Last Animal Standing?

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April 29, 2007

ATLANTA -- There is no doubt that former two-time World Heavyweight Champion Batista is one of the toughest competitors in WWE history. Following the vile assault at the rugged, shillelagh wielding hands of Finlay, The Animal is considerably wounded.

Notwithstanding the heavy taping and anguish of his right leg, Batista will not come to Backlash concerned about anything more than reclaiming the World Heavyweight Championship in the Last Man Standing Match against Undertaker. If Batista's performance this past week on SmackDown is any indication of what he has in store for the champion, it's safe to assume that no type of physical damage will deter The Animal tonight.

According to WWE physician Dr. Ferdinand Rios, Batista's hamstring injury will be certain strife on the challenger in a match of this nature.

"If it were any other kind of sport, we would keep him out," admitted Rios. "[Batista] suffered a traumatic injury to that area of his right hamstring," he continued."Therefore, he can't contract his muscles as effectively as he would otherwise."

The Animal has proven his fortitude before, battling back from a career-threatening triceps injury -- damage that forced then-champion Batista to relinquish the same gold he chases tonight. Though he was removed from action and made a spectator for more than half a year, Batista returned and regained the title. Tonight, however, he will compete in a contest unlike any other.

"It depends on [Batista's] stamina to go through the pain that he's been experiencing," Rios added. "He will do well because adrenaline will kick in, the pain will go away in lieu of their quest -- in this case, for the World Heavyweight Championship."

SmackDown commentator John Bradshaw Layfield shared his own expert opinion on Batista's chances this evening. JBL has not only competed in a match of very similar nature -- the Last Ride Match -- but his opponent in that match was Undertaker.

"As great of a talent as Batista is, you have to be 100 percent for this kind of match," JBL said. "Batista at his very best may not be able to beat Undertaker," JBL claimed. "You're fighting someone who is the best he's ever been in 15 years. I've never seen [Undertaker] better."

JBL admitted that The Animal's perseverance and power is among the most formidable in WWE history. But in a match where there are no rules and the object is to make your opponent incapable of standing, the odds are stacked heavily against the former champion.

"Batista may be the guy that can match up with [The Phenom], but if Batista's dinged up, it's an uphill battle I'm not sure he can climb," added a very frank JBL. "It's a tough road of hope."

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