As WWE fans know by now, Batista is returning to the company and is scheduled to appear on the January 20 edition of Monday Night Raw. The former World champion is coming back after a four-year absence, and since WWE announced his return, fans have been speculating as to exactly what he will do when he gets back.
But much of that speculation likely did not center on Alberto Del Rio. "The Mexican Aristocrat" has taken exception with Batista's return and recently spoke out on WWE programming about "The Animal." The fact that both men have exchanged words on Twitter has done nothing but add fuel to the fire, and they appear to be headed for a rivalry beginning at the Royal Rumble on January 26.
And that rivalry would be bad for both sides.
All of this has struck me as being odd. After all, we have not seen much out of Del Rio for a while now, and at this point his main event career has all but disappeared. He has been in the middle of the card since losing the World Championship to John Cena back in November of 2013 and has actually lost to Sin Cara on two different occasions in recent weeks.
This is not the big-time player whom fans had grown accustomed to seeing. Though he has had his critics in the past, the truth is that Del Rio is a solid performer in the ring and a good heel as well. He is dependable and consistent week in and week out.
But the Del Rio that we see now is a man who is trying to find himself. He is below the main event level and is floundering with no real rivalries to speak of. He is capable of more, but right now WWE does not seem interested in letting him do more.
So what is the logical move to get Del Rio back in the thick of things? Have him talk trash about Batista, of course.
The war of words began on Twitter, as is often the case. Del Rio took a couple of shots at Batista, who then fired back. The exchange was indirect, as each man talked around the other instead of talking to each other.
But when Del Rio began talking about Batista on the air, it became obvious that this was indeed the direction that WWE would be going. And now we are faced with the likelihood that Del Rio will feud with Batista when "The Animal" returns.
My biggest issue with this is that Batista gains nothing by working Del Rio.
Again, this is not the Del Rio who was working main event matches with John Cena. This is a Del Rio who has nothing else to do right now other than work Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio—two rivalries that many fans do not want to see revisited.
What good comes from Batista crushing Del Rio at this point in his WWE career?
While the truth is that Del Rio is an accomplished athlete, an amateur wrestling standout in Mexico and of course a decorated Superstar in WWE, fans care more about today than yesterday. His current place in the company means little to anyone as long as he seems to be standing still.
So the reality is that if he and Batista start a new rivalry, then The Animal is going over. The truth is that Del Rio does not stand a chance.
And what does a win over him do for Batista? Does it put him right back on track to the top of WWE? Or is it just a warm-up feud for him as he moves back up the ladder?
To think that he would agree to come back for anything less than a main event run seems unlikely to me. I believe that The Animal is back for a program that could even include the WWE World Championship at some point.
How does that program even remotely include Del Rio?
While I respect him, I do not believe he is the right opponent for Batista. They won't match up well in the ring, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
The fans want to see guys who have chemistry in the ring. They want the back-and-forth, the give-and-take in a match that they have come to expect from WWE's most consistent performers. This describes Del Rio, but his aggressive technical game may not mesh with Batista's power game.
Combine that with the fact that losing another high-profile match would do nothing but lower Del Rio's star even more, and I am left wondering why WWE would choose to go this route at all.
The fact is that all of this speculation may be for nothing. We could see him and Batista just trade shots during the Royal Rumble match, and then the moment might end with Batista throwing him over the top.
That might be the end of the short heat between them. And that is exactly what should happen.
The potential rivalry between Del Rio and Batista is one that fans have been speculating on since the moment the two men exchanged words on Twitter. But now that we are close to Batista's return, this supposed imminent feud should not happen.
Batista is heading up, and Alberto is standing still. And after the Royal Rumble, that could still be the case.