Rage and retribution

Rage and retribution

FLORENCE, S.C. -- Only two things are clear about the situation surrounding Batista, Edge, Undertaker and the World Heavyweight Championship: Everybody hates everybody, and their building tensions will all come to a head at Armageddon.

Nine nights before he tries to reclaim the gold, however, Edge had a chance at retribution of a different kind. When the Rated-R Superstar interrupted Theodore Long's show-opening address to remind him that he was now SmackDown's Assistant General Manager and complain about Long's recent matchmaking, little did he know that Long would give him something he craved: A match with Kane, the Superstar who put him out of action with a torn pectoral muscle back in July.

The stage was set, but just before the bout, Edge took the chance to address the love of his life, Vickie Guerrero, who remains incapacitated thanks to Undertaker's Tombstone-powered attack two weeks ago. With guest commentator Batista -- who had defeated Elijah Burke earlier in the night -- looking on from the announcers' desk, Edge told Vickie he loved her and that she was in his heart.

When the Big Red Monster made his way to the ring, he didn't seem to have any heart -- or sympathy -- for Edge's plight. Kane wisely focused his attack on Edge's left arm and pectoral area, the same that had been injured back in July.

Late in the match, after Kane's flying clothesline sent him hurtling to the arena floor, a seemingly fed-up Rated-R Superstar reached for some reinforcement. He introduced a chair into the action, prompting the referee to call for the bell and throw the match out. Kane and Edge fought over the steel seat, with the Big Red Monster twice whacking Edge with it.

When the Big Red Monster tried to bring more steel -- this time the ring stairs -- into play, the Ultimate Opportunist seized the advantage and speared the seven-footer. But when he set up for a Con-Chair-To using the stairs as a base, Batista decided he'd seen enough and bolted into the ring to halt Edge's assault.

That's when things really got out of hand.

The lights went out at the sound of the familiar gong, and when they reset, Undertaker was in the ring holding Edge by the throat. For the second consecutive week, however, the Rated-R Superstar squirmed out of trouble, again proving to our fans why he is aptly known as the "Ultimate Opportunist." Seeing The Phenom in the ring -- and a chance to get some payback of his own for last week's chokeslam -- Batista charged and dropped Undertaker with a vicious spear. Meanwhile, Edge hightailed it out of Dodge, once again escaping trouble while leaving Undertaker and Batista "holding the bag," so to speak.

Despite two brutal battles in a row against Batista and Kane, the Rated-R Superstar may be in the best position of all heading into Armageddon; two weeks in a row, the Ultimate Opportunist has picked his spot to escape while The Animal and The Phenom destroy each other instead. This time, both Brothers of Destruction were left prone on the mat as the angry World Heavyweight Champion glared at the retreating Edge.

With that said, does Edge truly have the advantage heading into the ultimate showdown at Armageddon? It seems that the more he gets involved with Undertaker or Batista, the more those two actually build tension between themselves, leaving the Rated-R Superstar to opportunistically pick up the pieces -- and potentially the World Heavyweight Championship to boot.

Armageddon means the end of days. Will Dec. 16 be the final curtain for The Animal era, and the dawn of a Rated-R New Year?

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