The Animal, Batista, returns to the WWE on January 20, just in time for the road to WrestleMania.
We last saw Dave Batista leaving in a wheelchair, quitting the WWE after losing an I Quit match with John Cena. Since then, Batista’s focused on his acting career, which led him to a supporting role in Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, Guardians of the Galaxy.
No one expected The Animal to return to the WWE. Now, however, he’s set to return and make an immediate impact. The question of the day is a huge one: Where does Batista fit into the WWE story?
He could face a plethora of opponents between now and WrestleMania 30, which is three months away. Batista is a sure lock to wrestle at the event. Who will take him on at WrestleMania 30?
Let’s see who could be paired with Batista.
Triple H and Batista during Evolution's glory days. Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Stacy Keibler and Jackie Gayda also feature in the photo.
Batista could take on either CM Punk or Triple H at WrestleMania 30. However, both potential opponents seemingly cancel each other out.
He has history with both champions. If Batista met Triple H, it would be a rematch of their WrestleMania 21 encounter, which he won for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista also fought Punk before for the world title at 2006’s Great American Bash, which ended without an official decision due to Kane’s outside interference.
Both opponents can put on a show with Batista, but apparently, their dance cards are full.
The Wrestling Observer (h/t WrestleZone.com) reported that the current plan is to have Punk and Triple H face each other at the event. Don’t expect either of these two to renew their feuds with Batista.
Now, let’s take a look at viable opponents.
Bryan rose to superstardom in 2013. A battle with Batista could become quite an intriguing matchup.
They fought each other during Batista’s heel run on May 3, 2010. Batista needed to beat the clock to win a title shot against John Cena. Bryan, who was still a member of NXT, gave Batista a run for the money, but eventually lost to The Animal.
Fast-forward to today, with Batista playing the returning star and Bryan the Superstar of the Year.
Batista can still put guys over if needed. He can do the same for Bryan, as it would be another accomplishment for the rising WWE Superstar.
F4WOnline.com (h/t WrestleZone.com) reported that The Undertaker allegedly wants Bryan at WrestleMania.
This event would be a rematch of WrestleMania 26, where Cena defeated Batista to win the WWE title.
Cena and Batista also went on to have good bouts with each other. The two fought in a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules and an I Quit match. Cena won both tilts.
Therefore, it would make sense if Batista sought revenge. The WWE Creative team can pitch Batista as a bitter Superstar seeking vengeance for the damage Cena did to him years ago.
The roles can be reversed if Cena defeats Randy Orton for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble event. Cena can enter as champion and Batista as challenger, but this scenario seems unlikely.
It looks as if Cena has been linked with other opponents—including our next choice for Batista, Bray Wyatt.
This unique WWE Superstar can provide a good big-man matchup for Batista.
Wyatt has the tools to be successful this year. He’s already provided drama with his persona. His Wyatt Family has grown on the WWE audience, which was evident on the December 30 episode of Raw when he welcomed Daniel Bryan into his family.
Batista can put over Wyatt at WrestleMania. Moreover, he can reveal a rare side of himself. We’ve hardly seen a scared, cowardly Batista. Maybe Wyatt can bring his creepy persona out for some mind games. It would be pure entertainment seeing The Animal run off from the Wyatt Family.
Wyatt has been linked to Cena at WrestleMania, but PWInsider.com (h/t Wrestling News Source) revealed that those plans have stalled.
Everyone wants The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The streak of 21-0 is still unmatched, and it's a streak every wrestler would love to end.
Batista should know, he has been the victim before. Seven years ago, at WrestleMania 23, he lost his world title to The Undertaker.
What an interesting rematch this would be. Batista would join Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Kane as the only men who have fought The Undertaker at multiple WrestleManias.
Rumor is the Deadman will wrestle Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30. However, The Wrestling Observer (h/t WrestleZone.com) notes that there's also concern surrounding this potential matchup.
Maybe Batista is a safer bet than Lesnar.
This makes the most sense story-wise and would make a natural progression in limited time.
Orton and Batista are no strangers, having been teammates in Evolution for two years. They helped Triple H and Ric Flair dominate the WWE.
Orton and Batista had a nasty breakup, but never really had that memorable a feud. Granted, they fought in 2008, but the bout didn’t live up to expectations.
They would have a chance to shatter those expectations if they met at WrestleMania 30.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter if Orton is champion by then. Book Batista as a jealous man who was never “the face of the WWE” and have him chase Orton no matter what. The WWE ran a similar angle with him during his feud with Cena. It can flip the switch with a potential Batista/Orton feud.
Batista vs. Orton is the best option for both men, as their stories can be built with limited time and their history would add vital background. The WWE has time to build it, but it needs to quickly decide how to use Batista for WrestleMania 30.