Animal control?

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June 21, 2007

Vengeance: Night of Champions is this Sunday live on pay-per-view

It's been said before that a cornered animal may, in fact, be the most lethal. Consider telling that same highly lethal, 300-pound Animal that it's his last chance to get out of that corner with the one thing he's spent months striving to reclaim. What's going through that beast's mind? For Last Chance Match combatant Batista, it's several things: survival, victory and the World Heavyweight Championship.

"It seems like one way or another, I'm always an animal trapped in a corner," The Animal admitted. "Honestly, it's probably never been as real as it is in a Last Chance Match. But I continue to fight."

At the command of the (presumably) late WWE Chairman, the Rated-R Superstar was forced to defend the World Heavyweight Title one more time against Batista at Vengeance: Night of Champions. Ironically, though Batista should've been pleased with Mr. McMahon's ruling, the provisions of this unique match state that if The Animal doesn't win on Sunday, he will never receive another title opportunity as long as Edge is champion. This is a heavy load to bear treading into a battle with an individual as calculative as the Rated-R Superstar.

"What's my strategy? Win," Batista emphatically asserted. "The reality is that Edge will use every trick he has to come out on top. I just need to be ready for anything and aim to pin his shoulders to the mat."

Now, imagine yourself the World Heavyweight Champion, with the weight of a prestigious, golden symbol fastened snugly around your waist. Then imagine the massive, intense Animal looming just behind you, furiously breathing heated air down your neck.

Not a good feeling.

Nonetheless, an overtly confident and scheming Edge still doesn't seem convinced that his reign -- or his health -- is in jeopardy.
 
"Batista's back is against the wall; he's behind the eight ball," explained the grinning World Heavyweight Champion. "This is his last shot. If Batista doesn't beat me, he'll have to wait for someone to beat me and let's face it, that's just not going to happen."

Edge first secured his newest moniker when he defected to SmackDown and opportunistically cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase against Undertaker last month. Since then, the Ultimate Opportunist has clashed with a gold-focused Batista and slithered by his foe to retain the title each time.

"I'm sure [Batista's] game plan is coming in and mowing through me," said the targeted champion. "That seems to work on everyone else, but not me. I can adapt my game to anyone whether it's Ric Flair, Chris Benoit or Batista. You can put me in a cage, on a ladder, in any kind of match and I will persevere," he added. "I will find a way."

From face-to-face encounters to a vile Steel Cage Match, the World Heavyweight Champion's seven-week reign has been enveloped by constant consternation because of The Animal's golden objective. It's been difficult for the Rated-R Superstar to even enjoy his controversy-ridden championship reign — and equally difficult for anyone to sympathize with the scoundrel champion. Some sources even speculate that Edge's consistent worry may lead to desperation as he draws closer to his Last Chance Match with the two-time former champion. However, on an evening with a namesake accrediting the titleholder, Edge truly has the "ultimate opportunity" to rid himself of The Animal's rage, once and for all.

"After Sunday, Batista will have to wait an awful long time before he gets another opportunity at this title," Edge said as he peered at the gleaming gold championship. "In fact, he may have to wait for me to retire."

But is the Rated-R Superstar's bag of tricks not as bottomless as it appears? Has the self-affirmed "master of mental chess" been checked without even realizing it? If the World Heavyweight Champion isn't careful, his conceit could earn him the biggest fall of his career. Edge has tried his hardest to get under the skin and into the mentality of Batista. Still, The Animal is persistent in his quest to once again sit at the top of the SmackDown mountain. Should Batista maintain his focus and keep his eyes affixed on the gold, The Animal may make Vengeance a night for a new champion.

"Edge has proven that he is the Ultimate Opportunist," Batista proclaimed. "But on Sunday, I have my opportunity to finally reclaim what's rightfully mine. And that last chance is all I'm going to need."

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