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The Next Big Thing

The Return of The Animal

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Love him or hate him, Batista is coming back, and that is great news for the WWE universe.

I personally found Dave Batista to be quite bland for the majority of his main event run. As the powerhouse in Evolution, I loved him, and was a bit disappointed when he left Evolution to go after Triple H and his gold solo, but that was more to do with the fact that I just loved Evolution so much and hoped that they would last longer than 2 years on and off (they formed originally in February 2003 and were to be back up to Triple H for that years WrestleMania, but in a short time both Batista and Orton picked up injuries, and the stable was completely abandoned, apart from the duo of HHH/Flair which existed beforehand. Orton returned in June 2003, Batista in November 2003 until they really got going, and abandoned March 2005). However, the group served it's purpose, consolidate Triple H as an unmovable power on Raw, bring/keep Ric Flair back to relevancy, and give the big push to two sure things, first Orton, then Batista. Orton's face run with the title and exodus from Evolution was sub par, sure there was fire at the start, but as we have seen over the years and what could be seen right away, Orton as a face was no dice. Batista's face turn was some of the best storytelling that WWE had done at that time for a long period.

Always a heel until then, he was a perfect fit as a no name entrant into the group and lived up to his part as the guy in the background to champ Trips and IC champ Orton. When Orton was gone, Batista became number 2. The turn, as I said, was masterful storytelling (at least in wrestling lol), such was the hate of Triple H that the idea of someone screwing him over appealed to fans. As Batista began to get a greater push, the end of the story was clear, but WWE took their time on this one, with a game of cat and mouse over whether Batista would use his WrestleMania title shot (by virtue of winning the 2005 Royal Rumble) to go after JBL on Smackdown or his leader Triple H. When he turned on Triple H, it was sadly the end of Evolution but Batista was created as a megastar and the future. One of the problems I have with "fans" is the crap they give to Triple H. As a dominant heel, he provided foil on par with McMahon for his rivalry with Stone Cold, he arguably gave The Rock his greatest rivalry, and in his presence, two of the biggest names in recent years got their aura about them. The Orton turn only lasted when he has Triple H to feud with, as soon as that was over he was right back to being a heel, the program with Batista was flawlessly done and turned a guy who was never face before into a huge face.

Anyway, in 2005, mid way through the Ruthless Aggression era, WWE acquired their two primary face main eventers, John Cena and Batista. The problem though, after Mania, they were a bit too alike. While Batista feuded with Triple H for several months and continued to shine in The Games presence, John Cena's face run involved him colliding with JBL, who was a good foil for him, but his next feud was with Eric Bischoff in a poor mans rip off of Austin-McMahon, with various cronies. Batista switched shows with John Cena and went to Smackdown and feuded with JBL, who as a main eventer, had lost the lustre of being around the WWE championship. Both were now supposed to be leaders of the programs they were in, but without the tailor made feuds that brought them to the dance, things got a bit bland for both.

Batista as a face, I'm sure I'm not alone, was not well received by a lot of people. By the majority it certainly was, but among people that were impatient to see new things, we weren't getting them. Post JBL, Batista was in a tag team with Rey Mysterio facing off against Kane & Big Show in the aftermath of the brand rivalry between Raw and Smackdown, and then... he got injured just as he was finally gaining half decent momentum as the leader of the show. His momentum wavered a little bit because JBL was a guy who was in the main event because they needed someone to fill that spot, and he lost his championship that gave him that presence (they say the title doesn't make the man, the man makes the title, in JBL's case, the title certainly made him in the main event scene at least) while Batista was entrusted post Triple H to carry the program, and he got involved in a silly sexual harassment storyline with Melina in late 2005 as well. When he relinquished his title, it was big news, but Kurt Angle was ready to do an able job when counted, so he was still replaceable in that regard.

When he returned in late 2006, he went after Booker T and tried to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. After a feud, he captured the belt one more time and got the chance to impress again. Still though, all Batista had done was "SMASH! BANG!" and not much else, he was the Cena of Smackdown as the more hardcore fans were bored with their world champions. If the feud with Triple H made Batista a main event star, the battles with The Undertaker sealed it with an envelope.

For WrestleMania 23, Undertaker had chosen to go after Batista's title in the first of a series run of big name streak matches, nowadays there is no argument, he will probably (and never should) be defeated at WrestleMania, but at 23 the argument was more up in the air, if Cena was number 1, Batista was certainly tied at 1 or a close number 2. Batista lost at the showcase of the immortals, but his reputation was enhanced in the match of the night. Throughout the majority of 2007, Undertaker v Batista was as they say "money", and the two traded victories and were billed as even stevens.

Largely though, Batista had been quite injury prone. Whenever things seemed to be going well, he got sidelined. When he returned with the company behind him, he would inevitably be sidelined once again. I'm not going to look up into that but Batista has arguable been off of television about 10 times, if not more. This hurt development. When not involved with a big name main eventer, he just appeared to be bland, a typical "good guy" character, best buddies with Rey Mysterio, coming to the rescue when people were in need, without a Taker or an Edge to play off, there wasn't much substance. Peopl still cheered for him of course, but alot of WWE fans have been manipulated to cheer for who they are "supposed" to cheer for, and he was one of them. Whereas Cena never got injured and could show fire when needed, all Batista had when not in a main event was his physique. When feuding with someone like Great Khali, there was a glass ceiling that couldn't really be broken. Then he'd get injured again.

In late 2009, something marvellous happened. Batista developed a vendetta against old friend Rey Mysterio, and finally started showing some out of the ring personality. Personally as a main eventer, this was the only time I enjoyed Batista, and he quickly became my favourite. If John Cena ever turned heel, we got a little preview here, and it was awesome. They say wrestlers are better in roles that are basically them with the volume turned a little bit up, well Batista as himself was a masterstroke. I wouldn't really have been a Batista fan if it was not for this turn, now I welcome him back, it is a shame it didn't last very long, but it was glorious.

Take care folks, hope you feel the same, if you want to mention anything please go ahead and add to this

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  1. TheGreatOne's Avatar
    I really enjoyed his Mysterio feud, but his Cena feud going into WM26 sucked big time. I'm excited for his return, I want Batista/Lesnar which is almost a decade in the making type of dream match. People were asking for that match clear back in the summer of 05. Hopefully his return doesn't end up like RVDs where he feuded with guys who you didn't really care if he faced. Guys like Ambrose/Del Rio.....really? No summerslam match on the ppv? Left after boring Del Rio? BOOK BATISTA RIGHT!!

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