Old Testament, new twist
DAYTON, Ohio -- On SmackDown Friday night, David looked Goliath square in the eye -- chest, actually -- and, like the figure of biblical yore, amazed the masses with his unwavering skill and resolve. Then the Irishman charged the ring and ruined everything.
No, this is not some flat punchline to a lame joke. There was nothing funny about the way Finlay had tried to incapacitate Rey Mysterio -- the "David" of that evening's epic, and the interfering Irishman's opponent at No Mercy this Sunday. And certainly no one in the Nutter Center would dare laugh at WWE's "Goliath," the 7-foot-3, 420-pound Punjabi colossus known as The Great Khali.
On any kind of paper, Mysterio-Khali appeared to be a mismatch of biblical proportions. And from the very start of SmackDown that night, it was immediately clear to our fans that the giant had been looking past his main-event opponent, and more than in a literal sense. Both Khali and his translator, Ranjin Singh, believed that Mysterio's seemingly inevitable downfall would send a message to the World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, with whom he would be locked in a "chamber of horrors" at No Mercy this Sunday -- the Punjabi Prison.
One could understand why Khali's arrogance knew no boundaries, seeing as he had nearly two more feet and 250 extra pounds to his benefit. Yet Mysterio, just as David had done long before him, refused to back down in the shadow of this Goliath's towering presence. From the instant their match began, Rey relied on speed, quickness and sharp kicks to Khali's legs, hoping to cut down the giant's vertical base. But Jack himself had an easier time cutting down the beanstalk; Khali quickly ended Mysterio's offense with a single blow, and in the process nearly dominated the remainder of the contest.
Even SmackDown commentator JBL -- a man who in recent weeks has voiced venomous dislike for the masked Superstar -- admitted to feeling sorry for Rey (though "not very much") as the Punjabi colossus slowly, methodically punished him. Being cast to the outside floor offered no reprieve, either -- that is, until a Khali Chop missed Mysterio and caught the ringside steps. At that moment, the ultimate underdog -- as he has done throughout his entire career -- mounted a 619-charged offense that forced even the giant to stagger on the outside.
Unfortunately, just when it seemed Rey might once more be able to pull off the impossible and bring the colossus to his knees, Finlay ran down and attacked. The referee instantly called for the bell, giving Mysterio the win via disqualification, but Rey was understandably more concerned about self-preservation. He quickly disarmed the shillelagh-wielding Irishman, but before he could take any more fight out of him, Khali --still outside the ring -- struck the Master of the 619's head with a vicious chop from behind. Finlay then further softened up his No Mercy adversary, leaving him completely helpless as Khali locked the Vise Grip around his skull.
The Nutter Center crowd cringed in unison, as if they suddenly realized that they were witnessing a repeat of the bloody, brutal suffering Khali had inflicted on Mysterio only a month before. But just as the Punjabi Goliath was about to crush SmackDown's David, an enraged Animal charged the ring to save his friend. Batista's spinebuster instantly eradicated any threat from the motioning Finlay, while a spear to the midsection nearly folded The Great Khali in half.
Earlier that night, Batista had warned that The Great Khali would have no idea what to expect from being locked inside the Punjabi Prison with a caged Animal at No Mercy. Yet the monster's back received a pretty good idea as The Animal unleashed his fury with a steel chair. Forced to exit the ring, The Great Khali could only watch as the World Heavyweight Champion stood watch over the recovering Rey Mysterio, staring back at the giant all the while.
Thanks to Batista, "David" had survived another SmackDown encounter with "Goliath." But this Sunday, The Animal must enter the belly of the giant's lair -- a chamber of horrors from which there will be, fittingly enough, No Mercy.