Examining the Fan Backlash Against Batista After His Return to WWE

Sharon GlencrossContributor IJanuary 30, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

While his return on last Monday’s Raw may have garnered huge ratings for the company (via Tvbythenumbers), it’s abundantly clear that the fans are struggling to warm up to Batista.

He came to the ring last Monday to a respectable—but ultimately rather disappointing—response from the crowd.

Things took a turn for the worse at Sunday’s Royal Rumble when his victory in the match was vociferously booed by the fans in the Consol Energy Center.

Credit: WWE.com

Roman Reigns—a heel, remember—even received huge cheers from the fans when it looked like he would toss out “The Animal” to win the match. At that point, the people were just desperate for anyone but Batista to emerge victorious.

The star apparently didn’t take too kindly to the overwhelmingly negative reaction, even mocking and ridiculing the fans after the show went off the air, as WrestlingInc notes.

Bryan, far more over than Batista at the moment.
Bryan, far more over than Batista at the moment.From: WWE.com

His reaction on Raw the following night wasn’t nearly as vicious, but it still left a lot to be desired. Batista once again found himself besieged by “Daniel Bryan!” chants—to the point he even acknowledged them in his promo.

Why are the fans turning against him?

Undoubtedly, Bryan’s popularity is playing a significant role. The fans are eager to see him get pushed as a top guy and may resent Batista waltzing in and taking the top spot.

Credit: WWE.com

That Batista is visibly rattled by the chants may serve to encourage them.

His on-screen foes could be a problem, too. Placing Batista in a feud with the bland and rather boring Alberto Del Rio hasn’t helped matters.

And it’s difficult to see anyone getting worked up over the presumed Batista/Orton bout at WrestleMania XXX. Fans seem pretty underwhelmed by Orton as champion—just check out the reaction he and Cena got on Sunday. 

Credit: WWE.com

I can easily see the Orton vs. Batista match at WrestleMania XXX receiving thunderous boos if WWE doesn’t do something to this match to garner more interest in it. Adding in Bryan to make it a Triple Threat bout seems like the best idea.

But perhaps Batista’s real problem is that he’s simply not coming off as likable these days.

His gaudy fashion sense and mannerisms appears to scream “arrogant, obnoxious heel.” His once-blistering charisma seems to have faded, too. His promo work has been average at best.

Does anyone care about Orton vs. Batista?
Does anyone care about Orton vs. Batista?Credit: WWE.com

Perhaps his fledgling Hollywood career is also an issue. Do people see him as another part-timer, only there for the paycheck?

His aforementioned antics after the Royal Rumble weren’t exactly endearing behavior either. No wonder the fans are growing resentful of the 45-year-old.

Can he turn things around? Well, toning down his brash, ostentatious personality, and trying to come off as more modest and humble might help. Shaking up his by-the-numbers promo style may help too.

It's also possible that he still won't be able to properly get over as a babyface, in which case WWE may be forced to turn him heel. It's not an ideal option, but if Batista keeps on getting booed so vehemently, it may be the only one the company has.