Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella def. Umaga (DQ)

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June 24, 2007

HOUSTON -- Gaining another victory over Umaga at Vengeance: Night of Champions was short, though anything but sweet for Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella. A win Sunday night should have silenced even the harshest of detractors, who continue to credit Bobby Lashley for a huge assist that helped Santino defeat the Samoan Bulldozer for the title in Milan, Italy, last April. By successfully defending his Intercontinental Title, the still-very new Superstar could prove that his grit, determination and heart can make up for a lack of ring experience.

Sadly, grit, determination and heart weren't enough to win the match for Marella...though Umaga's savage assault, plus an utter disregard of the referee's five-count, would earn him an excruciating victory via disqualification.

From the onset, Marella demonstrated a passion worthy of being an Intercontinental Champion, bringing the fight to Umaga. However, once his aggressive passion was quickly diminished by a ferocious Samoan Drop, he'd never retake the offensive. As brutal blow followed brutal blow, the Samoan Bulldozer forced a barely conscious Marella into the corner, then pummeled away relentlessly. But it was that same bloodlust that would clearly get the better of Umaga, who never heard ring official Marty Elias's mandatory five-count to break up the illegal attack. Elias had no choice but to call for the bell and award the match in favor of the battered Intercontinental Champion.

Though Umaga has never been one to display a visible grasp of the English language, he realized immediately what had just occurred, and it only made him more livid (if that's even possible). With the Intercontinental Champion still motionless in the corner, he charged into his prey with a devastating Samoan Wrecking Ball, followed moments later by a top-rope Samoan Splash that may well have broken every one of Marella's ribs. Fans inside Houston's sold-out Toyota Center could only watch in anguish as the referee tried to revive Marella, while an exiting Umaga began staring at his heavily taped right thumb. The Samoan Bulldozer then delivered one last exclamation point to the "winner" of the match, in the form of a near-lethal Samoan Spike to the throat.

As WWE Diva Maria ran out to the ring to aid her fallen friend, Umaga left the arena without the Intercontinental Championship. But at Vengeance: Night of Champions, he had successfully denied Santino Marella of his most important goal: a chance to earn respect from disparaging peers, and the right to be considered a worthy champion.

 

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