Fear in Irish eyes?

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December 15, 2007

Throughout his career, Finlay has been known as one of the toughest, most physically brutal men to ever set foot in the squared circle. He has fought the world over to perfect his trade, from his beginnings as a rough barroom brawler in Belfast to every Friday night on SmackDown. But at Armageddon, Finlay will face quite possibly the biggest challenge of his career when he steps into the ring against The Great Khali.

The Irishman's showdown came about after his decision to protect Hornswoggle from the Punjabi giant at Survivor Series. Though protecting a McMahon family member from dismemberment would often be a wise career move, Finlay is putting everything on the line to protect the illegitimate son of the Chairman against one of the most destructive forces in WWE history. Superstars of any size would be hesitant to step into the ring with the imposing Khali and his devastating Vise Grip, but Finlay has never shown reluctance in any fight, even after having his head squeezed by the Vise Grip last week on SmackDown.

This past Friday, Finlay showed that nothing will stop him from protecting Hornswoggle, as he charged the ring, shillelagh in hand, to try to bring down his Armageddon opponent, Khali. While it looked as if retribution was Finlay's, Ranjin Singh exposed the Irishman's one weakness when he threatened Hornswoggle. With Finlay's attention on Singh and his devotion to protecting his little friend, The Great Khali took advantage and once again laid out the Irishman. However, his recent lack of success in taking the 7-footer down hasn't discouraged the in-your-face attitude of Finlay.

"I'm not afraid of The ‘Great' Khali," Finlay told WWE.com, with a somewhat-mocking emphasis on the word "great." "Giants like him can be taken down, and at Armageddon, I'll be the one to do it."

While confidence will undoubtedly help Finlay's attempt to chop down his tree-sized adversary on Sunday, perhaps his face is telling a different story. When the Armageddon match was first announced, it appeared for a moment as if the Irishman's devious smile transformed into a look of apprehension, an image our fans are not accustomed to seeing from the tough brawler. Finlay insists, however, that is not the case.

"No, I'm not worried," he said, his stern look suggesting that he's ready to pound someone into paste for asking such a dumb question. "I've been in this game a long time. I've faced ‘giants' before. I've won some of those fights, and lost some."

Finlay learned two weeks ago on SmackDown that it may not be that easy to get back up from a Punjabi beatdown, as Khali attacked and decimated the Irishman, leaving him down in the center of the ring. And while the former World Heavyweight Champion has manhandled some of the biggest and toughest Superstars since joining WWE, he may never have faced anyone whose offense is as calculating and original as Finlay's.

The Irishman has often been called "the man who loves to fight," a moniker that is justified by the way he approaches any match. His style is brutal and punishing, and his trusted shillelagh is never far away. So while the odds may seem against him as he heads into Armageddon, his Belfast blood is boiling to take down another giant the only way Finlay can -- the old Irish way.

"There used to be giants in Ireland, all of them over 7 feet tall," Finlay said in relation to some ancient Celtic legends. "But they don't exist anymore. Why? Because guys like me came with our shillelaghs and knocked all their heads off."

At Armageddon on Sunday, Finlay hopes he can cement his own legend when he tries to take down The Great Khali.

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