Since being drafted to SmackDown, The Great Khali has made Friday nights his personal domain. This past week, after throwing out an open challenge, Khali attacked everyone in sight, making Jimmy Wang Yang and Eugene among others feel his massive wrath. Finally, when it looked like no one would step up to answer Khali’s challenge, one man bravely stepped through the open door and stood face-to-face with the mammoth.
That man? None other than The Animal, Batista. Our fans in Dallas cheered wildly as The Animal hit the ring to confront Khali. Batista was ready to fight then and there, but Khali’s translator pulled him away from The Animal’s path.
Batista is a man that will back down from no one, as no challenge is too big for him to accept. But why in the hell would ANYONE want to step up to face The Great Khali?
Just look at Khali’s path of destruction over the last 15 months. When he first came to WWE in April 2006, Khali’s first target was Undertaker, one of the biggest Legends in WWE. Khali dominated Undertaker like no other man ever has during that rivalry, even defeating The Deadman decisively at Judgment Day.
The mammoth soon moved on to ECW, picking up right where he left off on SmackDown. ECW Original Tommy Dreamer, who knows a thing or two about going to the extreme, was so badly beaten during one Extreme Rules Match with Khali that he wasn’t the same for weeks afterward. During another encounter, Khali viciously chokeslammed Dreamer on the steel ring steps, destroying Dreamer’s back as the sickening thud made everyone that was watching cringe.
Then it was on to Raw, where Khali tormented the likes of Kane and WWE Champion John Cena for months. Leading up to their clash at Judgment Day 2007, Khali assaulted The Champ every week on Raw for a month, leaving him beaten every time; on the Saturday Night’s Main Event prior to One Night Stand, the same thing occurred again. Cena finally mustered up and pinned Khali at One Night Stand, something no one had done until that point.
Notice a pattern? Everywhere Khali goes, destruction follows. So why WOULD anyone step up to challenge him? For The Animal, that answer may be based on any number of reasons.
First of all, Batista CAN’T compete for the World Heavyweight Championship. Thanks to his loss to Edge in the Last Chance Match at Vengeance: Night of Champions, The Animal lost the ability to challenge for the gold as long as the Rated-R Superstar holds it. So, could his acceptance of Khali’s challenge be a result of residual frustration? Khali is definitely one of the baddest men on SmackDown, so agreeing to face him could be Batista’s way of reinforcing his dominance over the brand.
Or is it perhaps the opposite, as no one wants to step up and face Batista? The Animal WAS one of the most dominant World Heavyweight Champions of all-time, and was never defeated for the title during his first reign. In fact, in the two-year span from WrestleMania 21 to WrestleMania 23, where Batista held the gold twice, only Undertaker was able to cleanly defeat him. Now that he doesn’t have the championship everyone on SmackDown covets, are those in the locker room afraid to be matched up against The Animal?
As mentioned before, Batista has never and will never back down from any challenge. This time, however, regardless of the reasons, some may wonder if he’s in over his head.
After all, The Animal has been in plenty of grueling matches before; one need only to look at his recent series of battles with Edge to see what lengths Batista is willing to go to in competition. But does he really know what he’s in for? He’s never faced a monster like Khali, who is capable of causing severe and permanent damage to anyone he faces in the ring.
So does Batista think he can defeat the mammoth? Or perhaps, more fittingly, CAN he think he has a chance to slay the giant? One thing is for sure: The Animal will have to rely on his strengths and his animal instincts to survive this battle. Hopefully, that will be enough for him to keep Khali from becoming the baddest Animal in the SmackDown jungle.
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