WWE should have reversed the booking for Batista and John Cena.
For weeks, we've been seeing videos hyping the return of “The Animal.” I would have imagined a camera would have been waiting at the arena's back entrance all night to see him finally arrive.
There was a camera, but it was waiting for Cena.
WWE's logic is that Cena is distressed dealing with his father getting beat up a week ago by Randy Orton. So apparently, he was doing his best to get to Raw on time.
I've always hated this wrestling gimmick.
How does it make sense for the wrestlers to be showing up during the event, especially in the final five minutes?
It makes sense with some stories, like if a guy is a surprise or if it's rebel characters. With New World Order or Stone Cold Steve Austin, it made sense for them to show up right at the start of the show in a limo or come storming in with a beer truck.
But the poster boy of the company?
Perhaps there was a wild party on his travel bus out in the parking lot. Maybe he was crying about his dad being the new Spanish announcer's table. Every time he's at ringside, he's going down. It was good to see in the rush, Cena got his knee pads and wrist bands on.
The booking of these two stars was way off.
Batista's return segment was flat.
He left looking like Kanye West and returned looking like Pitbull. He does the spotlight, does the pyro, plays to the crowd and then after sounding like he's all blown up,he speaks very directly to Orton. He says he's back for the world title. Yay!
While he was trying to be a man who got right to the point, the whole thing seemed flat.
WWE had my interest in Triple H making remarks about Evolution and then Orton interrupting. However, as soon as Batista finally did make it to the ring, Triple H left. At least stay and give us some interesting exchange between all three.
Batista then comes out and gives a spine buster to Alberto Del Rio. It was not the most impressive version of the move he's ever done. I don't know if Del Rio wasn't cooperating, making it look bad or if Batista's jeans were too tight.
It should have gone like this:
In the ring, The Authority calls out Orton and reads him the riot act for his actions toward Cena's father. Cena eventually comes running to the ring to get his hands on Orton, barely gets him and Orton slides away.
We still have Orton versus Kingston for the “main event.”
Meanwhile, the camera continues to watch for the return of Batista.
During Orton versus Kingston, Cena comes out and the brawl ensues between the two. Finally, Batista's music hits, he walks out on the stage, does his schtick and motions to Orton that he's coming for the title.
Based on the way Raw did end, it was a lackluster finish with Orton slipping away in a car.
This, at least, would have been a more climactic end with finally seeing Batista appear. Even have the entire roster come out and try to separate the two men. Then Batista comes out and stares the whole locker room down and signals he wants the title. A fitting ending for the last Raw before Royal Rumble.
If Monday's booking is a sign of things to come, I'm concerned.
One more booking note for WWE is that Batista needs to be a heel. I understand he has to be a babyface because it's that return pop, but there are few solid heels on the roster.
WWE, if you want an easy heel turn, put Batista right in the title match, and leave Daniel Bryan out of the whole picture. Never mind, looks like you already got the memo.
Justin LaBar is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He also is the creator of the Chair Shot Reality video talk show and Wrestling Reality radio show. He's been featured by various outlets including several appearances on NBC Sports recognized as a lead wrestling analyst in the country.