On SmackDown!, Lesnar opened the show with perhaps the boldest claim of his career. After declaring himself the greatest WWE Champion, ever, Lesnar backed up every word by retaining the championship with a victory over Chris Benoit … but it certainly was not an easy win!
Shortly after Benoit topped John Cena by submission to earn the shot at Lesnar, the two engaged in one of the most memorable matches of the year as both Superstars were seconds away from victory at several points during the match. Benoit actually caused Lesnar to tap out at one point after applying the Crippler Crossface, but the referee was knocked out and the tap was not recorded. Shortly thereafter, Lesnar was victorious. However, what Lesnar did not do was make Benoit tap out as he had earlier promised. After a vicious chair shot to Benoit’s knee, Lesnar engaged a leg lock that had Benoit writhing in pain. But Benoit did not submit … instead, the pain was so great that Benoit ultimately lost consciousness, causing the referee to rule the match in favor of Lesnar, a la Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin from WrestleMania XIII.
Lesnar’s reign as WWE Champion continued after a night of controversy. Not only was Lesnar’s victory controversial because of his tap out and the chair shot to set up his victory, but during the match between Cena and Benoit, Cena was originally awarded the victory after hitting Benoit with the FU. However, referee Nick Patrick did not see that Benoit had placed his foot on the ropes during the three count, and when Brian Hebner entered the ring to inform Patrick of what happened, Patrick ruled that the match should continue. Benoit later earned the win with the Crippler Crossface.
In other action on SmackDown!, General Manager Paul Heyman’s conquest of Shannon Moore continued. Despite claiming that he does not hold Moore accountable for Matt Hardy’s defection to RAW, for the third straight week, and already banged up Moore was forced to face one of the largest men on SmackDown!, in this case the largest man in sports entertainment – the Big Show. And, for the third straight week, Moore was defeated handily. However, Heyman continued to credit Moore for taking such savage beatings and “coming back for more, more, more,” and it seemed as if Moore’s opportunities against the big men of SmackDown! would continue.
SmackDown! also saw a breakthrough for the tag team of Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi as the duo was victorious over WWE Tag Team Champions the Basham Brothers in a non-title match. The win instantly puts Rikishi and Scotty near the top of the SmackDown! tag team division and a shot at the Championship seems within their reach. Brock Lesnar left SmackDown as the WWE Champion, but he also faced one of the stiffest challenges in his career.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty defeated The Basham Brothers (Danny Basham & Doug Basham) (w/ Shaniqua) (5:32)
- The Big Show defeated Shannon Moore (1:46)
- Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) defeated Sakoda (w/ Tajiri) (3:04)
- Chris Benoit defeated John Cena in a WWE Heavyweight Title Match Contendership No # 1 (11:39)
- Chavo Guerrero (w/ Eddie Guerrero) defeated Shelton Benjamin (w/ Charlie Haas) (3:34)
- Brock Lesnar (c) defeated Chris Benoit to retain the WWE Championship (18:21)