Let me take a step back before I discuss that missed opportunity and the signal it could send to take advantage of ensuing opportunities.
(Because, frankly, the vitriol isn't likely to dry up anytime soon.)
A LACK OF EVIL
As Jim Ross vented about around the time I tragically turned 30, true "heels" or villains are tough to come by in modern wrestling. Everyone's a hipster - even, improbably, wrestling fans - and nothing screams "Faux Punk Rock" quite like rooting for the bad guy. The problem with that is that even giving leeway to postmodernism (again, even improbably with wrestling), it's difficult to come across guys who are truly booed.
Shades of gray are fine and almost necessary. Too many guys getting stuck in the murky middle isn't.
There's no middle with Batista. He's sharply awful, at least if you ask his detractors. He's the invisible gun-toting douchenozzle of doom and the WWE should seize that distaste and milk it during what's clearly a transitional period in their storytelling.
*Warning: "Extreme Rules" spoiler coming*
*Seriously, this is a chance for your eyeball to not come across a spoiler*
With that in mind, I couldn't but soak in the very weird and almost-surreal heat Batista drew in my former hometown East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday. People got strangely personal by chanting "You can't wrestle" (that seems a little excessive) and "Bootista" (guess someone goes on the Internet).
In the end, it was Roman Reigns and Batista alone and I couldn't help but think:
"It would be too perfect if Batista won right here."
Reigns is the wunderkind. He's the greasy-haired Next Big Thing. He has cool tattoos but only covering one of his arms. He seems like he could play the part of "Conan: The Barbarian" if they tried to reboot the film series again after it didn't work out with the "Game of Thrones" bad ass.
I'm sure there are some people who aren't drinking the Reigns Kool-Aid (it's the Internet, where you can always find someone who will hate something ... I bet there are are Anti-Free Food and [No Smoking Sign] Hugs communities bursting with weirdos*), but generally he accomplishes the rare feat of satisfying the hipster/kiddo/casual fan continuum.
Really, Reigns is the Anti-Batista; it's plausible that the same exact people LOVE Reigns and HATE Batista. So imagine if Batista did the trolly thing and won? It would have been great because so many people would think it was awful and so many people would be generally on board with hating him.
|Also via WWE.com|
Really, the WWE could milk Batista being so despised. Imagine him milking that win - clean or not, it doesn't really matter - over Reigns in countless ways. Posters. T-shirts. Montages.
The latest word is that an Evolution vs. Shield rematch might be in the books, but imagine how much more satisfying it would be for Reigns to get revenge against Batista while adding fuel to his rocket boost to the top?
Under current circumstances, there could even be some logic to giving Batista a brief (and absolutely aggravating) run with the world heavyweight title. Imagine the derision he'd draw by underhandedly winning the title from Daniel Bryan, torment fans the whole way and then just be a horrible tool with the title?
I imagine him saying that Bryan was "Now the No. 20 contender" after beating him for the title, dodging defending the championship except in flimsy ways (once every 29 days by adhering to a once-per-month requirement, naming injured wrestlers the top contender). Picture Batista's machinations finally falling through because he read a contract incorrectly due to wearing sunglasses indoors.
True douches don't grow on trees, especially with name recognition. People hate Batista, which is something the WWE should embrace and love (rather than running away from it). They've done some of that, but I think cranking the volume up to 11 on that - if just for a little while to rile people up - could be a lot of fun.
I mean, it can't be much worse than a pay-per-view full of retread matches, can it?
* - There are even people who eat pizzas with mushrooms as the only topping ...