On a pivotal edition of Friday Night SmackDown, World Champion Rey Mysterio responded to last week's ambush from King Booker with a sneak attack of his own and then followed it up by defeating a valued member of the King's Court in William Regal. Also, another member of the King's court, Finlay, walked away with the U.S. Championship, and Batista stood toe-to-toe with Mark Henry, all as SmackDown closes in on The Great American Bash.
As first reported on WWE.com, last week during SmackDown, World Champion Rey Mysterio was ambushed backstage by his Great American Bash challenger, King Booker. The attack left the champ face down on the arena pavement as the King made an unnoticed escape.
This week, Rey Mysterio turned the tables and gave King Booker a taste of his own medicine. The No. 1 contender was addressing the Minneapolis fans, promising that Rey's "fairy tale dreams" would come to an end at the Bash. Seconds later, Mysterio's music played, prompting the Target Center crowd to rise to its feet. As King Booker turned his attention towards the entrance way, expecting Rey to appear from behind the curtain, the World Champion came through the crowd and crashed the ring, engaging in his own form of guerrilla warfare as he laid waste to the disheveled King and his court. (watch Rey's attack)
Later, Mysterio took advantage of another opportunity to extract revenge on the King's court when he took on William Regal in non-title action. Prior to the match, King Booker joined JBL and Michael Cole to provide royal commentary and even do a little scouting on his Great American Bash opponent.
The match itself was every bit as intense as expected. Regal used his technical expertise to control the Champion early on, using a variety of takedowns to keep the high flyer in check. After recording several near falls, Regal became frustrated and provided the opening that the resilient Champion needed to take control of the match for good. In the midst of the rally, Booker tried to interfere, but instead was the recipient of a blow to the head, allowing Rey the time he needed to put Regal down for the count. Mysterio used a 619 and a springboard splash to record the pinfall and score a victory on Regal and the Court. (watch the video)
After the match, Mysterio added injury to insult, leveling King Booker with a ringpost 619 and seated senton off the apron as a helpless Queen Sharmell looked on. When it was all said and done, Mysterio's message to the Court was loud and clear, the underdog Champion is not yet ready for his impossible dream to end.
In other big news, General Manager Theodore Long made a huge announcement regarding Batista and Mark Henry's match at the Great American Bash, and at the same time, let it be known that he would not tolerate any physicality between the two during their SmackDown contract signing.
"Both of these men deserve to be the No. 1 contender to the World Championship," said the General Manager. "On July 23rd at the Great American Bash, the winner of the Batista vs. Mark Henry match will go on to meet the World Champion at SummerSlam."
Long continued, running down the ground rules for the contract signing.
"Now, if either Batista or Mark Henry do as much as lay a hand on each other…they will be watching SummerSlam from home, and you can believe that playa."
The contract signing however, was not void of confrontation. After Batista and Henry exchanged words, The World's Strongest Man threw the clipboard at the former Champion, lighting a fuse in the Animal who in turn destroyed the table which was used for the signing. (watch the chaos)
Prior to the chaos, Batista addressed the audience and warned everyone of the beating that awaits Mark Henry at the Bash.
"If Mark Henry thinks that what happened to him last week was payback, that was nothing," said the Animal. "It was a small taste, a sample compared to what I'm going to do to you at The Great American Bash."
In other events related to The Great American Bash, Daivari and The Great Khali demanded that Undertaker give them a sign to show he's not afraid of the giant Punjabi monster. As the old phrase goes, "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it." Khali and Daivari got a response when the lights went out and Undertaker was revealed to be standing in the middle of the ring, making his first appearance since Judgment Day. At first, Daivari was unimpressed, prompting the Taker to send a message of a different kind. The Deadman rasied his arms to the sky, and sent a lightning bolt crashing to the floor, just feet in front of The Great Khali. While the message was clearly sent, Khali did not appear intimidated. What will happen in nine days when the two will meet in the mysteriously dangerous Punjabi Prison Match? (watch Taker appear)
While William Regal had a tough go of things on SmackDown, another member of the King's Court had a royal night. Finlay, who will be a part of the Triple Threat Match at the Bash, defeated Lashley to capture the United States Championship. Lashley appeared to have the match in hand, at times manhandling the fighting Irishman, causing him to retreat to the ringside area out of frustration. While there, Finlay created the distraction that led to the downfall of the Champion.
In a fit of rage, Finlay threw several chairs, and his trusty shillelagh into the ring. The shillelagh however, made its way into Lashley's hands, who in turn threw the implement down the runway to the SmackDown set. When Finlay returned to the ring, Lashley was waiting with a chair, but before he had a chance to use it, the referee intervened and confiscated the weapon. The distraction allowed Finlay's Little Bastard to emerge from under the apron and toss a second shillelagh into the ring. With the referees attention focused elsewhere, Finlay hit Lashley with the object and made the cover for the victory. Just nine days from the Bash, the complexion of the Triple Threat Match has taken a dramatic turn. (watch Finlay capture the Championship)
This week's SmackDown was also the site of the first day of competition in the 2006 edition of the $250,000 Diva Search. The aspiring Divas participated in the Bikini Boot Camp, hosted by WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter. For full coverage of this week's contest, click Here.
In related news, Ambassador-at-large to Quebec, Sylvan was back to enlighten viewers on the splendor of North America's greatest treasure, Quebec. The French speaking representative told viewers that no matter how stunning the Divas are, they don't compare to the beauty of Quebec. As always, Sylvan declared his homeland to be "an island of tranquility, in a truculent world." (watch Sylvan's speech)
In other events from this week's SmackDown, Mr. Kennedy took on fan-favorite Matt Hardy. The match was as hard fought as any in recent memory, with both participants showing an aggressive attitude that is synonymous with the SmackDown brand. In the end, Hardy recorded the win, sending Kennedy to his first singles loss since arriving on the WWE scene.
Also, Kristal's newfound negative outlook continued this week. Kristal was heard backstage badmouthing Ashley. She told Michelle McCool that any one of the participants in the Diva Search would be "10 times better than Ashley". Last year's Diva Search winner was quick to respond, as her and Jillian confronted Kristal and McCool. The argument quickly escalated and turned physical when Ashley slapped Kristal, setting off a four-way catfight that left the backstage area in shambles. At Saturday Night's Main Event, the four SmackDown Divas will be participants in the first ever 10-Diva Bikini Bull Riding Contest.
On SmackDown, it was announced that Paul London & Brian Kendrick will defend their Tag Team Championship against The Pitbulls at The Great American Bash. In a preview of that contest, Jamie Noble used help from his partner Kid Kash to come out victorious in his match with one half of the tag team champs, Paul London.
The Great American Bash
Saturday Night's Main Event