Washington, DC
January 29, 2004



Paul Heyman seems to like it when his back is pressed firmly against a wall. Just when it seemed as if the SmackDown! General Manager had committed the most grievous error of his tenure, Heyman not only stunned the SmackDown! audience by vindicating himself … he left them gasping in awe!

Three days after the revelation that 2004 Royal Rumble Champion Chris Benoit had defected to RAW thanks to a legal loophole, Mr. McMahon entered the ring on SmackDown! seeking answers. How could a triumph for SmackDown! turn into tragedy so quickly? What would Heyman do to make it up to the SmackDown! audience who had packed the MCI Center in Washington, D.C.? Heyman had an answer. He didn’t just take SmackDown! in a new direction, he made television history … and in the process, the next star for World Wrestling Entertainment may have been born.

For the first time in the history of broadcast television, Paul Heyman’s SmackDown! presented a Royal Rumble Match. 15 SmackDown! Superstars entered the ring in 90-second intervals to determine the No. 1 Contender for the WWE Championship – who would challenge for the Title at No Way Out. For the 13 SmackDown! Superstars who were unsuccessful at the Royal Rumble, this was a chance at vindication and another shot at the WWE Championship. For Eddie Guerrero and Hardcore Holly – who did not compete in the Rumble Match – it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

In the end, despite suffering an assault moments before the Rumble Match that left him temporarily unconscious, Guerrero earned the trip to No Way Out with a thrilling elimination of Kurt Angle – who had entered the ring first and lasted to the very end. Despite the presence of Superstars such as Big Show, John Cena and Rikishi, it is Latino Heat who will be the next to challenge Brock Lesnar. He has held almost every championship a WWE Superstar can aspire to hold during his career and now Guerrero stands on the final step to the top of the mountain. Will he take that next step? Find out at No Way Out on February 15.

However, with three weeks to go until Guerrero faces Lesnar, Guerrero’s challenges on the road to No Way Out will not be easy. Namely, his rivalry with nephew Chavo did not end with Eddie’s victory at Royal Rumble. On SmackDown!, Chavo vowed revenge. What does this mean for Eddie as he prepares for the biggest match of his career? Stay tuned to find out.

Speaking of Lesnar, the WWE Champion responded to Goldberg’s challenge that he is "next" by claiming that Goldberg is a “Brock Lesnar wannabe” and that he is not afraid of anybody. In fact, he challenged any SmackDown! Superstar to a non-title match and laughed when Orlando Jordan accepted the challenge. After the match, Lesnar was in no laughing mood as Jordan pushed Lesnar to the limit, ultimately losing to the WWE Champion via the Brock Lock.

In other action, Rey Mysterio and Jamie Noble met once again for the Cruiserweight Championship in a match that concluded with a stunning turn of events for Noble. After Noble’s girlfriend, Nidia, interfered with Noble’s attempt to attack Mysterio, Mysterio gained the win, prompting Noble to thrust Nidia into the ring. During an argument between the two, Nidia stunned Noble when she removed her sunglasses to reveal that she has regained her vision! What does this mean for Noble and Nidia? How long was Nidia able to see? Stay tuned to SmackDown! to find out.

SmackDown! comes to you next week from Cleveland just over two weeks before No Way Out. Will any other matches for the pay-per-view event develop? How will Nidia react to Noble’s recent actions now that she can see? How will Eddie Guerrero handle the dual challenges of Chavo Guerrero and his upcoming match for the WWE Championship? Only one way to find out … watch SmackDown! next week at 8/7 CT on UPN!

Match Results:
The Basham Brothers defeated Billy Kidman & Paul London

Rey Mysterio defeated Jamie Noble

Brock Lesnar defeated Orlando Jordan

Eddie Guerrero won the SmackDown! Royal Rumble to earn a shot for the WWE Championship at No Way Out