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The Great Khali grasps at revenge
ATLANTA -- Batista arrived in "Hot-lanta" for SmackDown with the World Heavyweight gold over his shoulder and a face that emanated sheer excitement over once again being champion. But wherever there is light, darkness is cast. And with the shadow of The Great Khali hanging over Batista's head as they near their Punjabi Prison Match showdown at No Mercy, The Animal couldn't see the former champion's brutality coming on SmackDown.
An exuberant Batista kicked off Friday Night SmackDown by celebrating his victory at Unforgiven in the ring and telling our fans, "You have no idea how good I feel….I am once again the World Heavyweight Champion." After talking about the looming challenge he faces two weeks from Sunday, he also offered some kind words for his Unforgiven Triple Threat Match opponent and good friend, Rey Mysterio.
Unfortunately, the good mood changed completely as Mark Henry made his way to the ring with a mission all his own. "I could care less about this celebration of yours," Henry said, launching into a heated exchange before challenging Batista. The new champion gladly accepted, telling him, "You've had a Batista beatdown coming for a long time."
During Batista's non-title match with the World's Strongest Man later that night, The Great Khali came down to inflict pain on the Superstar who defeated him for the World Heavyweight Title at Unforgiven. The Animal attacked first, hoping to stave off the colossal threat, but the powerful Punjab quickly incapacitated the champion, subjecting him to his vicious Vise Grip. Khali stood and watched as Mark Henry capitalized on the opening to deliver a powerful splash to Batista. What started as a night of celebration for the new champion quickly transformed into one of disaster.
Batista's incredible journey back to the top of the SmackDown mountain came full circle when he won the World Heavyweight Championship at Unforgiven. During his mission to reclaim the gold he lost at WrestleMania 23, The Animal faced obstacles that would have forced any ordinary man to surrender long ago. His relentless pursuit, however, brought the championship back to where he believes it has always belonged -- around his waist. But now he faces perhaps his greatest challenge to date: Defending his newly won title against The Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match, a contest that is considered to be the challenger's specialty.
In the meantime, Batista must recover from the Friday night beatdown he had intended specifically for Henry. But The Great Khali better realize something, too. The combination of his Vise Grip and Henry's splash has backed The Animal into a corner, up against the odds -- a position where he is most dangerous.