Brock Lesnar is back, Batista will soon follow him and WWE has to find a way to extract something other than buzz and money from those powerhouses.
Having those men back in the fold is an opportunity to elevate new stars. Last time around, Lesnar spent too much of his time battling Triple H, a man whose Hall of Fame induction is already assured. Instead, WWE can create career highlights for Superstars it believes can carry the company in the future.
No one is expecting Xavier Woods vs. Batista or Erick Rowan vs. Lesnar to happen, but the returning former world champs can't just be a pair of titans competing in their own realm. WWE must use Lesnar's and Batista's star power to help up-and-comers rise.
Lesnar returned on the last Raw of 2013, leaving Mark Henry flat on his back after announcing he would challenge the winner of Randy Orton vs. John Cena.
Cena and Lesnar locking horns once more or Orton meeting "The Beast" are both marquee matchups. WWE can't just have Lesnar battle established stars, though.
Lesnar's status and renown are viable tools for the company to build toward the future.
A win over Lesnar or even just a strong showing against the powerhouse would do wonders for a rising talent. Cena doesn't need his resume boosted any further. Orton is similarly set in that department.
A young lion must challenge the alpha male as well.
The same goes for Batista. "The Animal" is set to return on the Jan. 20 edition of Raw. Fans have to be excited about the possibilities of who he'll face.
For the sake of WWE's future, that list can't be confined to just the company's biggest names. Both Lesnar and Batista were the recipients of victories over big stars. The cyclical nature of pro wrestling demands they return the favor.
In 2002, Batista had yet to win any of his six world championships or main event WrestleMania. He was a promising talent in need of a boost.
That came in the form of a partnership with Ric Flair and a clash with Kane at Armageddon 2002.
Kane's career at the point had already been lined with gold and a healthy share of the spotlight. He and The Undertaker ruled as The Brothers of Destruction, and he'd defeated Steve Austin for the WWE Championship.
For Batista to pin him on a pay-per-view was a big step for The Animal.
WWE could have booked Kane to fight Kurt Angle that night or else make Shawn Michaels and Triple H's Three Stages of Hell match a Triple Threat bout. Instead, he acted as career enhancer for a young star WWE believed in.
Around the same time, Lesnar shot up the WWE ranks like a jet.
He went from NCAA wrestling champ to one of the top stars of the company. A huge part of that journey was taking the WWE title from The Rock at SummerSlam 2002.
The Rock was WWE's top dog at that time, and Lesnar's win signified incredible confidence. No amount of pinfall victories over Matt Hardy could have done for Lesnar what that night did.
Dubbed "The Next Big Thing," Lesnar compiled wins over Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker. He was made into a believable threat and a top-level star by way of such an impressive list of victims.
Who can WWE do that same thing for by using Lesnar and Batista as launching pads? That's the question the company must ask itself to strengthen its roster and assure its own success in the future.
Finding the balance between building new stars and creating money-making matchups is tricky. Lesnar vs. Cena II is of course a safer bet in terms of profit than Lesnar taking on Roman Reigns, but Cena won't be around forever.
Batista vs. Triple H is similarly more dependable financially than pitting Batista against Antonio Cesaro, but how does the former help WWE's future?
Letting the upper midcard rust while only the established top stars get the benefit of the spotlight will lead to a void in the main event when Cena can't compete any longer or when CM Punk decides to hang up his wrestling boots. There aren't enough wrestlers ready to take the top spots, and that's largely because they haven't been portrayed as capable of doing so.
Memorable performances against big names is a major part of getting men like Daniel Bryan in that position.
The solution is to have Batista and Lesnar face megastars at WrestleMania and lesser stars elsewhere. WrestleMania is too big a stage to take risks. Let Lesnar battle Undertaker at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 6 but clash with someone on a lower tier at Extreme Rules or Money in the Bank.
WWE gave Ryback a crack at the main event against Cena at Payback. However flawed the execution of that feud was, what the company got right was experimenting with someone less established at a lesser event.
WrestleMania is known as "The Showcase of the Immortals." The mortals still looking to gain their immortality need to be showcased as well.
If Lesnar does three matches all year, let one of them be against someone whose career will be altered by the experience. If Batista only does four pay-per-views, take a chance with one of the bouts he's in. They are both kings wearing crowns that WWE's many princes are in need of.
Batista and Lesnar will bring added viewers and pay-per-view buyrates, but beyond that, they offer WWE a chance to invest in its tomorrow.
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