Batista def. Randy Orton in Steel Cage Match (New WWE Champion)

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June 07, 2009

NEW ORLEANS — For the first time in his heavily decorated career, Batista captured the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules, as the cage-enclosed Animal connected with the Batista Bomb to pin and defeat Randy Orton. (PHOTOS)

The only logical, yet harrowing combat setting for The Animal and "The Viper" to settle their months-long rivalry (years, if counting Evolution dissention) was within a steel cage.

Just three weeks prior at Judgment Day, Orton shamelessly preserved his WWE Title reign by causing himself to be disqualified against Batista -- a calculated strategy that gave The Animal the victory but not the gold. But within the 15-foot-high entrapment, a disqualification could not earn one mercy; the champion would only be determined by pinfall, submission or escape from the cage.

It was the one night of the year for WWE to go Extreme and Batista followed suit, pillaging his opponent and introducing The Legend Killer -- face-first -- to the steel walls enshrouding them. With his loyal disciples locked out of the contest, the Legacy leader found himself in serious jeopardy.

Repeatedly, The Viper tried to slither his way out of the reinforced structure, seeking exodus. With the challenger stunned, Orton scaled the steel to exit until his predatory instinct seized control. The champion suddenly zeroed in on his recovering foe, descended the cage and targeted the battle-worn Batista for a punt.

Bestowed with his own primal instinct, Batista averted the strike to cause a crucial shift in momentum at a most critical moment. The defending champion quickly tried to recover and climb the cage but it only left him in a position susceptible for a climactic Batista Bomb. A mere three seconds later, Orton was pinned and his Legacy conquered.

Now a five-time World Champion with his Extreme Rules victory, Batista emphatically avenged the punt delivered by The Legend Killer in late 2008. He also executed as promised to his wounded mentor, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, who was felled by Orton's skull-rattling boot just days before on Monday Night Raw.

Though his conquest in The Big Easy was anything but, The Animal -- with the WWE Championship firmly positioned in his powerful maw -- now sits supreme at the pinnacle of his Raw kingdom.

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