By Graham "GSM" Matthews
WWE Tag Team Champion Edge def. Chavo Guerrero
Although I've always found Chavo to be the lesser of the SmackDown Six, you can always count on him for a solid matchup. He and Edge gelled really well in this contest and provided a nice opening contest. While they could have easily gone longer than six minutes, they made the most of the time they were allotted and kicked off the night on a high note.
Matt Hardy and John Cena def. Rikishi and Tajiri
Yes, there was indeed a time where Matt Hardy was more over than John Cena. This was in the midst of Hardy's "Version 1" character which was an absolute riot. This was a logical follow-up from Hardy's recent bouts against Tajiri and it helped give Cena a rub as well. The finish that saw Hardy's hand draped over Tajiri to get the win was slightly confusing, but the post-match celebration from Hardy and Cena was hilarious.
Eddie Guerrero def. WWE Tag Team Champion Rey Mysterio
Can you believe that this was a major feud on the SmackDown brand for several months in 2005? Their chemistry wasn't any less great as they produced an exciting affair that received the time it deserved. The involvement from Edge and Chavo at ringside helped further their feud and build toward the Triple Threat tag team title match happening that Sunday at Survivor Series, but above all else, it was an exceptional wrestling match.
Billy Kidman def. Cruiserweight Champion Jamie Noble (Non-title)
There wasn't too much to this match as they ended up having a rematch for the title at Survivor Series where they would go all out and deliver the match they were truly capable. That said, it offered a short and sweet preview of what to expect at the event, but at the same time, if the match was already confirmed for the card, why have the champion lose a non-title match before ultimately losing the title days later?
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit Ended in a No Contest
If you were expecting an instant classic from these two, you're better off watching their match from Unforgiven that year. This was never meant to be a wrestling clinic as much as it was an angle to further the three-way tag team feud, but before the bout's abrupt conclusion, it was fun while it lasted. All the chaos involving the three tandems gave viewers a small taste of what was about to go down in the pending Triple Threat tag title match.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Big Show Brawled
The entire night was spent teasing tension between Lesnar and Heyman and planting the seeds for the split on Sunday. It was pretty predictable what was going to happen, but the build was very well done. The brawl didn't last long at all, much like their eventual championship clash, but it gave Lesnar some momentum after Show had gotten the upper hand more often than not in the weeks leading up to the show.
I tell you, this was the golden age of SmackDown. There was such a great mix of incredible in-ring action and stellar storytelling both between the ropes and in backstage segments. Torrie Wilson, Al Wilson and Dawn Marie didn't wrestle this week, but they were all over this show as well, and even though I didn't particularly care for the program too much, the way the feud was furthered throughout the night was superb. The tag team and WWE title matches for Survivor Series were effectively built and made this yet another enjoyable edition of SmackDown.