SK's take on a possible Dave Batista return to the WWE
Our view on whether a Batista return would be best for business.
Fans of 'The Animal' Dave Batista were given reason to celebrate recently with the news that the former WWE Champion has been in talks with owner Vince McMahon on a possible return.
We have not seen Batista since his less than inspired comeback in 2014, and given how it all played out last time around, it's safe to say the jury is still out on whether the company would benefit from having him back inside the ropes.
Along with fellow OVW alumni John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, Batista was initially seen as the shining star in WWE's next golden generation following the conclusion of the Attitude Era.
With Vince McMahon embracing a more family-friendly product built on smart business practices and merchandise sales, the charismatic, marketable Animal seemingly had the world at his feet.
With Brock Lesnar gone from the company in early 2004, and John Cena and Randy Orton facing significant resistance from the audience for being seemingly forced upon us, Batista was busy entertaining the fans with solid feuds and matches.
However, in true Vince McMahon fashion, his obsession with the less likeable Orton and Cena soon saw Dave's stock plummet which inevitably led to him seeking opportunities elsewhere.
In hindsight, it is easy enough to see why Batista's 2014 return did not have the effect Vince and Triple H presumably desired. The guy was coming into a far different climate, with fans determined to see the more technical former Indie athletes like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan lead the WWE in a new direction. Batista represented the idea that regardless of what the fans want, Vince will always favour the muscle-bound monsters he primarily helped to create.
With Batista becoming the 2014 Royal Rumble winner and Daniel Bryan not even in the conversation, the audience in attendance, and countless others watching at home, were not afraid to let their displeasure be heard. In one of the most unfortunate endings to a Rumble match, Batista's victory was met with a chorus of boos as the rest of WWE Creative were sent into panic mode.
Despite Dave then going on to feature in a highly popular feud involving The Shield and Evolution, the fans' dislike of the Animal persevered and once again the would-be A-Lister found himself leaving the company under quite a heavy cloud.
With this series of events still fresh in our minds, would a Batista return be the wisest decision at present? After all, there's no guarantee that the ill-feeling would have dissipated and we could see an unfortunate re-run play out yet again.
Despite these concerns, it is still our perspective that with all things being equal, the WWE should definitely be hoping for the return of the Animal. The reasons for this are two-fold:
Firstly, just as 2014 was a different time compared with 2010 when Batista last made his exit, 2018 is a different time still. Rather than coming into a company with the likes of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk at the helm, Batista will be re-joining a roster currently spearheaded by Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, three much less likeable and revered Superstars.
In this sense, Batista wouldn't necessarily be taking the place of anyone 'more deserving'. Given the sheer lack of enthusiasm held by the WWE Universe for the proposed Wrestlemania 34 main event, the Animal will probably be more of a breath of fresh air.
Secondly, if there's one thing the WWE are missing at the moment, it's star-power. The reason why guys like Batista, John Cena and Randy Orton were allowed to get over in the way they did was that they still have a talented roster to assist them. When you're main-eventing shows with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, Undertaker and Chris Jericho, getting the fans to notice and care about you is fairly straight-forward.
Today's main eventers do not have that luxury and are instead left to fend for themselves in the hope that at least one part-timer decides to come out of semi-retirement. Batista could be that leg-up for today's generation. Now is the time to see it happen.
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