March 24, 2006
Smackdown: Orton runs wild
By ANDY McNAMARA - SLAM! Wrestling
Saturday Night's Main Event is behind us and WrestleMania 22 is only nine days away with much still to be decided. For one, the final spot in the Money in the Bank match will be decided tonight in a Battle Royal! Also, a Royal Rumble rematch will take place when the World champ, Kurt Angle, takes on Mark Henry. That should be a hard-hitting slug fest and who knows what other mayhem will take place this evening. Enough talk, enough stalling, from Memphis, here comes Smackdown!
Randy Orton kicks things off and changes up his entrance to the ring by popping out of the ramp like Rey Mysterio. The Legend Killer recaps Saturday Night's Main Event when Rey interfered in his pin attempt on John Cena. He goes on to say that Mysterio and Angle are jealous of his good looks and his in-ring talent. Orton finishes off the segment by claiming that he will be the next World Heavyweight Champion.
Match 1: Money in the Bank Last Chance Battle Royal
After a recap of Finlay and Matt Hardy's qualifying for the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania all the superstars make their way down to the ring for this battle royal. Of course the winner of the Money in the Bank contest gains a title shot opportunity any time they want in the next year. Before the rumble starts Animal saunters to the war zone yelling at everyone that he is better than everyone and should already be in the Money in the Bank matchup. The bell rings and all the Smackdown Superstars toss The Road Warrior out immediately! After that the teamwork stops and it is every man for themselves, with Scotty Too Hotty and Kid Kash soon to follow. Paul Burchill (who's pirate gimmick is growing on me) takes out Nunzio, and then Lashley completes the hat trick by eliminating Simon Dean and the Gyminis. Orlando Jordan and Sylvain are simultaneously thrown over the top on opposite ends the ring. While Kendrick and Noble were struggling, Johnny Nitro sneaks up to eliminate the pair. After Burchill gets rid of Super Crazy, Tatanka chops over Burchill. The final four are Bobby Lashley, both members of MNM, and Tatanka -- so help me if Tatanka wins... MNM delivers The Snapshot on Lashley and are trying to throw the big man out, when Tatanka jumps in for the save and is running wild. The Native American is dominating when Nitro pulls down the rope, sending Tatanka flying and out of this match. Now it is only Nitro, Mercury, and Lashley remaining. A unique double half crab is being applied on Lashley by both MNM members, but Bobby powers out and starts whipping around the duo. Lashley gorilla presses Mercury onto Nitro sending both men over and out. The winner and going to WrestleMania for the Money in the Bank match is Bobby Lashley!
WINNER: Bobby Lashley
Bradshaw joins Krystal after video footage of Stone Cold Stunning him is shown. JBL wants revenge on Benoit for his interference. Bradshaw says he can't wrestle The Crippler tonight since Austin broke his nose, so he has recruited William Regal to take on Benoit tonight.
Highlights of Undertaker taking out Daivari at SNME is played and cameras cut to Mark Henry who predicts that he will end Taker's winning streak. Henry goes on to trash talk Angle, who The World's Strongest Man claims he will take apart tonight.
Match 2: Rey Mysterio vs. Finlay
I think Mysterio is the only guy who can make Finlay look tall! The two start off with some chain wrestling and stiff shots. After a brief flurry Finlay lays out Mysterio with a nasty forearm shot and then proceeds to apply a camel clutch. Rey Rey starts attacking the Irishman from all angles, but Finlay traps Mysterio inbetween the ring apron and the ring. He then kicks the tar out of Rey and continues on his vicious attack. This one has turned into a real war as Mysterio Drops The Dime and scores a near fall. Finlay gets caught with the 619, then goes for his shillelagh. When the referee is distracted with him, Randy Orton sneaks in and nails an RKO as Mysterio was leaping off the top rope! The Irishman is able to crawl over for the cover and pick up the win.
GM Teddy Long struts out to the ring where a table and chairs are set up. Long says that Booker T will face The Boogeyman at WrestleMania, and calls out Booker with Sharmell. Teddy tells Booker that he talked to his doctors and they could not find anything wrong with Book. The general manager tells Booker T to sign the contract to face Boogeyman or else he will be fired. Teddy also declares that he is giving Booker a partner in that contest and it will be a handicap match. The GM then announces that Booker's partner in the Mania match is ... Sharmell! The Book man is infuriated by the decision and Sharmell is in tears as the show cuts to a commercial.
Match 3: Chris Benoit (U.S. Champ) vs. William Regal w/ JBL & Jillian Hall
William Regal pulls up in JBL's limo and is accompanied to ringside by Bradshaw and Jillian Hall. These two have had some great matchups over the years, and in Regal's book he claims to love any match he has with Benoit. The two warriors exchange technical holds and submission maneuvers in the early going. Benoit and Regal are putting on a wrestling clinic here with crisp suplexes, chops, and pretty much anything else you can think of. After struggling valiantly, Regal finally succumbs to the Crippler Crossface. Benoit stares down JBL after the victory.
WINNER: Chris Benoit
Match 4: Main Event- Kurt Angle (World Champ) vs. Mark Henry
We join the action already in progress following the commercial. Henry is taking all of Angle's blows and keeps coming back for more. The big man is in full control now, standing on the Olympic gold medalist's chest and clubs away on that surgically repaired neck. After wearing Angle down with a bear hug, the champion is somehow able to escape with a hip toss and goes on the offensive. Orton runs in to try and jump Angle, but Mysterio comes down for the save. Randy is able to dodge Rey's attack and Mysterio nails Angle! This allows Henry to recover and hit the big splash for the victory. Angle and Mysterio get into an altercation, ending with Rey hitting a 619 on the champion. Orton is laughing on the ramp, and all three WrestleMania main eventers stare each other down as the program finishes for another week.
WINNER: Mark Henry
Andy McNamara writes for SLAM! Wrestling and is a freelance writer. "The Sultan of Smackdown" returns this week after a very successful three-day radio play-by-play broadcasting stint for the CCAA Men's National College Basketball Championships. To hear all 14 hours of his seven-game exhilarating broadcasts go to www.2006nationals.ca. Andy can be contacted at email@example.com.