World Heavyweight Champion Edge def. Batista (Count out; Last Chance Match)

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June 24, 2007

HOUSTON -- The third time, by all rights, should have been the charm for Batista at Vengeance: Night of Champions. Despite being turned away by World Heavyweight Champion Edge at Judgment Day and One Night Stand, The Animal was primed to capture his third World Heavyweight Title in Sunday night's Last Chance Match. However, when it most looked like victory was his, Edge's Ultimate Opportunist-ic ways would force a referee's 10-count to tragically deprive Batista of his third consecutive — and final — opportunity to wear the World Heavyweight Championship.

In the week prior to his presumed death, Mr. McMahon's match stipulation was direct and to the point — if Batista lost at Vengeance: Night of Champions, he could no longer challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship so long as it remained secure around Edge's waist. Where others might have wilted from this "win-or-go-home" proviso, The Animal relished it, and was determined to make the most of his last chance. He also made sure that Edge knew it during a Tag Team Match on last Friday's SmackDown, during which he Batista Bombed, then pinned the World Heavyweight Champion.

Hours before the match, Batista had told SmackDown announcer Michael Cole that an animal is always trapped in a corner, though he hadn't fully grasped just how true that was until Sunday night. His match strategy was simple: to win. Edge, on the other hand, had an equally straightforward game plan: to survive. That meant weathering the initial storm of Batista's offensive barrage long enough to find an opportunity. And no one can find opportunities like the Ultimate Opportunist.

Almost immediately, the Last Chance Match proved as brutal as Edge and Batista's previous two encounters. The warriors countered each other's fiercest attacks, only to grow increasingly frustrated when they couldn't capitalize for any longer than a two-count. That is, until Batista counteracted a Rated-R spear with one of his own. With The Animal going for the kill with his Batista Bomb, a desperate Edge floored him with a low blow in plain sight of the referee. The official called for the bell, awarding the match to the challenger via disqualification, which was exactly what the Ultimate Opportunist had intended; knowing the title couldn't change hands by way of a disqualification, he walked up the ramp, content that his reign as World Heavyweight Champion remained intact.

Like our fans in the sold-out Toyota Center, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long was far from satisfied with the outcome. Therefore, despite the Rated-R Superstar's irate protests, Long ordered the referee to restart the Last Chance Match, then decreed that if Edge got himself disqualified again, he would lose his World Heavyweight Title. The Ultimate Opportunist raced back into the ring to steal a quick pinfall, but not even one of his most powerful spears could put The Animal down for good. Before long, Batista sent his adversary sailing out of the ring, then met him with a Batista Bomb that may well have cracked the outside floor.

Unfortunately for Batista, that's when his certain victory fell victim to an unfortunate 10-count defeat. The battle-weary Animal not only had to struggle back to his feet, he had to lift Edge's completely limp body and roll it back into the ring in order to pin him. And pin him he would have…had Batista gotten back inside just before the referee counted 10. Unfortunately, history is defined by mere moments in time, and in this instance, history would prove unkind one last time for The Animal.

Visibly dejected by the fateful decision, Batista vented his Animal rage one last time, planting Edge to the canvas with a second Batista Bomb. He then left ringside, disheartened by the knowledge that when Edge finally woke up, it would still be as World Heavyweight Champion…while he would no longer be a contender for the title. His only chance to ever wear the World Heavyweight gold again now must lie with someone else, someone who can do what The Animal couldn't in three valiant efforts: take down the Ultimate Opportunist.

In spite of the devastating loss, Batista handled WWE.com's questions about his future like a man deserving of wearing championship gold. "I think what's next for me is to take it day by day, week by week," he said. "I'm still one of those guys that will take any opponent set in front of me—whether it be on SmackDown or any other brand. I don't respect Edge, but I do respect the World Heavyweight Title and the stipulations from tonight's Last Chance Match. No matter what, rest assure that one day, I will regain the World Heavyweight Championship."

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