Caged fury

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May 11, 2007

PITTSBURGH -- Undertaker and Batista stepped into the confines of a 15-foot high steel cage on SmackDown to battle over the championship, and the greatest rivalry in sports-entertainment added another chapter.

Both men have gone through hell as they have battled for the majority of 2007 over the title, with Undertaker defeating Batista at WrestleMania 23 for the gold, while keeping his undefeated streak intact. After their amazing encounter at WrestleMania -- in which Batista pushed Undertaker to the limits -- The Animal and The Deadman faced off at Backlash. The two behemoths attempted to put an end to their vicious rivalry in the ever-dangerous Last Man Standing Match.

In that match, The Phenom and Batista punished each other, hoping that with each devastating move, they could forge a victory. When Batista speared Undertaker off the stage, neither man could answer the referee's count, resulting in a draw, awarding the title to the champion, Undertaker.

General Manager Theodore Long then decided to announce the Steel Cage Match in the hope that the war for the title could be settled once and for all. Both competitors stepped into the cage with battle scars, mental and physical -- Batista with his leg heavily taped and Undertaker with a torn bicep. In the unforgiving cage, The Animal and The Phenom gave everything they had in hopes of walking out as champion, but as was the case at Backlash, controversy surrounded the outcome of the match.

In the closing moments of the caged encounter, Undertaker and Batista escaped and simultaneously touched the floor. In an unprecedented move that was reflective of this epic rivalry, WWE officials were forced to go to the instant replay for a decision. When the video replay showed both champion and challenger hitting the ground at the same time, the match was declared a draw, with a physically exhausted Undertaker retaining his championship. Those in the Mellon Arena and our fans around the world must have been asking: What does Batista have to do to defeat Undertaker. With Judgment Day looming, numerous matches could have been next in line for The Phenom and The Animal to face off, and the thought of another blockbuster match in this great rivalry came to mind.

Enter Mark Henry. The returning World's Strongest Man put those dreams of fierce rematches to rest when he viciously attacked Undertaker. Hell-bent on making an impact, Henry decimated the champion, leaving him down in the ring.

Even after the attack by Henry, Undertaker was still the champion, and our fans could look forward to seeing The Deadman and Batista go at it again for the gold -- until the Rated-R Superstar shocked the world. Edge arrived in Pittsburgh to cash in his newly won Money in the Bank opportunity, and he defeated an already brutalized Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship.

For one night, Pittsburgh will be known as the "Steal" City, as our fans were left to realize that they were just robbed of seeing another classic match between Undertaker and Batista by two culprits -- SmackDown's new World Heavyweight Champion Edge, and the World's Strongest Man Mark Henry.

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