Projecting How a WWE Title Win Would Impact Batista's Legacy

Brad Jones@beardjonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014


It seems over the past couple of weeks, Batista has gone from the odds-on favourite to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania this Sunday to something of an also-ran.

The consensus seems to be Daniel Bryan needs to win the title at WrestleMania to make up for his perceived mistreatment over the past year—but is Batista in just as dire need of a run with the belt?

If you're in any doubt about whether WWE will dabble in revisionist history, you only have to look at the way the Ultimate Warrior is being depicted in the run-up to his Hall of Fame induction compared to how the WWE liked to portray him a few years back, for example, in their controversial documentary The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior.

Similarly, this return for Batista could be used to cement him as a legend or as a skinny-jean wearing joke.

Before Batista left the WWE in 2009, he won the WWE title from John Cena in less than sporting circumstances and then was beaten rather comfortably by Cena on the next three pay-per-views before taking his ball and going home.

It was hardly befitting of a man nicknamed "The Animal," and if it had been his last time with the company, it would have been something of a flat end to Batista's wrestling career.

Combined with the comments he made regarding WWE after he left, it's of little surprise Batista wasn't mentioned all too much on WWE television in the years between his departure and his return.

Someone like The Rock is always going to be mentioned and praised on WWE television because he's a huge star outside of wrestling and making comments that legitimize him only serve to legitimize WWE as well because he's perceived as a WWE guy through and through.

In the case of Batista, the fact he never reached the heights of The Rock in or out of WWE, and the fact the circumstances of his leaving weren't ideal meant there wasn't as great of a benefit to the WWE to make sure he was kept in the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe.

In his absence, people didn't think about Batista as a legend or even as a fan favourite since he wasn't mentioned much, and he wasn't made to look great on his way out, so people didn't think about Batista much at all.

So when Batista made his return, it was easy for fans to turn on him—especially given the fact he seemed to be taking the place that many thought Bryan deserved.

If Batista is unsuccessful in the main event of WrestleMania, it raises serious questions about how much of a serious contender he is.

Winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title is imperative to Batista's legacy in the WWE, whether it comes at WrestleMania or a little further down the line.

Up to this point, his return has been awkward, but for him to come back and fail to win the world title would make it seem all but insignificant and only serve to reinforce the fact Batista wasn't and isn't amongst the ranks of the very biggest stars of the WWE.

However, all is not lost. It might be for the best if Batista comes up short Sunday and wins the title at a later date. The Rock's title reign last year left many a bit unsatisfied, and it's hard to think that didn't have something to do with the fact The Rock wrestled so few matches, only making one successful defence after winning the title.

Batista looks set to stick around longer than The Rock did, so there's a little more freedom in terms of how he's used.

Seeing him fail in his first attempt to win the WWE World Heavyweight title only to try again successfully over the summer would perhaps be more satisfying than simply seeing him take the shortest route to becoming champion.

It's easy to imagine if that was done properly, Batista would be remembered more fondly than he is at the moment. A memorable title chase for Batista could do wonders in solidifying his legacy going forward.

However, if Batista's current run ends without him winning the top title, he faces the undesirable possibility of neither being able to reach the highest of heights as a crossover star or truly being a legend in WWE.

Winning the title wouldn't just be beneficial to Batista's legacy, it is imperative if he is to be solidified as one of the top guys in the WWE's past.