Going into Extreme Rules this Sunday, the six-man match pitting The Shield against Evolution looks set to be one of the most intriguing matches on the card. While The Shield are no doubt responsible for a large part of this appeal, getting Evolution back together seems like it's proving to be a smart move.
However, while an eventual showdown between Triple H and Roman Reigns seems like the long-term plan following Sunday's bout, where does that leave Batista and Randy Orton? Given the reaction to them working as a team compared to how WrestleMania looked to be shaping up a few months ago, you'd hope they remain a unit.
When Batista won the Royal Rumble and looked set to face Randy Orton at WrestleMania, people were outraged. Nothing about the match sounded appealing, and I don't think many would argue that what we ended up with wasn't a vast improvement. Seeing Batista and Orton work together in the main event was quite compelling, however.
Orton's run as the corporate champion had some bright spots, but uneven booking never quite allowed him to appear dominant. Similarly, Batista hasn't exactly blown people away in the ring or on the microphone since his return. Separately, the two need to be rebuilt a little bit before they can live up to their own reputations.
Together, however, they're a lot more convincing. Few tag teams in WWE at present can boast the star power and storied history of Orton and Batista. Both can draw heat, and putting them together only accentuates that skill. Having them operate as a dominant tag team for the next few months could help reinstate them as dominant individuals, but it could also be the beginning of a rejuvenated tag team division.
While The Usos have put on some good matches in their time as champions, their run has been stunted somewhat thanks to most of the brightest tag teams in WWE being involved in other storylines. The Shield, The Wyatts and The Real Americans would all have made fine competition, but they have been otherwise occupied. Having Orton and Batista win the belts would shake the division up considerably.
However, Batista and Orton's run as a team might be over before it starts. Earlier this month, it was reported by PWInsider.com that Batista would be taking time off after Extreme Rules. It remains to be seen whether that is the case, but it would be a shame to see the potential in an Evolution reunion squandered by Batista leaving so soon.
Are Orton and Batista better off together or apart?
Orton and Batista have a lot more to offer as a tag team than they do as singles competitors. Bryan vs. Orton has been done to death, and Batista's brief singles feud with Alberto Del Rio did nothing to suggest that he has any place main eventing in singles matches at the moment. As a tag team, the pair could shift the focus of The Authority away from Bryan and allow him to have some fresh singles matches to establish his reign.
It's difficult to get excited about seeing Orton or Batista return to the world title picture, but seeing them in a different position on the card could renew interest in two men who should, by rights, be among the top stars in WWE. The time may very well have come for two of the top stars of the last 10 years to "adapt or perish."