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Friday Night Smackdown
Friday 2nd January 2009 - Preview!
From the San Diego Sports Arena
San Diego, California
We ended 2008 with a bang with John Cena forfeiting the World Heavyweight Championship, meaning we go into 2009 without a world champion. Cena's predecessor, CM Punk certainly was happy to see the back of 2008, vowing to quit the company last week and put Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley 'to sleep' if she crosses him again. He'll be hoping that 2009, and specifically the Royal Rumble in just over two weeks makes up for the controversial end to the year at Night of Champions. He & Cena were told by Tazz last Friday night that they will meet again at the Rumble in a No Holds Barred match to determine who will become the undisputed World Heavyweight Champion. Stephanie wasn't too pleased with the decision but she was the only one, and she stuck her nose in Punk's business again by counting another quick fall against The Straight-Edge Superstar last week, gifting Bryan Danielson a huge victory. She can consider herself fortunate that Cena came to save the day, but with Punk's threats firmly in our thoughts, will they be in Stephanie's this week? It seems that Punk is almost at breaking point and Stephanie will be best to avoid Punk, but will she do just that or will she continue pushing his buttons?
Christian made his shock return to Smackdown two weeks ago and last week he called out his brother, Edge, challenging him to a match, and after being goaded into accepting, Edge attacked Christian before he could enter the ring. Captain Charisma fought back and their failed match ended with Christian sending his brother through the announce table after a Killswitch. Christian let everyone know he was back to win the Royal Rumble and get revenge on his brother, and it looks like he's well on the way, just what will Edge have to say about it?
Two other men who have also declared their intent to win the Rumble and leave as the new WWE Champion will go at it this week after Chris Jericho challenged Shawn Michaels to a match following last week's show when Michaels caught him with what the Canadian described as a 'cheap shot'. Jericho also announced he was leaving Smackdown to rejoin Raw, and the self proclaimed Best in the World made an impression on his first night back by attacking The Big Show after The World's Largest Athlete defeated the WWE Champion, Triple H. It appears that Jericho's returned on a mission but he'll have a big challenge on his hands when he meets The Showstopper this week in San Diego in what should be a great match as they prepare to go all out in preparation for the biggest Royal Rumble match in history.
Also in action will be the man who in the last two weeks has defeated the United States Champion, Matt Sydal. Dolph Ziggler's on a role right now and he's set his sights on meeting the 2008 King of the Ring for a third time, only this time with Sydal's title on the line, and this week he'll meet Sydal's friend and a formal rival of his own in the shape of Elijah Burke. Can Ziggler keep his winning streak going by overcoming Burke? He failed to do so when they met at No Mercy several months ago so he has a challenge on his hands this Friday night.
Another man making impression on Smackdown right now is Bryan Danielson, and having defeated CM Punk last week thanks to Stephanie, he'll be looking to pick up another win when he takes on 'The Gold Standard' Shelton Benjamin in what also promises to be a terrific match.
The new WWE Tag Team Champions, The Empire came crashing down to earth with a big bang last week when they met the rejuvenated team of Paul London & Brian Kendrick in what was fortunately for the champions, a non-title match. The men they cheated out of the titles at Night of Champions five days earlier came looking for revenge when it looked like the champions were about to cheat their way to another victory. Paul Burchill & TJ Wilson, along with Harry Smith & Natalya Neidhart made sure that didn't happen, and the distraction of the action on the outside gave London & Kendrick the chance to pick up the upset and their biggest victory since their reunion. We hear that The Empire plan to make an address in San Diego this week. What do they plan to say? Tune in to find out!
Beth Phoenix has been nothing short of unstoppable since becoming the first ever Diva's Champion, but last week she discovered she may have met her match in the shape of O.D.B. The Glamazon & Maria were victorious in tag team action against O.D.B. & Michelle McCool thanks to Beth hitting the Grand Slam on McCool, just as she did at Night of Champions to retain her title. It didn't go down well however with McCool's partner, and O.D.B. returned to the ring to attack Maria until The Glamazon came to her aid, much to the anger of O.D.B. She'll have a chance to take that anger out on another diva she's had problems with since coming to Smackdown in Mickie James. It'll be a tough match for both divas and one neither will take for granted after their previous meetings.
2008 ended in exciting fashion and 2009 threatens to continue in the same manner. Make sure you're watching the first show of the new calendar year as we draw even closer to this year's history making Royal Rumble.
>Confirmed for the First Smackdown of 2009!<
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Christian vs. Jack Swagger
Elijah Burke vs. Dolph Ziggler
Bryan Danielson vs. Shelton Benjamin
Mickie James vs. O.D.B.