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Takin' care of business
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- At Survivor Series, Undertaker meets Batista inside Hell in a Cell for the World Heavyweight Championship. So when word was released that The Phenom would face The Great Khali in a No Holds Barred Match this week on SmackDown, many -- including color commentator JBL -- wondered why The Deadman would jeopardize his chance at the gold.
Fear not, SmackDown faithful, because on Friday night, Undertaker proved he may be more ready than ever for Batista. The Deadman became only the second man ever to force Khali to tap out, submitting him with a Triangle Choke to win the No Holds Barred battle.
Throughout the show, our fans at home got to see several "Great Khali Moments," past instances of the Punjabi colossus wreaking havoc on his opponents -- Undertaker included. None of that seemed to faze The Phenom, however, as he was rip-roaring and ready to go from the opening bell.
Often called the Best Pure Striker in WWE by Michael Cole, Undertaker backed up that claim by battering the Punjabi powerhouse early in the bout. And even when Khali took control, locking Undertaker in his devastating Vise Grip after a massive chop, The Phenom showed the resilience that has made him a five-time World Champion. While the move has put away some of WWE's biggest Superstars -- including The Phenom, who felt its wrath last week -- Undertaker somehow found a way out, becoming the first Superstar to break the Vise Grip.
That wasn't the end of the monster's onslaught, however. Moments after The Phenom delivered a chokeslam, Khali recovered and assaulted him, dropping Undertaker with a Choke Bomb. Once again Undertaker adapted quickly. When Khali went in for another Vise Grip, The Phenom grabbed his long left arm, wrapped his legs around Khali's head and cinched in a Triangle Choke.
As JBL noted on commentary, Undertaker has recently become leaner -- he is weighing in under 300 pounds for the first time in many years -- and begun to sprinkle in a technical aspect to his already impressive striking game. In this case, the new game plan worked, as the Triangle Choke forced Khali to submit, a feat that only John Cena's STFU had accomplished until then.
Just over a week away from one of the biggest matches if his career, Undertaker felled a 7-foot-3 giant and looks more dangerous than ever. With that renewed focus -- plus plenty of potential fallout from next week's scheduled Batista vs. Mark Henry clash, for which you can see Batista's exclusive comments here -- will The Phenom be able to walk through Hell (in a Cell) and walk out of Survivor Series once again the World Heavyweight Champion?