At this point in time, I'm bold enough to admit I'm extremely confused.
Over the years, I've been quite vocal with my displeasure over the returns of part-timers (even equated The Rock to John Cena) and their immediate thrust into the spotlight. It was unfair, but not unreasonable. WWE partly needed these stars for higher buyrates.
As the response to my articles, especially the one on Brock Lesnar, would suggest, I was a part of a small minority that I didn't mind belonging to. We were treated as the snobbish elitist jerks who couldn't enjoy the little things in wrestling, and we were content with that title.
Dave Batista returned to WWE after four years to what Michael Cole believes was a "thunderous ovation" despite him being accustomed to the #YESMovement on a weekly basis. Yet another part-timer was welcomed with love by WWE Creative and given a spot he should never have gotten.
Fans, however, have now chosen to drown The Animal with their maelstrom of hate. It's not wrong to ask "why." It's wrong to ask "why now."
If this hate is for the much-needed relevance of current WWE superstars, why does this hate rise now? The Rock waltzed into the WWE, bounced his pecs, did a few hops and flexed 1,000-plus times. He was absolute trash in the ring, delivered promos containing stupid jokes that could trend on Twitter intermixed with catchphrases and got turned off with the industry he loves with all his heart at any sign of an injury hurting his movie career.
He did it (for the people apparently), and he was loved.
CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns all existed back then and had their fair share of crowd support (Punk more than others). Dolph Ziggler was a YES Movement away from becoming relevant and a WWE main-event regular.
Brock Lesnar returned to crowds that lost their minds and ended up being in the main events for major WWE pay-per-views. He even demanded a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match simply because he was interested in it. Yet, that got people hyped, and not one questioned The Beast Incarnate's absolute destruction of the fictitious championship hierarchy in this kayfabe world.
Chris Jericho returned to get a WWE title match at WrestleMania and was respected throughout the feud.
Now, surprisingly, people are choking Batista because he represents a concept they once embraced. To anyone who showed similar emotions for The Rock's title win or Brock's win over Punk, this article is not for you. It's not hard to pinpoint that what the fans are really angry about is not that a movie star entered WWE for promotion and a lucrative pay check, but rather that this very superstar isn't very good at what he does.
I find it hard to believe that the rebelliousness shown is for WWE's constant burial of talent and instead is more of a mask for disappointment and annoyance associated with Batista's skills. If Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to challenge for the title, fewer fans would care about Bryan's exclusion.
This is, and has always been, the way we want it to be. There is no right way to use a part-timer, and there is no line that can be crossed. From guest-hosting WrestleMania to title shots, we'll embrace anything if the role complements the individual.
There is no moral code, there's just this—can love for a wrestler conquer another's?
Thanks for the read, all.
Shalaj Lawania is known for his disappearing acts, because being there all the time is too mainstream. Do show him love, he needs it. For more love, you can follow him on Twitter if you have a good annoying tweets threshold. For the rest, use Wikipedia.