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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Is Batista Coming Back?
By The Doc
Dec 22, 2013 - 10:10:25 AM

This is not intended to be a lengthy discussion starter, ladies and gentlmen, because - as of right now - there's not enough information out there to discuss this matter, at length. Yet, if there is any truth to the rumor that Dave Batista is coming back for WrestleMania XXX, then there soon will be a major series of conversations to be had.

For those of you that have not yet seen it, the WWE live event tour in February was scheduled to stop through the southwest and Big Dave's name popped up on a few of the listings. Once the word got out, the WWE removed his name. Credible sources have confirmed for weeks that Batista might be coming back and the same sources have all but confirmed that there's a deal either in place or nearly in place that would bring the former multi-time World Champion to WWE for a return run, promoting his first big movie role in next summer's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and providing the WWE a big name star for their two (or three) biggest PPVs of 2014.

That's the rumor / news report. I have been critical of the dirtsheet sources throughout my LOP career for their use of blatantly obvious conjecture to sell newsletters, but they are usually spot-on when it comes to rumors of this magnitude. Thus, I am taking this "Batista Return" headline with much more than a grain of salt. I believe that we'll probably see a Batista return. So, naturally, my attention turns toward the "Granddaddy of 'em all" and the implications that Batista coming back has on Wrestlemania 30. I can hear the collective groans from many of my readers stretching across the globe. These were the people incensed a year ago by the triple main-event of Wrestlemania 29 featuring only two regular roster members. It was a good point. A year ago, I was OK with that. I did not think that the WWE had bankable commodities that could outdraw their returning counterparts. I thought that the new guys needed another year to prepare - and for the WWE to prepare the audience - for being the primary draws on an event the caliber of Wrestlemania. The standard has changed and the WWE has to meet that standard for their business model to work. I get that. This year, though, I'm going to be as peeved as many of you were in 2013 if the WWE brings back Batista to face Brock Lesnar or some other part-timer in 2014.

I honestly do not yet know how I feel about Batista coming back. I grew to really appreciate him during his feud with Undertaker in 2007. His subsequent work with Edge, Shawn Michaels, and John Cena provided some of my favorite feuds from Wrestlemania 23 until he moved on in 2010. When he left, he was doing the finest character work of his career, with a scathing and honest heel persona that jumped off the screen. I recently watched the Batista vs. Cena match from Wrestlemania 26 and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have every viewing since it took place. However, I can only get behind a Batista return if it serves a purpose greater than a one night financial boon. I get the appeal in Batista vs. Brock Lesnar, for instance. I really do. When Lesnar was in talks with WWE for a 2005 return, Batista was the most eye-popping opponent. They were members of that 2002 OVW rookie class with the physique, power, and presence that created natural enthusiasm for a match between the two. (I may have just talked myself into being interested....wait, no!). The WWE, though, have several guys that are ready and willing to occupy major roles at Wrestlemania in 2014. If Batista is merely returning to make short-term money for himself and the WWE by facing a part-timer, then the WWE will be missing an opportunity to make short AND long-term money.

Three current stars come to mind as potential opponents for Batista that would greatly benefit from a match with him at Wrestlemania: Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk. The formula that I have in mind for WM30 is to use Taker, Lesnar, Triple H, and - if he returns - Batista as the foundational "return" components for the card. The top four stars on the current roster (and a fifth will be the odd man out) - John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk (plus Sheamus) - would all be on the other end of "versus" the returning wrestlers. Personally, I'd go with Cena vs. Taker, Orton vs. Lesnar, Trips vs. Bryan, and Batista vs. Punk. That's a helluva four match card that gets a lot of big names on the marquee, but also builds toward fiscally responsible future marquees.

Batista has a lot to offer. He has a name that is about to get a mainstream bump with his major Hollywood role. In wrestling, his name already carries a ton of weight. During the "bark, bark, bark" promo on Cena in 2010, he mentioned that he was the other of the biggest stars since the Attitude Era. There's a strong argument that he was right on the money with his self-assessment. He main-evented or headlined three very important Wrestlemanias during a five year stretch. Health problems prevented him from a definite fourth and a probable fifth. Merely facing him at Mania would be huge for Bryan or Sheamus. I really like the Punk option. The Authority could take on the identity of a mature Evolution, with Trips, Batista, and Orton creating a massive heel entity that Punk and Bryan, in particular, could set out to destroy. Punk has stated in past promos and off-screen interviews that he has a lot of respect for Batista (and it's mutual, from what I understand). I think Bryan perfectly fits as Triple H's opponent and I'm not backing down from that until booked otherwise, so Punk vs. Batista gives the Chicago Made #2 guy in the business an important headlining role and another major Wrestlemania match to his resume. Just as importantly, Punk gives Batista a guy he can work with for his first match in four years that he's worked with before and can excel against. One of the recurring themes for past stars has been a desire not to "stink out the joint." Nobody is going to stink out the joint opposite CM Punk on a major event.

I'm going to continue this discussion on "The Doc and Super Chrisss Show" this afternoon at 1PM. Right now, I have a ton of thoughts about Batista, but need to flesh them out a bit more before diving further into this topic with the written word. Batista will get his due attention today on the radio show, as Super C and I tackle the main topics of the week and run down our year-end awards and rankings.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: If Batista returns, who's at the top of the list for wrestlers you'd most like to see him face at Wrestlemania?

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