After quitting and crashing through a table at WWE Over the Limit and quitting to John Cena, it looks like Batista is leaving the WWE. Early reports indicated that Batista would be retiring. Now it looks like he is finally gone, or is he?
Batista and the WWE picked quite an interesting time to part ways. Batista more than any other time in the last few years seemed to have more leverage for a new WWE deal. For the first time in several years, the WWE has major talent depth issues. With Shawn Michaels gone, the Undertaker, Triple H hurt, and now Randy Orton suffering a major injury, one would think that the WWE will bend over backwards to reach a new deal with Batista. Apparently that is not the case as of press time.
[adinserter block=”1″]Nobody is quite sure when Batista and the WWE are parting ways. Batista has made noises about wanting to retire for over a year. I have heard reports that Batista would stick around with a reduced schedule similar to what Shawn Michaels had. I can’t imagine the WWE balking at that opportunity to keep Batista with the current state of the company, yet it seems they are uninterested in a part-time spotlight. I am sure that once the dust settles it will be revealed whether the WWE tried to make a play to keep Batista or if he had a one track mind to retire regardless of whatever offer the WWE made.
Batista’s WWE career is quite a story in itself. After training under Afa the Wild Samoan, he entered the WWE starting in OVW as Leviathon. Batista has made comments over the years that he hated the Leviathon character, although I’ll readily admit I enjoyed it quite a bit back in those days. After two years in OVW Batista was finally called up to the big leagues. Deacon Batista hit the big time and the WWE fans could have cared less.
Triple H saw something in Batista and Evolution was born in 2003. Batista, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, and Triple H became the hottest act in the pro wrestling business for two years. The group was something as a throwback to the Four Horsemen. I give the WWE and Triple H a ton of credit here for seeing something in Batista. Beyond his look the company saw something whereas there have been plenty of other guys with great looks that bombed fast and never got a second opportunity. Batista did and slowly became a force in the WWE.
Batista finally broke out as a top WWE superstar when he left Evolution and feuded with Triple H. Their series in 2005 is still regarded as one of the best booked feuds of the last ten years. Whether you liked it or not, it worked and Batista ascended to the top of the WWE cards. Every few years the WWE gambles on a few guys to take to the next level. 2005 saw Batista and John Cena given the ball by the company. Not since 2005, have any two WWE superstars caught on in those spots since Cena and Batista. Ironically enough that point was a major part of their storyline going into WrestleMania 26 and their current feud.
[adinserter block=”2″]For better or worse, Batista will probably be remembered for being one of the most brittle WWE superstars of the last decade. At last count, I came up with five major injuries in the last several years that shelved Batista. It was only a year ago where Batista suffered his biggest career setback. Batista tore his hamstring at WWE SummerSlam. Two months and a day after coming back, Batista tore his left biceps in a match in which he won the WWE title from Randy Orton. Batista had to relinquish the title the next night and would miss significant time once again.
I wrote the following on CamelClutchBlog.com when reporting this Batista injury. “I don’t know what the WWE does at this point. Batista’s contract is up next year. He is a much bigger star than Mr. Kennedy was and he doesn’t have the rep for hurting others that Kennedy had. However, how do you do anything substantial with a guy that is always hurt? The confidence in Batista is likely at an all-time low by WWE officials.”
Well Batista came back and proved me and his critics wrong. Batista came back last September and has been on a tear (no pun intended) ever since. I would go as far as to say that the Batista vs. John Cena feud has been Batista’s best work since his coming out part against Triple H in 2005. I have said many times on my radio show and podcasts that I think Batista has turned into the hottest act in the pro wrestling business with this feud. Whether by design or accident, Batista will be riding into the sunset at arguably the peak of his career. You can’t ask for anything more than that if you are Batista or a Batista fan.
Keep in mind that retirement is a funny word in pro wrestling. Heck, at this point he seems hesitant to even take the first step out the door. When he leaves, I’d look for a Royal Rumble or WrestleMania appearance from the Animal. Bret Hart has opened up the door for short-term returns which would play well with Batista. Batista is leaving relatively healthy and probably has a few more matches left in him. Sitting out until WrestleMania will give him some tremendous bargaining power which will likely get him back in a WWE ring at some point for a match or two.
The only drawback to that theory is that Batista and the WWE are not parting on good terms at all. As punishment for not re-signing with the WWE, the company recently pulled Batista from a WWE produced movie just weeks before production was to begin. It was a dirty move and did not sit well at all with Batista. Bret Hart showed that time does heal all wounds and other than Randy Savage, all of the WWE heavy hitters have come back at some point or another to do business with Vince McMahon. I don’t see Batista being an exception to that rule and time along with cash seem to heal those wounds.
There are conflicting reports that Batista may stick around in the interim. Now with Randy Orton suffering a major injury at WWE Over the Limit, the ball is in Batista’s court. It would not shock me to see the WWE make Batista a short-term offer he cannot refuse. Regardless, any delay in retirement will be a short one. I have really enjoyed the latest heel run and would be disappointed to see him go. Batista is planning on pursuing a career in acting outside of the WWE which makes the move imminent. Could there be some battery life left in that spotlight?
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