A quiet development has given new perspective to the last several months of WWE main-event booking. As initially discovered by PWInsider.com (h/t WrestlingInc.com), Batista is not advertised for any shows after Extreme Rules, including Monday Night Raw the next night and the lucrative annual Spring European tour.
It was well known that Batista would be taking time off when it was time to promote his role in Guardians of the Galaxy, but that movie doesn't open until August 1.
With that in mind, the mind starts to wander. As reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (behind F4WOnline.com's paywall), Batista was originally going to beat Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. The fans forced WWE's hand at the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber and got Daniel Bryan into the spot he's in now...right?
If Batista is going on hiatus in a few weeks, was it always scheduled to happen then? If so, he wouldn't have been WWE Champion, would he? If he was, wouldn't he have had to drop it at Extreme Rules? If that's the case, why do a big return where he wins the Royal Rumble and goes on to win the title at WrestleMania? What's the point?
If whoever is running point on WWE's creative team right now (Paul "Triple H" Levesque?) planned this all out from the beginning, he is a genius. To anticipate the crowd's reactions and use the idea that Daniel Bryan was being "buried" and passed over for muscle-bound, middle-aged Batista to make Bryan more popular...that's brilliant.
We know they did that in between Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania, but the idea that it would've been planned out further in advance would be incredibly impressive.
Even with this new development, though, how much would that make sense? WWE wasn't dropping any hints until well after the Royal Rumble. Using Rey Mysterio in the No. 30 spot at the Royal Rumble is an absolutely terrible idea if they anticipated "Not Daniel Bryan" being booed. Not putting a heel there doesn't really make sense if they knew what was coming.
Bryan had also completely moved on to his feud with the Wyatt Family, which seemed like it was cut short, especially with regards to the part where Bryan briefly joined up with them.
I don't think we can be sure right now, but it definitely throws our preconceived notions for a loop. I suppose it's possible Batista decided to throw up his hands and decide he'd had enough, but that would be pretty obtuse on his part.
There's already a perception among fans that he decided to come back so he could have the WWE World Heavyweight Champion spot (meaning the positioning on shows and the money that comes with it) handed to him as a fun diversion between movies. If he were to leave because WWE changed plans and put the belt on Bryan, he would be proving everyone right for being skeptical of his return.
If that's not it...then, well, why is he taking time off already? I'm not sure, but it'll be an interesting story to follow.