Kurt Angle rode an amazing hot streak into WrestleMania 22, but he still found himself at a disadvantage. He was the World Heavyweight Champion heading into the Super Bowl of sports-entertainment, but since it was a Triple Threat match, he could lose the Championship without even being involved in the outcome. Unfortunately for the Wrestling Machine, that's exactly what happened when Rey Mysterio hit the West Coast Pop on Randy Orton to become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Angle had been stewing ever since. Always one of the most intense Superstars in WWE, the Wrestling Machine was boiling over with frustration ever since the gold was stolen from him, and he was ready to let it all out on Friday Night SmackDown. Just one week earlier, General Manager Theodore Long announced he was bringing back the King of the Ring tournament, and the opening match would be Angle taking on Orton.
Before the match, Angle promised that he would be taking out all of his anger, frustration and aggression out on the Legend Killer—and he lived up to that promise. The Wrestling Machine went for the ankle lock very early on, but Orton was able to kick out of it, sending Angle shoulder-first into the steel ring post. Orton continued to work on Angle's shoulder throughout the match, but it wouldn't be enough to keep the Wrestling Machine down. Orton was able to stave off one more ankle lock attempt, but the third time was the charm for the Olympic Gold Medalist. Once Angle applied the ankle lock for a third time, he was able to grapevine the maneuver, and Orton had no other choice but to tap out.
But Angle wasn't finished. Angle refused to break the hold until the referee intervened. The Wrestling Machine appeared to be ready to leave the ring, but he came right back to the fallen Orton and applied the dreaded ankle lock again. The Legend Killer shrieked out in agony, by Angle was relentless. The Olympic Gold Medalist started to make his way up the ramp, but he stopped dead in is tracks once again as a maniacal look crept across his face. With that, Angle stormed the ring once again and applied the devastating ankle lock for a bone-crunching fifth time. Several officials stormed the ring, finally forcing Angle to the back. But the damage had been done. For costing Angle his World Heavyweight Championship, Orton paid a heavy price—a broken ankle.
This SmackDown also featured a rematch for the United States Championship. Benoit was set to take on JBL in a WrestleMania rematch, but Theodore Long came out to make a modification the match. The General Manager decided that the rematch would take place inside the confines of a 15-foot high steel cage. JBL was irate, but had to defend his Championship nonetheless.
Both superstars made several attempts to escape the cage by climbing out, but each attempt was thwarted. As the match wore on, Benoit called for the door to be opened for a possible escape. Jillian saw this and tried to close the door. The referee got in the way and distracted her, but she spun around and slammed the door shut. The only problem was that JBL had turned the tables, and now he was the one trying to escape. So, Jillian had knocked out her own man. JBL managed to recover, though, and even escaped the Crossface. Then, as Benoit looked to go back on the offensive, JBL was able to land a low blow kick and escape the cage to retain the United States Championship.
SmackDown went off the air the week before off the heels of a shocking moment. As Undertaker was battling Mark Henry, Daivari led a mysterious mountain of a man to the ring. The huge monster leveled Undertaker with one swift chop and loomed large over the Phenom. This week Daivari introduced him to everyone as The Great Khali. The mysterious giant is more than 7-feet tall, weighs in at well over 400 pounds and hails from the jungles of India. Daivari said that for 16 years people have called Undertaker the Phenom, but now there's a real phenomenon—The Great Khali.
Booker T and Sharmell kicked off SmackDown this week. A throne and royal garb was set up in the ring, and Booker proclaimed that he would become the next King of the Ring. Several Superstars such as Bret "Hit Man" Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin have used the King of the Ring to skyrocket their careers, and Booker T said he was ready to do the same. Booker was so confident that he even put on the cape and crown and danced around with the scepter. Another King of the Ring participant, Lashley, didn't take too kindly to Booker's words and stormed the ring, leveling him with a spear.
Matt Hardy, who is another King of the Ring participant, was also in action Friday night as he took on the Road Warrior Animal. Hardy was attacked by the Road Warrior before the bell even ring, but he recovered and nailed his opponent with a Twist of Fate from out of nowhere just moments into the match.
The week before, Paul London & Brian Kendrick pulled off a major upset, defeateding WWE Tag Team Champions MNM in a non-title match. This week Kendrick faced off against Johnny Nitro in singles competition. Lightning struck twice on SmackDown, and Kendrick was able to pick up a win with a victory roll.
Also Paul Burchill told William Regal that if he lost to him, then he would stop dressing like a swashbuckler. However, if Burchill won the match, Regal would have to dress like a buxom wench. Unfortunately for Regal, Burchill emerged victorious. So, when the swashbuckling buccaneer came out for his match against Rasheed Brown, he was joined by "Lady Regal". Regal, dressed in a curly blond wig and a dress, hopped up on the apron with some brass knuckles, trying to cost Burchill the match. But instead, Burchill rammed Brown into Regal and hit him with Walking the Plank for the win. To maker matters worse for Regal, he had to continue dressing like a buxom wench until Burchill loses a match.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Brian Kendrick (w/ Paul London) defeated Nitro (w/ Melina & Mercury) (3:06)
- Paul Burchill (w/ William Regal) defeated Rasche Brown
- Matt Hardy defeated Road Warrior Animal (0:17)
- John Bradshaw Layfield (c) (w/ Jillian Hall) defeated Chris Benoit in a Steel Cage match to retain the WWE United States Championship (15:39)
- The Gymini (Jake & Jesse) defeated The Mexicools (Psicosis & Super Crazy) (2:55)
- Kurt Angle defeated Randy Orton in a King Of The Ring 2006 First Round Match (8:13)