Animal's one last chance?

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June 01, 2007

The Animal is once again backed into a corner at One Night Stand, but on Sunday, this particular corner is a bit narrower, more confined and composed of unforgiving steel.

The Steel Cage Match against World Heavyweight Champion Edge could very well be Batista's last opportunity to reclaim the gold he feels belongs to him. Since losing the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23, the former champion has had several chances to recapture the title -- a handful of epic confrontations against The Phenom, as well as an unsuccessful contest with Edge at Judgment Day. Despite valiant efforts in each battle and coming within inches of winning back the championship, The Animal remains without the gold.

But after competing in three straight physical confrontations against Undertaker -- including both a Last Man Standing and Steel Cage Match -- The Animal still bears the battle scars of three-months of turmoil. Physically and mentally, Batista is wounded and will stand up against the ultimate opportunist who will find exactly that -- opportunity -- in Batista's state. That being said, One Night Stand is do or die for Batista, and word in the locker room is that it might be the end of the line for The Animal's championship quest.

"It will never be the end of the line as long as my heart is beating," Batista protested. "I'm a little beat up, especially given my three wars with Undertaker, but as long as I have a heart, I'm going to strive to win the title that's rightfully mine."

Despite a torn hamstring and the well-stacked pressure that's built itself atop the chiseled shoulders of The Animal, the challenger asserted his focus. He emphatically stated that injury will "absolutely not" be the deciding factor in his title match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

"It seems like one way or another, I'm always an animal trapped in a corner," admitted Batista, "but I continue to fight." He continued, "It's perseverance. It's drive. It's passion. On Sunday, we separate the men from the boys, and I'm going to take back what's mine."

Oddly, the last time The Animal was inside a steel cage was last month on SmackDown when Edge struck, cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase, and seized the ultimate golden opportunity. Will their steel-encased confrontation at One Night Stand bear some type of irony for the Rated-R Superstar? An even better question: What will the World Heavyweight Champion have up his sleeve this Sunday night to ensure that he will be still be the Rated-R champion on Monday morning?

Edge is always engaged in a self-professed game of mental chess, and seems to always have a plan in place. At Judgment Day, the Rated-R Superstar slipped past Batista by the skin of his teeth, and has already expressed his displeasure in being locked in the ring with a caged Animal. What scheme will the calculative champion deploy on Sunday? Will it be comparable to the devious devices the Rated-R Superstar employed the last time Batista was in a Steel Cage Match for the gold?

Or, will The Animal have charted out the terrain of One Night Stand well enough to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion?

Check out Batista's I Walk Alone t-shirt....

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