The Deadman rises to the occasion

The Deadman rises to the occasion

INDIANAPOLIS -- Undertaker made his long-awaited return to Friday Night SmackDown in frighteningly dominant fashion. Mark Henry, on the other hand, left Friday Night SmackDown in a manner that no one -- particularly he -- could ever envision: Flat on his back. (Watch the exclusive video available at WWE Mobile at AT&T.)

The World's Strongest Man hadn't appeared intimidated as he entered Conseco Fieldhouse's squared circle for his return match with Undertaker. He even kept mouthing off to our fans at ringside, "Not this time," as he waited for his opponent, The Phenom who had bested him less than two weeks before at Unforgiven. Still perceiving himself as the "king of the SmackDown jungle," Henry would be damned before he allowed any competitor to prove otherwise.

But then the death knell sounded, a hauntingly familiar insignia was set ablaze, and thick, ominous smoke rose from the ground -- all signaling the return of the man who can't be destroyed. Our fans erupted to their feet as Undertaker slowly stepped through the ropes, removed his coat and hat, and revealed the cold, lifeless eyes rolling up in his head. And upon seeing The Deadman's bone-chilling visage, Henry's face instantly revealed alarm and realization. The alarm that he was, in fact, damned this night...and the realization that there was nothing he could do to save himself.

Undertaker had not appeared on SmackDown in over four months due to injuries sustained mostly at the hands of his adversary. And even though he had already garnered his pound of flesh from the strongman who took him out of action and cost him his World Heavyweight Championship last May, it became immediately clear that he wanted more last Friday in Indianapolis. He wanted Henry's soul.

Despite his noticeable dread, Henry quickly took the offensive, almost mauling Undertaker with the power from his sequoia-sized arms. For several moments, it looked like if the self-proclaimed Silverback might remind our fans exactly why they, the entire SmackDown roster or anyone else who crosses his path should fear him. But The Deadman who fears nothing, like he had foretold Henry and his legion of followers through numerous omens in the weeks prior to his return, just kept coming back.

The best pure striker in sports-entertainment proceeded with a barrage of fists that made even the seemingly-immovable Henry stagger backwards. Then, with a supernatural strength that could well rival the World's Strongest Man, Undertaker chokeslammed the 400-pounder to the canvas, almost down to the very depths of Hell itself. By that point, the referee's three-count appeared almost excessive; he could have counted to three, 10, even 50, and still Henry would not have stirred.

As ring announcer Justin Roberts officially declared Undertaker the victor, The Phenom remained on one knee and stared endlessly into the worshipping crowd. Undertaker was back on Friday Night SmackDown, and he had just served notice to those who might be foolish enough to follow Mark Henry's example. Should they try, then like him, they too will rest in peace.

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