By Mike McAvennie
Written: July 27, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. – The Great Khali had reason to hold a “Championship Celebration” on SmackDown Friday night. In just over a week, he established his monstrous dominance in a 20-Man Battle Royal to win the World Heavyweight Title, then defeated two of WWE’s mightiest Superstars at The Great American Bash. Therefore, Khali stood in the ring and allowed himself to be adorned by translator Ranjin Singh, as well as dancers and worshippers who bowed before his colossal presence. Truly, it was to be a night of festivity, Punjabi-style, for a champion whom SmackDown commentator John Bradshaw Layfield referred to as “the unstoppable giant.”
Apparently, JBL’s words went unheeded by Batista, who stopped the jubilant celebration, the dancing and bowing, and most incredibly, the giant himself.
Batista crashed the Punjabi-style party with a definite intent, and it wasn’t to dispute Singh’s favor-currying comparisons of The Great Khali to Indian pioneers like Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and M. Night Shyamalan. It was evident that he still seethed with pent-up Animal rage over Khali pinning Kane at The Bash’s Triple Threat Match, thereby also depriving him of the World Heavyweight Title. In fact, Batista’s emotions seemed to be running especially high Friday night, judging from the brute-forceful manner in which he dispensed with one-half of the WWE Tag Team Champions, Deuce, earlier in the evening.
It’s almost inconceivable that a 6-foot-6 powerhouse like Batista could look like an undersized underdog in anyone’s presence. But The Great Khali isn’t just anyone; at 7-foot-3 and 420 pounds, the largest World Champion in WWE history dwarfed even the unimpressed Animal, who stood before him with a proposition: “I want to challenge you to a one-on-one match against me for the World Heavyweight Title. And if you’re so great, you’ll accept.”
Our fans in Fresno’s Save Mart Center were all for it, judging from the ovation that accompanied Batista’s words. Having witnessed his unforgettable several-month odyssey to reclaim the World Heavyweight Title from Undertaker, then Edge and, most recently Khali, they could certainly appreciate Batista’s relentless devotion toward sports-entertainment’s biggest prize – a prize that now laid on the massive shoulder of an unstoppable giant.
The Great Khali replied in his native tongue, though our fans heard the one word they needed to understand, and condemn, his answer: An emphatic “No! No!”
At that moment, Batista no longer viewed Khali as some unconquerable T-Rex, or a World Champion who held victories over himself, Kane, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and John Cena. Instead, he saw a seemingly-immovable Goliath falter for the briefest of instants. And that’s when The Animal struck.
Unloading a series of punches that could topple even the strongest wall, Batista actually made The Great Khali stagger. The shocked World Champion tried grabbing his challenger by the throat, almost defensively, but The Animal quickly broke the hold. Propelling himself off the ropes, Batista then dropped Khali with a spear that would have impaled any lesser being. Our fans in Fresno erupted as the so-called unstoppable giant practically free-fell to the canvas (trust us – at his size, he free-fell), then rolled to the outside floor, clearly in pain.
As The Animal continued roaring in the ring, the World Heavyweight Champion and his underhanded underling retreated up the SmackDown ramp. For them, the party was over. More important, a message was delivered: However difficult it might be, The Great Khali, the unstoppable giant, could be stopped…and, provided he gets the title opportunity that he demands, Batista may well be the man to do it.
“Make no bones about it,” Michael Cole announced as the disrupted Championship Celebration ended and SmackDown went off the air. “Batista wants his championship back, and he’s going to stop at nothing to get it!”