Former world champion Dave Batista is once again causing waves in the WWE Universe.
Unlike his recent return to the company, though, Batista is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, including reportedly giving fans the middle finger and mocking Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” chants after the 2014 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, according to Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.:
On his way back up the ramp, Batista got into a verbal altercation with a disgruntled fan who flipped him off. Batista could be seen on the big screen telling the fan that he'd snap him in half and then flipped the fan off while still on the big screen. He then mockingly did the "Yes!" chant at the top of the ramp while fans peppered him with boos. However, instead of using his pointer fingers, he used his middle fingers and flipped the crowd off.
Team Goldberg on Twitter provided an image obtained by WrestlingInc.com of Batista engaging the audience:
Batista Mocks Daniel Bryan After Last Night's Royal Rumble PPV pic.twitter.com/0QO31Q8qI9— Team Goldberg™ (@ImGoldbergGuy) January 27, 2014
WWE fan Zach Picciarelli was in attendance and shared a picture on Twitter of Batista possibly giving fans the finger:
You can't tell but Batista flipped this dude off while he was leaving 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RBAO8cT2nz— I'm Zach Picciarelli (@ZachP2517) January 27, 2014
The reports claim that Batista was legitimately upset that the fans in the arena had hijacked the main event by chanting for Daniel Bryan. Bryan had lost clean in the opening match against Bray Wyatt and was widely expected to be a late entrant in the Royal Rumble match and a serious contender to win.
The former WWE champion echoed the fans’ sentiment on Twitter:
Sorry guys, the machine wanted me nowhere near the Royal Rumble match. But I thank everyone for their support. YOU are the #YESMovement— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) January 27, 2014
They try to keep US down and away from the top spots, but they can’t ignore the reactions forever. Keep voicing your opinions. #YESMovement— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) January 27, 2014
When Rey Mysterio’s music hit at No. 30, it was clear that the Pittsburgh crowd had turned on the 30-man over-the-top-rope Royal Rumble match when the atmosphere in the building changed and the fans were visibly disappointed.
As the bout came down to the final two participants—Batista and Roman Reigns—the crowds unwavering support of Reigns also appeared to frustrate Batista.
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley shared his feelings on the show:
Does @WWE actually hate their own audience? I've never been so disgusted with a PPV.— Mick Foley (@realmickfoley) January 27, 2014
If the company had a long run as a face planned for Batista’s character, the reaction from the WWE Universe at the Royal Rumble and the former champion’s decision to instigate the fans afterward will not make this an easy sell.
Batista returned to the WWE on the Jan. 20 edition of Raw after spending four years away from the wrestling industry and was instantly launched back into the main event scene by earning his way into the main event of WrestleMania XXX.
Despite the hate surrounding the end of the main event, Batista took to Twitter to thank the fans that did support him:
Awesome night! And @VinceMcMahon walked away from my Royal Rumble win healthy and happy.. Love me or hate me thanks to everyone who watched.— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) January 27, 2014
There is no question that company officials must take a look at the situation and reassess the current plans. Batista was a better heel during his previous run, and the way he interacted with the fans made it clear he should be portraying a villain once again.
Did WWE get the booking of the Royal Rumble wrong?
As for how the officials will react to the reports of Batista’s poor post-match etiquette with the fans, there is already a report from PWInsider via Wrestling Inc. that there is backstage heat on the Royal Rumble winner for his actions.
That didn’t take long.
The 2014 Royal Rumble will go down in history as one of the most memorable pay-per-views in WWE history, but not for the right reasons.
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