Finlay, JBL & Randy Orton v Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit & Bobby Lashley (Smackdown!, 2/24/06)
This was a lot of fun. Everybody got a chance to do their thing here; Rey took a beating as FIP and peppered in his hope spots like he does, Lashley got to throw dudes around with his powerhouse spots, JBL got to cheat and act like a prick, Benoit got to come in as a house o' fire and suplex everybody to oblivion, Orton got to bully Mysterio (Orton/Rey is a seriously GREAT match-up in general), and Finlay got to be a nasty bastard and beat the shit out of people. With all of that said, I did not expect to come out of this thinking the best parts were the headlocks. But shit, Finlay and Orton fucking WORK the headlock. You know what to expect from Finlay -- even when he pins a guy it looks like it hurts. When he slaps a headlock on Rey he just cranks and twists at his neck, squeezes his head and pulls upwards like he's trying to rip it off, whacks him in the nose with his free hand, jabs him in the trapezius with the point of his elbow...I'm sure I've already said Finlay's a guy that always does the meanest, nastiest variation of a move or hold possible, and this was a mean, nasty headlock. Then Orton gets in and maaan, his headlock might actually have topped it. Orton's always been great at working a headlock, and it looks like he's about to pop Rey's head like a balloon here. Finish felt a little anti-climactic, but you could make a decent case that two thirds of the participants in this were having a career year, and you can't really go wrong with them getting almost 20 minutes to stretch out and do their thing. Smackdown! was quite the gold mine in 2006.