Despite recent WWE programming, Batista did win this year's Royal Rumble.
He came back after a four-year absence and won the big event to punch his ticket to WrestleMania. Since then, he's been featured in no way like a traditional Royal Rumble winner would be.
It's common for the winner to kick off Raw the next night with a big celebration and a video package shown about his career and character. Not the case for Batista.
Batista just had one small segment in the ring with Randy Orton in the middle of the show, which was dominated by Brock Lesnar's somewhat random appearance.
The next week, Batista came out and was immediately confronted by Alberto Del Rio.
Little fanfare has been made about him challenging the champion at WrestleMania and him beating 29 other guys in the classic match.
It's almost as if WWE's having second thoughts on if he should have beaten 29 other guys and if he should be at WrestleMania in the title match.
It's interesting Batista is working with Del Rio coming up because both get mediocre crowd reactions. Certainly less reaction than WWE management wishes for either given the investment that's been put into both.
The only interest I can find in this inevitable match is to see both lay in some stiff shots to each other. Recent reports from PWInsider Elite courtesy of WrestlingInc.com on Del Rio say he's upset about how his career in WWE has unfolded. Just add him to the list of guys unhappy about Batista's instant return and booking. Let's also not forget the words these two exchanged on Twitter where Batista called Del Rio a C-level star in a B-level era.
I feel like WWE tried to present Batista as a light version of The Rock. He's returning to WWE, has all of these great accolades and is even working on movies and other outside projects.
Batista might dress the Hollywood part, but he doesn't bring any of the Hollywood charisma. I sure hope he does movie auditions better than he does promos. He's a man of few words, but even that's been too much.
Batista will be involved in the WWE title match at WrestleMania. I have no doubt about that. Will it be just a singles match? Will Randy Orton be the champion? These are all factors that seem subject to change if needed in the chaotic world of WWE.
That being said, he's being booked in a lackluster way. WWE wants him to be the charismatic babyface, but the audience has no interest in that.
This is good. WWE needs heels, and Batista is a better heel. The fans want him to be heel. Him playing a heel will turn some of his babyface weaknesses into heel attributes.
Of course, if Batista is a heel, and Orton is going to remain champion, then WWE is forced to insert a babyface into the equation. You know the rest.
It's either that or WWE has heel versus heel for its WrestleMania main event. Whether it likes it or not, that's how the crowd will treat it—no matter how many times Batista beats up on Del Rio between now and then or how many local promos he tries to cut sucking up to the local town.
To me, Batista is mentally getting inserted into a category with Ryback, Sin Cara, Curtis Axel, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. They have all received constant resistance from the audience or overhauled attempts from WWE.
The audience wasn't buying what WWE was trying to sell with those guys. No matter how many jobbers they beat, managers they had or main events they got to be in, and regardless of the color lighting around the ring, they didn't connect with the audience, and you can't hide that.
It's all baffling post-Rumble antics with Batista. The Royal Rumble is meant to be easy booking. A guy wins a triumphant Battle Royal to become the No. 1 contender for the title. He's either a heroic good guy in a quest for the title or a despicable bad guy attempting to lie, cheat and steal his way to the title.
Batista's won as the fashionista with a flat-line personality and flat-line public interest.
Hey WWE, I'm afraid I've got some bad news: It's time to fix this awful presentation you have of Batista.
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.
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