Dave Batista is a six-time WWE and World Champion, a man who walked away from Vince McMahon and the company back in 2010. And, as with any other former Superstars, the rumor mill has been known to turn with word of a possible return. Well don’t look now, but it’s happening again.
That’s right folks—it seems that we could potentially see The Animal back in a WWE ring again this year, as according to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer (via Wrestlezone.com) Batista is “close” to returning.
And we’re off to the races.
Any time a story like this hits, the debates begin almost immediately. Is it good for WWE? Is it good for the Superstar in question? Do the fans even want him back in the first place?
But this is not just your typical WWE Superstar we’re talking about here. This is Batista, a guy who has been at the center of controversy many times in the past, and just the mention of his name is enough to get some fans very upset very quickly.
Who can forget his interviews with British tabloid newspaper The Sun beginning back in 2005? His comments caused a big stir among fans, who were stunned at his willingness to criticize other WWE talent.
I want everybody in this company to work as hard as me, Triple H and The Undertaker do. I want them to sack the guys who lack the passion for this business and this company—I don’t want them to be part of my show.
Some of the guys who I think should be on their way out the door are still being given opportunities to shine, and it’s up to them to take the bull by the horns and show that they really want to be out there.
While Batista’s words seem to be those of a man who is passionate about the business and only wants to see the company improve, keep in mind that he had only been on the main roster for three years. He was not exactly a veteran, a man who had a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer his peers.
He also said that there were performers on both Raw and SmackDown who were “lazy,” then claimed that AJ Styles in TNA was doing “stunts,” that it was not wrestling.
But, it doesn't stop there.
In February of last year, Batista gave another Sun interview, this time stating that the PG direction of WWE had ruined the product for him: “It’s well recorded I’m not a fan of the likes of John Cena or The Miz. It’s such a different company these days, and not in a good way.”
Truth be told, that particular interview actually echoes the sentiments of many fans out there who want the company to do something different. So, perhaps he is not that far off base with his comments.
And the fact is he speaks his mind, so he’s nothing if not honest.
What he says may rub some fans the wrong way, but at the end of the day, it’s just his opinion. Because he’s actually involved in the industry on WWE’s level does not necessarily mean he’s right about what he says.
But fans tend to have a long-term memory.
Will Batista be accepted back, embraced with open arms if he does indeed return?
A major point of contention for me is the fact that I never saw Batista as a great talent in the ring. For me, his best work came during his program with Triple H on Raw. The two Superstars feuded over the World Heavyweight Championship in a rivalry that saw Batista emerge from The Game’s shadow to become a main event WWE Superstar.
But the moment he was traded to Friday Night SmackDown, I began to see the flaws in his work. Simply put, he was not the same performer he once was, did not have quite the same shine, when working with Hunter.
He had a great look, all the intensity in the world and was a very marketable WWE talent. But when your repertoire consists of mostly clotheslines, kicks and power slams, then eventually you will start getting some heat from fans.
He was not a very well-rounded worker, a guy who could have a great match with anyone in the locker room on any given night.
But, does that really matter?
We are now seeing the rise of Ryback, a Superstar whose lack of ring skill has often been criticized much in the same way as Batista’s. However, that is not stopping WWE from spotlighting him, as he now seems to be headed for a program with the champ, John Cena.
So, is the focus on technical skill and charismatic mic skill truly as important to WWE fans as a whole? Is a wide assortment of different personalities with different levels of ability just as important now as it ever has been for WWE and its paying customers who want the best entertainment the company can provide?
Is there room for Batista back in WWE? Part-time or otherwise?
WWE’s programming has featured many returning Superstars in the past several months, from The Rock to Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar, even the occasional appearances of Attitude Era stars such as The New Age Outlaws.
Perhaps the time for Batista to return has never been better. It could potentially be a great fit for him, WWE and the fans.
Is it time to unleash The Animal once again?