YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- In a chain reaction, a connected series of events induces another series of closely linked events, and so on. Sometimes one action produces an equal reaction, sometimes far greater. This past Friday, several SmackDown Superstars were involved in a wild sequence of events -- and they were all created by the flapping of United States Champion MVP's mouth.
After United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter announced that he would not be competing on SmackDown due to a diagnosed (and since treated) heart ailment that required surgery, Matt Hardy found himself in one-on-one action against the ever-dangerous Irishman, Finlay. The North Carolinian Hardy looked to keep his winning ways going after his impressive display last week, defeating MVP in an Arm Wrestling Contest, then getting the better of him before Porter walked out in the middle of their impromptu non-title match.
Friday night's match itself was a clash of in-ring styles -- Matt mixing in speed and savvy, while Finlay relied heavily on his powerful physical attacks. Yet when it looked like the Irishman was poised to steal a victory from Matt, his pint-sized counterpart -- the Cruiserweight Champion of the World, Hornswoggle -- appeared at ringside for a little support. Even more incredibly, an incensed Jamie Noble raced down and pulled the leprechaun champion from the ring. The interference by Noble distracted Finlay, who ran from the ring to protect Hornswoggle, giving Hardy the victory via count-out.
Noble continued to give chase into the locker room, hoping to get his hands on the tiny terror who had already humiliated him in public on three straight occasions. He searched high and mostly low, but Hornswoggle had disappeared. Instead, Noble found Shannon Moore and Funaki, two SmackDown cruiserweights who have seen the humor in Noble's shortcomings against Hornswoggle. As Noble looked for answers as to Hornswoggle's whereabouts, Finlay then confronted him, with a warning to stay away from the Cruiserweight Champion.
Finlay's intensity lead to his own set of problems, however. Slapping a cup of coffee out of Moore's grasp, the Fighting Irishman continued to sternly threaten Noble, not knowing that the scalding coffee had landed on the wrong man -- the Big Red Monster, Kane. The shocked and angered Kane attacked Finlay, tossing him around the bowels of the sold-out Chevrolet Centre.
Still seething from the incident with Finlay minutes later, Kane headed toward the ring to face his SmackDown opponent for the evening, Sylvan. The French-speaking Superstar didn't stand a chance, as the Big Red Machine destroyed Sylvan with a powerful Chokeslam to get the victory. No sooner had Kane been declared the winner, however, when Finlay stormed into the ring and ambushed him. Using the shillelagh like a weapon, the Fighting Irishman pummeled the monster to the canvas, then left the ring as Kane writhed in more pain than he'd experienced in some time.
Clearly, the explosive events of SmackDown will influence more chain reactions in the weeks ahead, leaving even more chaos in their wake.