Batista's Return Elevates the WWE Championship Picture

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 21, 2014

Just moments after returning, Batista made his intentions clear—to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Having "The Animal" back and thrust immediately into contention adds intrigue to the chase for the WWE title. His championship pedigree makes for a crowded and compelling title picture, fueled by unpredictability.

On Monday's Raw, fans watched as Batista pantomimed shooting off machine guns amid pyrotechnics, for the first time in nearly four years. He interrupted Randy Orton's rant and stared down the champ. Orton extended his hand; Batista ignored it.

Explaining why he came back, Batista pointed to Orton's championships and said, "for that."

The line for the company's top title now includes John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Batista—a collection of wrestlers with a total of 23 world championships between them. The star power of that group is immense.

Whoever emerges from that foursome with the gold will hold a prize even more precious that it is now.

Orton's reign has been held back by him so often lucking his way into championship status. A distraction from The Authority earned him a win at Survivor Series. A Shawn Michaels superkick won him the title at Hell in a Cell. 

After ducking Daniel Bryan and outlasting Cena once, Orton now finds himself in a den of wolves where survival will elevate one man and the title itself.

Batista charging into the championship picture is no example of creative storytelling. Like with Lesnar, Batista didn't have to earn his place in line in any dramatic way. He simply announced that he was in contention.

Batista tells Randy Orton that he's after the WWE title.
Batista tells Randy Orton that he's after the WWE

That being said, there is something appealing about a stripped-down narrative that just focuses on a championship. WWE can add personal elements to the story later on, but for now, Batista just wants to be champion again and that's an attention-grabbing start.

There is now an intersection of rivalries old and new surrounding the the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Batista and Orton's partnership in Evolution makes that an interesting potential direction to take things. As for Lesnar, he offers Batista a new enemy, their clash promising to be an explosive one. The Animal and Cena had a rivalry worth revisiting, as they produced some great battles back in 2010.


This is why the powerhouse adding himself to the mix benefits the buildup to WrestleMania XXX.

There is a sense of uncertainty heading into "The Show of Shows," rather than the predictability that plagued last year's main event. Last year, The Rock and Cena were on the proverbial collision course.

Fans saw that coming long before Cena won the Rumble, and The Rock dethroned CM Punk. It didn't seem likely that Punk could survive against The Rock and enter the year's event as champ. "The Great One" is just too much of a megastar to be passed by for the WrestleMania spotlight.

As for Cena, he'd lost to The Rock at WrestleMania 28, and chances of WWE's golden boy getting a shot at redemption was the safest bet of the year.

This time around, the options are now far more plentiful. Batista vs. Orton, Lesnar vs. Cena, Lesnar vs. Batista or Batista vs. Cena are all viable marquee matchups for WrestleMania XXX. 

A magnetic energy accompanies the current WWE title picture as multiple men strive for the championship. Having the biggest stars express their desire to win it makes it feel more significant to the audience. A lack of this element has dragged the midcard titles down.

When was the last time someone challenged Dean Ambrose for the U.S. title? When was the last time someone even said that they want to carry that belt?

The WWE World Heavyweight Championship, on the other hand, is now sought after by four Superstars who have all headlined WrestleMania. It is the single crown over which four kings must wage war.

The end result will be a champion who can brag about besting an impressive set of names. For Bryan, Punk, Roman Reigns or whoever else enters the picture after that, their victory would mean even more, making them the rising sumo wrestler who takes down the yokozuna.