Chaos in the Kingdom
There was more upheaval in the King's Court this week, and between a ghost-like leprechaun, an enraged Animal and a man in a dress, things are looking more like Spamalot than Camelot for King Booker and his SmackDown subjects. Bobby Lashley defeated Finlay to become No. 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship and Batista exacted revenge on the Irish brawler for last week's assault. Also, the Chavo-Vickie Guerrero business partnership once again distracted Rey Mysterio from regaining his freewheeling disposition, and King Booker found out who his unlikely opponent will be when SmackDown premieres on CW next week.
As SmackDown began, Finlay strode through the curtain with the microphone in one hand and what appeared to be his trusty friend Little Bastard in the other. On this night, however, the little guy was covered with some sort of sheet, and Finlay tried to keep him subdued while he delivered his much-anticipated explanation of the brutal assault he delivered to Batista last week.
After watching the beating, Finlay told the SmackDown fans in Worcester, Mass., "Don't expect Batista to be here tonight. Batista's probably hiding in a little dark hole licking his wounds, or he may be in a hospital eating his dinner through a straw. You thought Batista was a superman. Well, to me, Batista is not even a man."
The irate Irishman was interrupted by a surly Bobby Lashley. The two have had more than their share of brawls since The Great American Bash back in July, but as Lashley disrupted Finlay, no one in attendance could have guessed that just moments later, their most important match yet would be announced.
"Only someone like you would jump Batista from his back with that shillelagh. That's not an act of bravery, that's an act of cowardice," Lashley scolded. "You say you're Irish, well your luck just ran out."
Lashley couldn't have known that his words would in fact ring true, but SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long appeared instantly to confirm the prediction. The charismatic GM declared that Lashley and Finlay would go head to head to determine the No. 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, to be defended by King Booker at No Mercy on October 8 in Raleigh, NC.
The crowd erupted into a frenzy as the ramifications of this match were almost immediately clear. Finlay has been instrumental to King Booker's success, ever-ready with shillelagh in hand to take care of the King's opponents. The Irishman was even knighted by King Booker just weeks ago along with Sir William Regal. But how could he hope to serve his King and defend himself in the No. 1 Contender Match?
Both Sir William Regal and King Booker himself asked Finlay that very question in separate locker room area encounters, both of which ended in similar fashion. Each time he was asked what he would do in the event that he was to face King Booker for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Mercy, and each time he replied that he would simply do what he loves to do and what he does best: fight and win. Despite King Booker's warning that the Court must not be divided and conquered, Finlay's most unwavering loyalty proved to be to himself, as he was not afraid to turn his back on the King's Court and walk away as his match was about to begin. King Booker was clearly now between a rock and a hard place. He would either face Bobby Lashley, who has proven to have The King's number, or Finlay, who put to rest any questions of whether he would intentionally lose the Championship match in a show of loyalty to his King.
As the match began, King Booker was between a God and a hard case, as he joined JBL and Michael Cole at ringside for commentary. He revealed that he would accept an invitation from Paul Heyman to appear on ECW on Sci Fi. Why he was invited and, more importantly, why he would ever agree to attend are questions that we will have to wait until Tuesday to be resolved. However, the issue of the new No. 1 contender was resolved decisively by Bobby Lashley.
At the end of a fiercely competed contest, Finlay's Little Bastard tossed the shillelagh into the ring, allowing Finlay to land a cheap shot on Lashley. The ref caught the assault, though, and disqualified Finlay, making Lashley the No. 1 Contender for King Booker's gold. Following the disqualification, Finlay received a shocking visit. The Irishman had declared that Batista was not in the building, but The Animal was present and pissed as ever, and he proved it by rushing to ringside and chasing Finlay out of the arena. King Booker then jumped into the ring and attacked Lashley, hoping to do to him what Finlay had done to Batista last week. His plan also backfired as he was victimized by a spear, leaving a triumphant Lashley looming large in the ring. As Lashley stood tall, the question had to be asked: Could we be looking at the new World Heavyweight Champion at No Mercy? (Watch)
Crisis in the King's Court was preceded by more crisis for Rey Mysterio, despite the fact that he appeared to have finally shaken the emotional burden of Chavo and Vickie Guerrero's betrayal. Rey entered the arena alongside his son, Dominick, appearing rested and upbeat. Perhaps Dominick's presence would be just what Rey needed to regain his composure.
As Rey made his way to the ring to face United States Champion Mr. Kennedy, he indeed seemed excited as ever. Having left Dominick with the words, "Daddy's gonna go tear the house down," Rey was all smiles as he greeted his adoring SmackDown fans and clowned with members of the audience. Mysterio was finally looking like his old self until a disturbing image appeared unexpectedly on the TitanTron -- Chavo and Vickie Guerrero had entered Rey's private dressing room where Dominick was preparing to watch his father's match. Suddenly, Rey's apparent exuberance shifted drastically to apprehension and doubt. The smile we had waited so long for Rey to regain reverted just as quickly as it had come, back to the uneasy countenance of disbelief that WWE fans had seen Mysterio wear throughout the recent family crisis that has disrupted his life both in and out of the ring. Now distracted by the actions of the Guerrero business partnership, Rey fought bravely against Mr. Kennedy and even connected on the 6-1-9, but the result was much the same as last week when Rey's emotions distracted him from delivering a peak performance. After fighting back against Mr. Kennedy's onslaught, Rey nearly scored a pin fall when, without warning or explanation, Chavo and Vickie appeared with Dominick at the top of the stage. This distracted Rey just long enough for the ever-opportunistic Mr. Kennedy to score the cover and the victory. Just when it had looked as though Rey Mysterio was finally ready to move on with his life, his emotions were again overcome by chaos. (Watch)
Was Chavo and Vickie Guerrero's interaction with Dominick simply another psychological ploy to distract and break the spirit of Rey Mysterio? We may not find out the answer, but Rey and Chavo will get a chance to settle the issue in the ring, as we learned that they will square off next week as SmackDown makes its long-awaited debut on the new CW network.
Speaking of mind games, Vito got one over on Sir William Regal in a big way. After threatening to sue Vito for sexual harassment in order to avoid fighting him last week, Regal agreed to drop those charges this week in order to redeem himself for losing to the toughest man in a dress two weeks ago. Both competitors fought like men, but it was an opportunistic Vito who picked up the victory, rolling Regal over and once again exposing him to his "ghastly undercarriage." Following the defeat, Regal wore a truly priceless ghastly expression -- just imagine walking in on Umaga and Mae Young getting freaky in the locker room and your face might mirror that of Sir Regal's.
After the match, Vito got some more good news as he interrupted a conversation between Long and King Booker. The King was disgusted by what he called an "unsightly maiden," to which Vito replied, "I'm all man." Always eager to capitalize on such altercations, Long announced that next week, on the season premiere of SmackDown on CW, Vito will go one on one with King Booker. An already shocked King Booker was further appalled when Vito celebrated the announcement by showing off his own jewels and scepter.
While King Booker called Vito a "freak," SmackDown's newest Superstar is quickly showing that his performance is anything but a freak coincidence. He may have been just another reality star, but after just three matches, The Miz is proving that he could become a true force in sports-entertainment. In his first two matches, The Miz has showed signs of skill, flashes of great athletic ability and even a bit of a mean streak. In his third match, he continued his impressive undefeated streak by defeating seasoned ring veteran Scotty 2 Hotty. The newcomer continued to look impressive and as passionate as any WWE Superstar, celebrating throughout the match and battling with Scotty before finishing the match with a swinging neck-breaker he has dubbed, "The Miz-ard of Oz." Love him or hate him, The Miz is still undefeated, and he's not going anywhere.
We also heard from Montel Vontavius Porter this week, as he appeared in a public service advertisement paid for by his "Worldwide Fan Base." Last week, MVP sent a fax to WWE.com addressing the issue of his extended holdout. In his commercial on SmackDown, MVP followed up the fax by declaring that it was not him, but Long who was causing the problem.
An irate MVP snapped, "Teddy Long, last week when you disrespected me, you almost made me lose my cool. What you need to do is bring the cheddar to make SmackDown more better. You need to bring MVP to SmackDown." (Watch) Will we finally see MVP in action when SmackDown premieres on CW next week?
The tag team division also continued to impress, although it was the champs Brian Kendrick and Paul London who once again walked away victorious. In an intriguing Triple Threat Match, Kendrick took on one member of each of his and London's rival teams: Kid Kash of the Pitbulls and Idol Stevens, who was joined by partner KC James and Michelle McCool at ringside. Over the past few weeks, London and Kendrick have had every possible combination of their tag team rivals and have won every time. Things were no different on SmackDown as Kendrick emerged with the victory, offering further proof that his and London's impressive run as Tag Team Champions is no fluke.
Another rivalry continued as Matt Hardy once again faced Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms. One week after screwing Hardy out of a victory over The Miz, Helms was up to more underhanded treachery, landing a low blow on Hardy to steal a win.