No Mercy in a Punjabi Prison
"Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage"? Seventeenth-century Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace may have something there…though clearly, he never spent any time inside what may be the most feared, most barbaric structure in all of sports-entertainment: The Punjabi Prison.
For that matter, the World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, has never entered such bamboo-encased hell. But SmackDown's Animal will soon have firsthand knowledge of it, when he and The Great Khali square off in a Punjabi Prison Match at the appropriately titled No Mercy this Sunday night.
It's not like the new champion didn't already have enough to contend with in recent months. It was difficult enough taking the World Heavyweight Title away from a 7-foot-3, 420-pound behemoth whose Vise Grip pops blood vessels in the human skull easier than the cork off a champagne bottle. Now Batista must defend it in what is widely regarded as the colossal challenger's domain.
How can one specialty match be perceived as so grueling, so incomprehensibly vile, that even WWE -- the innovators behind career-shortening contests like the Inferno, Elimination and Hell in a Cell Match -- has seemed loathe to sanction it? Throughout the company's illustrious history, there has been only one Punjabi Prison Match, at The Great American Bash in July 2006. And after what happened in that blood-soaked encounter between Undertaker and Big Show…well, let's just say it's rather startling that there would even be talk of having another one someday.
To better comprehend what awaits Batista, place yourself in his boots...and upon seeing The Great Khali, fight off the urge to run like hell. Then imagine entering the Punjabi Prison, which bears dual walls that are imposing enough without the Punjabi giant waiting for you inside them.
It's almost ludicrous to explain that victory is achieved only by escaping the dual bamboo structures that form the Prison. That's because the interior structure alone is 16 feet tall with four surrounding doors, each of which are manned by an official and raised open for 60 seconds when called for by a competitor. If you don't exit through that particular outlet after a minute, however, it's closed and padlocked for the remainder of the contest -- and with it, probably all hope of avoiding The Great Khali's freakishly long reach.
For the sake of argument, let's just say that by some miracle you make it out of the interior structure. You still have to exit through the outer structure, which provides no doorways. That means your sole method of escape is to scale up and over a 20-foot barrier of bamboo, a coarse plant that's far harsher than the cheap wicker baskets we commonly associate it with. Oh, and did we mention the razor-sharp spikes that await you up top? They're guaranteed to help you get the point as you attempt to climb to the outside floor.
Thankfully, you're not trapped inside the Punjabi Prison. But there will be No Mercy for Batista and The Great Khali, who have been sentenced to serve time in this barbaric creation. Though our fans have never witnessed the Punjabi colossus in this type of match, his clear knowledge of the Prison structure gives him a gargantuan advantage. As for The Animal, he may be forced to decide what is ultimately more important: Defending his gold and defeating Khali a second consecutive time, on the giant's own terrorizing terms…or making sure the hellish bamboo cages don't literally spear him -- or his career -- in half.