nunzio off with his signature Sliced Bread No. 2.
And while it was learned that Mr. Kennedy will soon be returning to SmackDown, a new…um, creature made his first appearance. After Finlay easily defeated Paul Burchill, he rolled outside the ring and pulled up the apron. There was a green light glowing, and a little man dressed in all green rolled out with a crazy look on his face. He ran around in a crazy rage, grabbing Finlay's shillelagh and nailing Burchill with it. Finlay then slammed the little guy onto Burchill before rolling to the floor and tossing him back under the ring. Michael Cole & Tazz didn't quite know what to make of the situation, although I think it's nice that Finlay seems to have his own Mini-Me.
ECW even had a presence this week. It was announced earlier this week on WWE.com that ECW would be returning in June, and ECW mastermind Paul Heyman was in the house for SmackDown. During the show, Heyman came into Theodore Long's office while Matt Hardy was there and the three exchanged pleasantries. Paul tried to make nice with Theodore by saying he was only scouting the competition, but the GM wasn't having it. He told Heyman "I don't like you, I don't trust you, and I don't want you snooping around in my locker room," to which Paul said it was just business.
Whatever the case may be, there are already three former SmackDown Superstars (Melina, Johnny Nitro and now JBL) looking for work these days, so everyone should probably be a little more careful.