Who's really on the Edge?

Who's really on the Edge?

TAMPA, Fla. -- The battle lines have been drawn: Friday night in Roanoke, Va., it will be World Heavyweight Champion Batista vs. No. 1 Contender Edge in a battle for the richest prize on SmackDown.

While the match may have come about via nefarious means -- namely, Edge's newly-revealed relationship with General Manager Vickie Guerrero -- it's one that both men are eagerly looking forward to. For the Rated-R Superstar, it's a chance to regain the title he was unceremoniously forced to relinquish due to injury four months ago; for The Animal, however, it's a chance to right a wrong, a chance to take out revenge for actions that he may have benefited from, but didn't particularly ask for.

When asked to comment on the upcoming match, Batista told WWE.com that he said everything he needed to last Friday night when he threatened Edge, saying, "You deserve every bit of the ass whooping I'm going to give you." The Animal did, however, offer one more piece of insight into his next World Heavyweight Championship defense:

"I'm really looking forward to it … yeah, I can't wait!"

Edge, on the other hand, was even more reserved, simply stating, "I'll do my talking in the ring."

While it's understandable that both men are looking forward to this match for obviously different reasons, there is an X Factor to this match: Undertaker. The Phenom can't be happy about the recent turn of events surrounding the World Heavyweight Championship, and he showed his disgust last Friday night by dropping SmackDown General Manager and fervent Edge supporter Vickie Guerrero on her head with a vicious Tombstone Piledriver.

If The Deadman's willing to attack the leader of the Blue Crew -- whether it was deserved or not -- over the recent transgressions of her new love interest, what is he going to do to Edge when he gets the chance? Turnabout is fair play, and that would mean an Undertaker attack on the Rated-R Superstar during next week's bout would be within the rules of battle.

At this point, it's hard to tell who the deck is stacked against most. It would seemingly be Edge, who not only has given both Batista and Undertaker reasons to annihilate him, but also watched his biggest ally carted out of the St. Pete Times Forum on a stretcher last week after Undertaker's attack.

Vickie Guerrero was taken to a local medical facility immediately after SmackDown, but as of yet there has been no update on her condition, and it is unclear if she will be able to be at Edge's side this Friday night. Given those circumstances, it seems that the Rated-R Superstar might be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

However, is Batista really the one in trouble? Even without Vickie Guerrero, Edge is a bitter, crafty, cunning former champion who knows how to get the job done and isn't afraid to bend the rules to do it. Add in the fact that Undertaker admitted before Survivor Series that Batista's title is "the one thing I want most," and it would be easy to believe that even the concept of a common enemy might not save The Animal from The Phenom's wrath.

The entire World Heavyweight Championship scene is a powder keg right now, and even the smallest spark will set off quite possibly the biggest explosion ever. Someone has to walk away from it with the gold after the next Friday Night SmackDown … but what kind of shape will the winner be in?

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