CHICAGO -- If ever a specialty contest seemed dreadfully well-suited for a WWE pay-per-view called No Mercy, it's the Punjabi Prison Match. And clearly, there was no bigger favorite to win inside this chamber of horrors Sunday night than the 7-foot-3, 420-pound Punjabi colossus, The Great Khali.

Nevertheless, even with the odds stacked way too high against him, World Heavyweight Champion Batista literally launched himself to victory, and proved once and for all why you should never lock an Animal inside a cage.

Neither twin bamboo cages nor more than 1,500 feet of twine would keep Batista bound to the horrific confines of the Punjabi Prison. Though he had never experienced the bamboo hell before, none among the Allstate Arena's capacity crowd could have blamed The Animal if the Prison had proved beyond even his amazing capabilities. This match was supposed to be a home-grown specialty of the Punjabi colossus, who alone on most nights is more than enough to deal with. Yet Batista conquered all these insurmountable obstacles the way he always does: As a champion.

Of course, to report that the usually dominant Animal outright dictated this contest would be untrue. In fact, it appeared that The Great Khali might first scale over the 20-foot exterior cage, the final obstruction that kept the outside floor -- and victory -- out of his ungodly reach. And that was after watching Batista and Khali already batter each other senseless, to the point where neither man could prevent any of the four trapdoors around the 16-foot inner structure from being padlocked by officials.

Shortly before the match, the giant had prayed to the most evil of Hindu gods for support, and translator Ranjin Singh swore that The Great Khali would rise above Batista and the Prison barriers to become World Heavyweight Champion once more. Those words undoubtedly echoed in The Animal's head -- despite suffering the effects of the Khali Vise Grip, or laying motionless after a 10-foot plunge to the canvas -- as his glazed eyes focused long enough to see that Khali had climbed over the inner structure, and began making his ascent toward the exterior cage's spike-sharpened peak.

Throughout his career, The Animal has been known primarily for his phenomenal strength and undaunted will. Yet Batista shocked our fans around the world as he quickly climbed the top of the 16-foot inner cage, then catapulted himself from one bamboo structure to the other. Seeing Batista barely make it, the Allstate Arena crowd must have wondered if the behemoths' combined weight -- more than 700 pounds -- might force the Prison walls to collapse. Yet no other exit meant no other recourse… which in turn meant no holding back from either champion or challenger as they practically repelled down the wall to the outside floor.

It was a matter of instants that separated the two men's feet from touching the ground, though our jubilant fans knew even before the official announcement was made that Batista was victorious. For once, The Great Khali, despite his great size and strength, had come up a little bit short…and the horror chamber known as a Punjabi Prison could not keep The Animal away from his championship prize.

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No Mercy
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CHICAGO -- If ever a specialty contest seemed dreadfully well-suited for a WWE pay-per-view called No Mercy, it's the Punjabi Prison Match. And clearly, there was no bigger favorite to win inside this chamber of horrors Sunday night than the 7-foot-3, 420-pound Punjabi colossus, The Great Khali.

Nevertheless, even with the odds stacked way too high against him, World Heavyweight Champion Batista literally launched himself to victory, and proved once and for all why you should never lock an Animal inside a cage.

Neither twin bamboo cages nor more than 1,500 feet of twine would keep Batista bound to the horrific confines of the Punjabi Prison. Though he had never experienced the bamboo hell before, none among the Allstate Arena's capacity crowd could have blamed The Animal if the Prison had proved beyond even his amazing capabilities. This match was supposed to be a home-grown specialty of the Punjabi colossus, who alone on most nights is more than enough to deal with. Yet Batista conquered all these insurmountable obstacles the way he always does: As a champion.

Of course, to report that the usually dominant Animal outright dictated this contest would be untrue. In fact, it appeared that The Great Khali might first scale over the 20-foot exterior cage, the final obstruction that kept the outside floor -- and victory -- out of his ungodly reach. And that was after watching Batista and Khali already batter each other senseless, to the point where neither man could prevent any of the four trapdoors around the 16-foot inner structure from being padlocked by officials.

Shortly before the match, the giant had prayed to the most evil of Hindu gods for support, and translator Ranjin Singh swore that The Great Khali would rise above Batista and the Prison barriers to become World Heavyweight Champion once more. Those words undoubtedly echoed in The Animal's head -- despite suffering the effects of the Khali Vise Grip, or laying motionless after a 10-foot plunge to the canvas -- as his glazed eyes focused long enough to see that Khali had climbed over the inner structure, and began making his ascent toward the exterior cage's spike-sharpened peak.

Throughout his career, The Animal has been known primarily for his phenomenal strength and undaunted will. Yet Batista shocked our fans around the world as he quickly climbed the top of the 16-foot inner cage, then catapulted himself from one bamboo structure to the other. Seeing Batista barely make it, the Allstate Arena crowd must have wondered if the behemoths' combined weight -- more than 700 pounds -- might force the Prison walls to collapse. Yet no other exit meant no other recourse… which in turn meant no holding back from either champion or challenger as they practically repelled down the wall to the outside floor.

It was a matter of instants that separated the two men's feet from touching the ground, though our jubilant fans knew even before the official announcement was made that Batista was victorious. For once, The Great Khali, despite his great size and strength, had come up a little bit short…and the horror chamber known as a Punjabi Prison could not keep The Animal away from his championship prize.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 special packages now available for pre-order...