Years ago, Glen Campbell sang the song, "By The Time I Get To Phoenix (She'll Be Rising)."
If he were to sing that song to describe Sunday's World Heavyweight Championship match, it would sound something like this: By the time we get to Phoenix, he’ll be standing.
The WHC rematch at WWE Royal Rumble 2013 featuring Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show already had the potential to be one of the better matches on the card. But the stipulation placed on it Monday—a Last Man Standing Match—put this bout squarely in the “great match” category.
If it is booked anywhere close to the previous LMS match between these two competitors, then the action will be hotter than the summer sun that burns over Phoenix.
That match—a rare treat earlier this month for SmackDown viewers—saw Del Rio and Big Show throw anything and everything they could find. It had all the action of a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match, plus the addition of ring steps and the broadcast booth for good measure.
A commonly used term in sports is “leaving it all out on the field.” In the case of their previous Last Man Standing match, Del Rio and Big Show left it all in the ring…not to mention ringside.
At the end, Del Rio was the Last Man Standing, albeit on some tired, wobbly legs. And he did so with the World title around his waist.
Of course, there was a back story to the SmackDown match.
Big Show’s contract was nearing an end, and negotiations had stalled. That prompted WWE management to put the World belt around Del Rio out of concern that SmackDown might be Big Show’s final WWE appearance.
But soon after that match, negotiations resumed, and Big Show got a new contract. But Del Rio still kept the title.
Now comes the rematch Sunday night.
Even if the LMS stipulation had not been placed on this match, it still would be a top-flight showdown.
Del Rio is in the middle of one of the biggest face pushes in WWE’s recent history. He is WWE’s version of Don Quixote, the literary character who fought windmills—only in this case, the windmill stands more than 7 feet tall and weighs almost 500 pounds. Unlike with Quixote, this windmill fights back.
Who do you think will win the Last Man Standing Match at Royal Rumble?
In recent weeks, Big Show has done some of his best heel work. He was an absolute brute in his feud with Sheamus, and he has not let up on Del Rio. Whether it was begging up to Vince McMahon or breathing fire over Booker T or Ricardo Rodriguez, Big Show has taken his heat status to new levels.
The Del Rio-vs.-Big Show feud has brought out the best in both superstars. Both men have shown an aggressiveness rarely seen in their careers.
Del Rio is relying more on his luchador and MMA background, adding moves such as moonsaults and an assortment of kicks to complement his Cross Arm Breaker finisher. Big Show is mowing down anyone and anything in his path, finally living up to a reputation deserving of a giant.
The Last Man Standing Match had to happen. And it will not disappoint.
While the 30-man Rumble match and the CM Punk-vs.-The Rock WWE title match may be considered the headliners at the pay-per-view, don’t short-change this match. In the past, matches for the World Heavyweight Championship have stolen the show on pay-per-views.
Sunday night, we will see that trend continue.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.