With WrestleMania season just around the corner, the big stars are lining up for potential returns to the company at the peak time of the year for the WWE.
At the age of 44—and having not wrestled for the company since his departure in 2010—it is a brave move by all parties to resume their relationship and have Batista return to the WWE. However, he is still a huge name and will provide another huge draw for the company at an exciting time to be involved with WWE.
The main problem with a returning Superstar—especially one who has not been active for a number of years—is deciding whom he should feud with ahead of a busy period. There are plenty of available options and plenty of big names at the disposal of creative to pair Batista up against. Creative also has a big decision to make in terms of whether to return Batista as a heel or a face. His potential opponent may well determine that path, however.
The beauty of having John Cena go at it with The Animal is that it draws Cena away from the championship picture. That is a good thing for several reasons.
First, it enables someone of the ilk of Daniel Bryan or CM Punk to have a tilt at wrestling for the newly unified championship at WrestleMania 30, which will no doubt please many wrestling fans.
It also adds another match of pure star quality to what is expected to be a stellar card at the showpiece event. Cena vs. Batista would be a highly anticipated feud for another reason, too, as it would resume the rivalry they had in 2010.
Batista is certainly a more credible character as a heel, and having him go off against the WWE's top face would make superb sense.
Of course, the other option for Batista is for him to work as a face on his return to the company. Finding a top heel would be tricky, though—Randy Orton is one of a few who could force a successful rivalry out of a character with as high a profile as Batista.
However, the beauty of WrestleMania season is that there are plenty of part-timers returning. One of those will be Brock Lesnar, and that would make for a fantastic rivalry.
It will put two guys of sheer brute force and strength up against each other, and they would surely bring the best out of each other both in the ring and on the microphone.
The other positive point to Batista vs. Lesnar is that it could enable a path for another legend to seamlessly return for WrestleMania season.
Batista was, of course, a member of the stable Evolution in the early 2000s. Another member of that stable was Ric Flair, who acted as a mentor for the group during its days in the WWE.
When Lesnar returns, Paul Heyman would return by his side, too. If Batista could return with Flair by his side, it would add yet another interesting twist to a potentially explosive rivalry.
Now, here's the curveball option. This does depend on the members of The Shield splitting and going their own ways, but if they do, one of the members could get a huge kick-start to his solo career by feuding with Batista.
Per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), the plans for Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble are "bigger than anyone would have thought." Reigns has a similar makeup and build to Batista, and in many ways, he's seen as a young incarnation of The Animal.
If Reigns turned face and went solo, what better way to start his career than by taking on Batista on the biggest stage of them all? With Batista playing such an excellent heel, it would enable Reigns to morph into a face character much easier than if he were feuding with anyone else in the WWE.
In many ways similar to the Brock Lesnar option, it would be a rivalry that would pit two guys who have a very similar look together. Perhaps more importantly, it would create a long-term legacy for a guy like Roman Reigns, who looks set for a very big future.
Who do you think should take on The Animal when he returns? Leave your comments below.