Enter the WWE locker room alongside John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Shinsuke Nakamura and every other WWE Superstar who appeared at SummerSlam 2017 in these striking backstage photos.09/01/2017 - 13:00
Check out the GoPro Time Lapse of Sarath making Shane-O-Mac a custom referee jersey, perfect for The Biggest Event of The Summer.08/21/2017 - 12:45
Before their United States Championship Match can ever get underway, Roman Reigns and Rusev have a wild brawl at The Biggest Event of Summer.08/04/2017 - 14:15
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton", reflects on his SummerSlam experience, working with The Rock on Disney's "Moana" and on his favorite memories as a WWE fan.08/21/2017 - 00:00
Kingdom at risk?
On Sunday, the coveted World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line when King Booker and Batista square off for the gold at SummerSlam. King Booker captured the Championship in controversial fashion at The Great American Bash, and ever since, he has soaked up the glory that comes with being the champion. The Animal, who was World Heavyweight Champion for more than nine months before he was forced to surrender the gold due to injury, has craved the championship since his return to the ring in July.
King Booker is clearly aware of the hunger his challenger possesses, and says that Batista's desire to be champion reminds him of his early days in sports-entertainment.
"This is a throwback to the old days, my days as a gladiator," said the King. "I remember the fight I endured on my way to becoming the royal King. This is just going to be another triumph in the magnificent tale of King Booker."
The tale of King Booker will be told for years to come, but whether or not his reign as champion lasts as long is another story. His majesty however says he is as determined as ever to remain the King of SmackDown.
"I'm more focused than ever. My focus is on one thing, and that's holding the World Heavyweight Championship," said King Booker. "I'm focused on running a Kingdom, a Kingdom like only King Booker can have. I plan on being the King for a very, very, long time. This Animal will not rain on my parade."
The tale of former champion Batista is a very emotional one to say the least. The Animal captured the gold at WrestleMania 21 and defended it proudly for more than nine months until an injury forced him out of action, and left him with no choice but to dramatically surrender that gold in January. Since that day, Batista's every moment has been focused on regaining the championship he holds so closely to his heart.
"It's been eating at me for a long time," said the Animal. "Giving up the Championship that way was devastating. I would have rather lost it in the ring. I've been dealing with the frustration of not being able to get my hands on Mark Henry, and now I'm going to focus all that frustration and all that energy on regaining the World Heavyweight Championship."
To recapture the gold that he so badly craves, Batista will have to overcome an extensively more experienced opponent in King Booker. The Animal told WWE.com that he is well aware of King Booker's advantages, but also claims he has one valuable asset that the current champion doesn't possess.
"King Booker is experienced, he's a veteran," said the intense former champ. "He's a lot bigger, stronger and quicker than people give him credit for. I don't have the experience that he does, but what I lack, I make up for with heart. It's always been about heart for me. I'll give it everything I've got, and use everything I've learned to get that title back. I still feel like I'm the true World Heavyweight Champion, and at SummerSlam, I plan on taking back my gold."
This Sunday, the King of the SmackDown mountain may be replaced with an Animal. With SummerSlam rapidly approaching, King Booker wanted to send a message to all his loyal subjects.
"Yes, it's true. All Kingdoms will fall," said the SmackDown monarch. "Only the strong survive. Yes, it is true that King Booker may fall one day. But to Batista? No, not yet."
On Sunday at SummerSlam, only one man can walk as the champ. Will the royal King Booker's rule over his loyal subjects and peasants continue? Or will the Animal take back the Championship that he craves more than life itself? Find out for yourself this Sunday at 8/7 CT, live and only on pay-per-view.