Challenge from the grave
On a fast-paced Friday night, The Great Khali ruined a classic encounter between a Champion King and a Phenom, Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio dramatically clashed, Lashley returned to the ring in a big way, and Batista relieved three weeks of frustration when he took out the obnoxious Mr. Kennedy, all on another action-filled edition of SmackDown.
Friday's main event presented a blockbuster of royal proportions. His majesty, the World Heavyweight Champion King Booker, took on WWE's resident Deadman Undertaker in what many fans would call a dream match. King Booker, who achieved immortality when he captured the Championship at The Great American Bash, has been thrown right into the fire since taking the gold and Friday was his toughest test to date. Undertaker, who made a rare SmackDown appearance was looking to make a statement, and that's exactly what he did.
Still riding the momentum from his win in the Punjabi Prison Match at the Bash, the Phenom used his advantage in size and strength to push the King around and at several times appeared to be on the verge of taking the "royal splendor" right out of the Champ. The resilient King Booker however was not discouraged as he fought back, displaying the determination that got him to where he is today and is required of any reigning Champion. The decorated veterans relied on their years of experience and 10 World Championships between them to give the Meadowlands crowd their money's worth and more.
As the match reached its boiling point, Undertaker seemed poised to put the nail in the coffin, drilling King Booker with a trademark chokeslam. However, before Taker could go for the cover, The Great Khali came through the curtain and interrupted the match. His involvement forced the referee to call for the bell, in effect putting a halt to what should have been one of the more memorable matches in recent SmackDown history.
Khali and Undertaker exchanged blows, with the Phenom holding his own and forcing the Punjabi warrior from the ring. Seconds later, Undertaker took the microphone and made a grave challenge. (watch the video)
"Great Khali," said the Phenom. "You…me…SummerSlam…Last Man Standing."
Khali did not respond to the offer on SmackDown, but with all that has gone down between these two monsters, a Last Man Standing match at SummerSlam would be nothing short of an all-out combat.
In other huge SmackDown news, Chavo Guerrero finally went on the record to address his startling actions at The Great American Bash. There, he interfered in Rey Mysterio's World Championship match and nearly took his close friend's head off with a chair, allowing King Booker to make the pin and take the gold. Friday night, an emotional Chavo Guerrero made some stunning accusations.
"Rey Mysterio betrayed me," said a serious Chavo. "Rey Mysterio is a thief. Let me tell you what he stole. He tried to steal the spotlight, my spotlight. He did everything he could to tie himself to Eddie Guerrero because Rey couldn't stand on his own two feet. I saved you from losing your title over and over. He used the Guerrero name… I'm the Guerrero Rey, not you. Rey, you didn't just steal Eddie from me, you didn't just steal him from the Guerrero family, you stole the memory of Eddie from each and every one of those people out there. You're nothing but a leech living off the blood of the Guerrero name."
By the time Chavo finished his rant, Rey had heard enough and stormed the ring. The men who were once the closest of friends engaged in fisticuffs which were only broken up when Vickie Guerrero, the widow of the legendary Eddie Guerrero, intervened. Vickie bravely stepped between the two former allies and yelled "enough, enough!" as Rey and Chavo backed off. On Smackdown, what was once an unbreakable relationship between close friends turned into a bitter family squabble in a matter of minutes. (watch the video)
Over the last few weeks, Mr. Kennedy has narrowly escaped the unrelenting grasp of Batista. Using his ring savvy, and a whole lot of luck, Kennedy reeled off two consecutive victories over The Animal. At the Bash, it was a DQ, and last week, it was a count-out, but this week on SmackDown, The Animal finally got his prey.
In their two previous encounters, built-up frustration caused Batista to be overaggressive, and he suffered the consequences. On this night, The Animal's aggression led to a definitive and dominating win over his cocky and annoying opponent. Batista put Kennedy away in convincing fashion, dropping the Green Bay native with the spinebuster and then the signature Batista Bomb. After the match, Michael Cole caught up with Batista to congratulate him on his hard fought victory. Batista shook off the accolades and sent a message to SmackDown's top stars: "The only congratulations I want is when I get my Championship back." (watch the video)
This week's show was full of WWE debuts, but it also featured the return of one of SmackDown's hardest hitting Superstars. The return of Lashley overshadowed the third installment of the brutal and now personal battle of former colleagues Finlay and William Regal. The United States Champion, Finlay, was disqualified after he hit Regal with the shillelagh, but the big news was in the events that immediately followed.
Lashley, who was briefly sidelined with an injury rushed the ring and headed for the Champ. He was temporarily slowed when Finlay hit him with the shillelagh, but seconds later, he was able to take out his aggression on Regal. The result was a devastating powerslam that left Regal grounded, and shook the foundation of SmackDown as it's hardest hitting newcomer is officially back. (watch the video)
As previously mentioned, this week's show was full of SmackDown debuts. Last week, the new talent initiative brought in Sylvester Terkay, who bullied his way to victory over Matt Hardy. This week, Terkay's associate Elijah Burke got in the ring at Sylvester's urging and dismantled Scott Wright. The overmatched Wright was menaced both during the match and after. After Burke took recorded the pinfall, Terkay stepped through the ropes to get a piece for himself. The experienced brawler took an already injured Wright apart, rebelling against the theory that you should never kick a man while he's down. (watch the video)
SmackDown also hosted the debut of Michelle McCool's new tag team, whom she referred to as her "Teacher's Pets". The pets, K.C. James & Idol Stevens, had nothing short of an impressive debut as they displayed what looked to be years of tag-team experience in their triumph over Scotty 2 Hotty & Funaki. (watch the video)
General Manager Theodore Long was greeted in his office by another newcomer when Montel Vontavious Porter, also known as M.V.P. dropped by. The dapper young athlete recommended that Long should sign him up for the SmackDown roster and referred him to his agent before departing. With the additions of Terkay, Burke, James & Idol and M.V.P, it certainly seems as though the new talent initiative is in full effect on SmackDown. (meet M.V.P.)
While newcomers were plentiful this week, a familiar old face also graced the ring when Brooklyn Brawler showed up on SmackDown. Fresh off his appearance at ECW on Sci Fi, in which he proved that he wasn't quite as extreme as he once was, Brawler faced off with fellow New Yorker Vito in one-on-one action. The toughest man in a dress kept the hot streak going by taking out the WWE legend. Since donning the dress, Vito is undefeated.
This week, we also got to see exclusive footage of Vito working out at a local gym in his native Brooklyn. (watch the video)
SmackDown wouldn't be complete without a visit from the sexiest women on TV. Diva Search Alumni Ashley and Kristal added another chapter to their blossoming rivalry this week. Kristal, who appears to be overly jealous Ashley for winning the 2005 Diva Search, took the low road by grabbing the tights in her victory over the punk-rock Diva.
And speaking of Divas, the 2006 edition of $250,000 Diva Search continued this week on SmackDown. Each of the aspiring Divas was met with adversity this week when they were pied in their face during confessionals. For a full report on this week's Diva Search happenings… click here.
Besides Batista, another SmackDown Superstar got a taste of revenge on this week's show. Tatanka, who last week was cheated in his match against Quebec's ambassador-at-large Sylvan, was able to turn the tables this time around. The snooty resident of Montreal recorded a questionable victory over Tatanka last week, and then added insult to injury when he threw the Native American warrior's tribal headdress to the ground. This week, he was given a receipt when Tatanka put him away with the Wykea.
It was another huge week for the SmackDown Superstars and next week should be much of the same. You can check out a preview of next week's show by clicking here…
Also don't forget that SmackDown airs every Friday night at 8/7CT, and only on UPN.