Batista: No "Elijah Experience" necessary
Unquestionably, Batista is in the best shape of his life, physically, mentally and emotionally. Good thing, too, as he'll need all of his faculties operating at peak strength in just over a week from Sunday, for the greatest challenge of his career -- defending his World Heavyweight Title against Edge and Undertaker in a Triple Threat Match at Armageddon.
The Animal knows this. To his credit, he even embraces what's certain to be an epic confrontation -- which is perhaps why he doesn't seem overly fazed about his opponent this Friday night on SmackDown, ECW's Elijah Burke.
"Honestly, Elijah Burke is the last thing on my mind," a very candid World Heavyweight Champion told WWE.com soon after learning about the match. "I've got Edge and Undertaker to deal with at Armageddon, and they're all I'm focused on right now."
Under normal circumstances, WWE.com might have advised Batista to rethink his position. Elijah Burke is a top-flight ECW Superstar who has handled himself extremely well since SmackDown and ECW General Managers Vickie Guerrero and Armando Estrada agreed to share talent between the two brands. However, the days building toward Armageddon have been anything but "normal." From the moment Theodore Long announced on SmackDown last Friday that three of WWE's greatest competitors would do battle at the pay-per-view, the days have been long for a champion who prefers to look forward than dwell on past history -- especially when that history involves his Triple Threat opponents.
"Last week, all people kept telling me was that I never beat Edge when the title was on the line," Batista told WWE.com. "I was about to change that fact on SmackDown last week, until Undertaker interfered."
Perhaps that's true, but last week's outcome marked the fourth championship match this year where Batista couldn't outright defeat the Rated-R Superstar. Even worse, he paid a price that was intended for the Ultimate Opportunist, when Undertaker -- clearly incensed at how Edge has robbed him of World Heavyweight gold on two occasions, and escaped his wrath in the process -- vented his frustrations out on The Animal with a thunderous chokeslam to the canvas.
"A part of me can appreciate Undertaker's frustration," Batista said. "Edge gets under people's skin better than anyone else I know, and he definitely deserves what's coming to him. But that doesn't excuse Undertaker for putting his hands on me. It's obvious that both of these guys have forgotten who's champion around here, so at Armageddon, I'm going to remind them."
Again, WWE.com cautiously reminds Batista about facing Elijah Burke on SmackDown Friday night. Calmly, The Animal replied, "I may not be thinking about him … but for his sake, he better be thinking about me."