Tale of the Tape: World Heavyweight Champion King Booker vs. Batista

On Aug. 20 at SummerSlam, King Booker will defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Batista, who will finally have his opportunity to reclaim the gold he forfeited eight months ago due to injury.

While Batista and King Booker are two of WWE’s top Superstars, they only have a combined five SummerSlam matches in the event’s storied nineteen year legacy. In each of King Booker’s previous SummerSlam appearances, he has been battling with championship gold at stake – twice as champion. Similar to the King, Batista has also been in championship situations in both of his appearances.

In 2004, Batista came to his first SummerSlam looking to claim the Intercontinental Championship, as he battled Chris Jericho and defending champion Edge in a Triple Threat Match. Edge retained the gold by pinning Y2J; but though Evolution’s Animal did not leave as Intercontinental champion, he was not pinned that night.

In the summer of 2005, Batista came to SmackDown as part of the Draft Lottery and quickly became the target of John Bradshaw Layfield. The rivalry between these two competitors culminated at SummerSlam in a vicious No Holds Barred Match. After laying JBL to waste with a savage Batista Bomb on top of the steel steps, The Animal made the cover and retained the World Heavyweight Championship.

One year later, King Booker stands at the top of the mountain in the same spot Batista stood in 12 months earlier. Four years before that, the imperial King was without crown, but did have championship gold around his waist at SummerSlam.

A pre-royalty Booker T made his WWE debut in June 2001 as a member of the Alliance in ECW and WCW’s invasion. As the last man to hold the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Booker came to WWE as the undisputed champion. With WCW owner Shane McMahon in his corner, Booker defended the championship at SummerSlam 2001 against one of WWE’s finest: The Rock. After hitting the meddling McMahon with a Rock Bottom, the People’s Champion did the same to Booker T to become the new WCW Champion.

The following year, Booker T had a new (and unlikely) alliance with the eccentric Goldust. After being (literally) kicked out of the reformed nWo, Booker aligned himself with his friend Goldust, who had been rejected by the nWo as well. This odd couple came to SummerSlam 2002 to challenge World Tag Team Champions Christian and Lance Storm, the Un-Americans. That night, Christan and Storm’s fellow Un-American, Test, provided some assistance in serving Booker and Goldust a disappointing loss in their Tag Team Championship quest.

In the summer of 2004, Booker won an eight-man elimination match on SmackDown to become the undisputed U.S. Champion. Nostalgic of the classic “best of” series between Booker and Chris Benoit in WCW, Theodore Long decided to put the gold on the line in a Best of Five Series between Booker and John Cena. SummerSlam was host to the opening match of the series; unfortunately, Booker lost, earning the five-time WCW Champion his third loss in a SummerSlam ring.

If The Animal can emerge from Boston as the new World Heavyweight Champion, he will have served WWE’s royalty, King Booker, his fourth SummerSlam loss since 2001. Batista is no stranger to high stakes matches at SummerSlam, but neither is the World Heavyweight Champion King Booker. Will King Booker finally earn a SummerSlam win at the Biggest Party of the Summer? Can his majesty be the first man to pin The Animal at a SummerSlam? Or will The Animal leave Boston with his second straight World Championship SummerSlam victory?

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