With all the complaints that you hear about WWE in this day and age, it's fair to say that there are some here and there that not everyone will agree with. Alas, in a day and age where it's a lot easier to air out your frustration, complains from fans are seen more than ever. And many of them are valid.
I am here with another column write-up and today I thought I'd focus a bit more on something else. See, it's easy to criticize a company when you don't agree with a decision they make. After all, from your perspective, it's the wrong move on to make on their end and you feel you have good reasons to think that, and there's nothing wrong with doing so.
But with every decision that is made, there is always another side of the fence that offers a different perspective. And with that perspective comes an understanding some of us my not think of at the time because we're only focused on our own viewpoints. And that's fine. We're fans. It's what we're supposed to do. None of us are obligated to look at things from a different perspective.
But with that said, sometimes I think it's only fair to offer up another side to the scenario that helps bring about a better understanding of a situation, one that many might consider to be a poor one but when given proper context might make more sense than initially thought. And that's where this new section that I'm creating comes in, called In Defense of. Basically, I will be talking about something that WWE did or that happened within the company that seemed to get a lot of negative flack from fans and critics alike, and try to offer up their viewpoint on the matter to help understand why what happened actually happened (or in the case of what I'm about to discuss today, almost happened).
Which brings us to the thread at hand: The Dave Batista Decision. To be more specific: Dave Batista ALMOST having a singles match with Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30.
Disclaimer: With this in mind, I still can't believe they never intended for Daniel Bryan and Triple H to have their match at Wrestlemania 30. I personally never had any real issues with Bryan not being part of the main event, but for them to plan for CM Punk to have a match with Hunter instead of Bryan, to me, was just pure idiocy. In my opinion, Punk belonged in the main event with Orton and Batista, not in a match with Triple H. And had they done that instead of the stupid Punk/HHH match they originally had planned, we might have been able to see a few more years of CM Punk in the WWE. For me, the pay off for Bryan after all the bullshit he had went through was having his match with Hunter and winning, and proving he is truly capable of being their top guy. Him winning the world title in the main event was icing on the cake, but in my opinion, his revenge was already claimed when he beat Hunter, a guy who felt Bryan was too unworthy to even have a match with him.
So a couple months before Wrestlemania 30, WWE announced that they had signed Batista, who had been gone for WWE for a few years but not long enough to the point where fans forgot who he was. It was considered a huge signing and a lot of people were excited for it...until they found out what WWE's intention was for him. Through various dirt sheets, it was revealed that WWE's plan for Batista was for him to headline Wrestlemania 30 in a match with Randy Orton for the unified World Championships.
And fans were absolutely livid about this announcement.
At the time, I couldn't find a single person who wanted this match to happen. Everyone seemed to hate the idea of it. And to be fair, I can't blame them. But at the same time, I understood why WWE wanted to do it, so I wan't really all bent out of shape about it. It was actually one of those things that occurred to me right away what they were going for. But then again, at the time, I just wasn't as into Daniel Bryan as everyone else was. I wasn't really part of the yes movement. I didn't hate the guy, I just wasn't a mark for him. Again, I hated the fact that they were going for Punk/HHH instead of Bryan/HHH like they should have, because it felt like an incomplete story to me, and it made everything that happened with Bryan feel like a waste of time. But I wasn't all that upset about the possibility of Batista/Orton happening. In fact, I actually welcomed it.
I feel as if people who were upset about it were either mad about the fact that Daniel Bryan wasn't involved, or just felt it was going to be a shitty match. Those are both perfectly valid reasons to be mad about it. There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking. But like I said before, when I heard this rumor, I felt like I knew right away what it was they were going for, and it intrigued the hell out of me.
This is just a guess on my part. I have no idea if this was really what they were going for when they made this decision. For all we know, it might have been for a different story entirely. But with that said, it cannot be denied that the grounds for a very interesting storyline were all right there.
The Potential Storyline
See, back in the days when Batista and Orton broke through the WWE, they did so first as part of the well known stable, Evolution. They were brought into the group with the idea that they would one day be groomed as the future of the company. But for that time period, it was all about Triple H. He was the man. He was the guy in charge. He was, in many ways, a control freak. When Randy Orton won the World Title, Triple H kicked him out of the group and took it back from him a month later. When Batista won the Royal Rumble, Triple H wanted him to go to Smackdown and face JBL for the WWE Championship instead of his world title on Raw. Yeah, Triple H was willing to lose another member of the group just so he didn't have to face Batista, a guy he knew was a legitimate threat.
The "Wrestling is Wrestling" video kind of touched on this but I'll briefly summarize it. When Triple H got into power, as a heel nothing really seemed to change. It was still his landscape. He was still a control freak. And if he wasn't going to be the champion, he was going to choose the champion.
In Evolution, Triple H chose himself because he felt it was still his time and that he was capable of doing so. And if people associated with him weren't willing to accept that, they were gone from his life, just like Orton and Batista. But when he realized his time was over and he had to move on, now it was time to make sure things ran the way he wanted them to. He wanted Orton to be the world champion, but only when HE was no longer in a position to be one. Only when HE couldn't be the champion anymore. Only when it was most convenient for him.
So he chose Orton, a guy who once became champion when things weren't so convenient for Triple H. It showed the progression that both men had made. It showcased that Triple H had really become a legitimate control freak with power within the WWE, choosing who he wanted to be champion when he wanted, regardless of how it affected his company. And it showed how far along Orton had come as well, being a multi-time world champion (I think he was a 12 time world champion at that point) and now taking up the position of dominance over the brand Triple H once held.
And then Batista was going to come in and royally fuck that all up again.
Triple H was set on embarking on a reign of terror 2.0. But the one thing that could stop it was now returning. And all he needed to do was put himself in a position to put a stop to everything Triple H was doing. And how could he do that? By winning the Royal Rumble.
See, here's the interesting part. The last time Batista won the Royal Rumble, he used it to put an end to Triple H's original reign of terror on Raw. And that's exactly what happened. Triple H's time as the top dog on Raw was finally put to rest with the rise of the Animal. And now? The seeds were planted for it to happen again. Batista would come back, win the royal rumble, and put an end to Randy Orton's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania 30. And all he had to do was win the Royal Rumble again.
And that's exactly what he did.
He won the Royal Rumble, returning as the triumph hero that everyone was desperately looking for. Triple H severely affecting the main event scene with his selective choosing of Randy Orton as the face of the company, and someone had to put a stop to it. And what better person than the man who once put a stop to Triple H's own nightmarish reign at the top than the animal, Batista?
Honestly, that's an intriguing story. It plays on the deep history between the three men and their connection going back to Evolution. It plays on the idea that Batista is Triple HHH's kryptonite. He can not only prevent Triple H from being champion, but he can prevent Triple H from choosing his champion. It shows just how great the Animal really is. But who is the one man who can change all of that? Randy Orton. All of this time, Triple H kept hyping up Orton and explaining to us all just how great he really was. Well, now it was time for Orton to really step up. All of his talent, all of abilities, all were going to be put to the ultimate test. He had to face one obstacle to truly prove his worth: the man that Triple H could never beat. Not only that, but Batista overcoming Triple H was also something Orton was never able to do. When Orton got kicked out of Evolution, he lost the title a month later and never reached that mountain top again for four years. They could have easily played on the idea that being kicked out of Evolution severely affected Orton's career, as well as his mindset. And yet Batista was able to do it like it was nothing. Orton was taken out of Evolution, while Batista basically broke Evolution.
All the obstacles are stacked again Orton. Everything points in Batista's direction. The only thing working in Orton's favor...is Triple H. These are two men who know what they are up against, and now they have to find a way to overcome the ferocious animal at Wrestlemania 30.
To be perfectly honest, that's a very intriguing storyline possibility. It adds a lot of room for emotions, history, and everyone fits their roles perfectly. Batista really fits the role of the gladiator coming to put an end to the evil on display, and you can buy into him as being threatening. Orton as always fit the role of the cowardly heel who always had a master plan. And Hunter always did an excellent job as the corrupt authority figure.
From WWE's perspective, it's actually pretty easy to see why they wanted to go this route. It's a deeply personal story opportunity with a lot of history hanging behind it. The story writes itself and it leaves so much room for possibilities. It would have without question been the best storyline going into Wrestlemania 30 (although to be fair, if Bryan/HHH happened then that would have taken the top spot).
Of course, this is all assuming everything would have worked out.
But the truth of the matter is, it was never going to work.
So, why didn't it?
It's all thanks to a little thing I like to call...timing. See, timing is a massive bitch. Just because something might work at one point...doesn't mean it will work everytime. And this is especially true in this scenario.
The fact of the matter was, there were too many things working against WWE that would have made this impossible to work. Batista returned completely out of shape and looking like a tool. Fans still wanted Daniel Bryan to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. And the times of wrestling were changing. No matter how good a story, in this day and age, you needed some great wrestling to give it a proper send off. And with how good of a story this COULD have been, their actual match most certainly would not have given it the ending it deserved (or beginning I guess...depending on how many more PPV matches they would have had).
The road to Wrestlemania 30 was Daniel Bryan's time. He was who the fans wanted. No one else. Just him. And poor Batista came back at the wrong time in the wrong condition. Had it been...lets say, Wrestlemania 29? Probably would have been an entirely different story. It would have been something different from The Rock vs John Cena II, something I'm almost certain no one would have wanted. But the fact of the matter is, almost no one wanted Batista. Sometimes you cannot have everything you want, no matter how much sense it might be. No matter how much we hated the idea of Batista vs Randy Orton being the main event of Wrestlemania 30, it still at least made sense to do. But just because it made sense...doesn't mean it was the right thing to do. And in this case, it wasn't the right thing to do, not by any stretch of the imagination.
In the end, Daniel Bryan ended up getting his match with Triple H as well as being inserted in the main event. Batista ended up being a heel and his role in the story was changed. And the entire storyline became about Daniel Bryan overcoming the authority once and for all.
Things ended up working out for the best. Fans got what they wanted. Wrestlemania 30 ended up having a great main event. And the story that had dominated the company for a good six or so months had the proper send off it deserved. But never the less, one does have to wonder what it would have all been like had WWE gone with Batista/Orton like they originally planned. Like I said before, maybe they don't go this route and had something completely different in mind. We'll never really know unless someone shares the complete details. But none the less, when thinking about the history as well as the timing of Batista's return, one cannot deny that there were definitely a lot of possibilities here with the storyline for this match. From WWE's perspective, there was something to at least build on. And that's all you can really ask for from the main event of Wrestlemania. You want a good story. You want the opponents to make sense. You don't want...this.
Like I said, I'm happy they ended up going with Bryan instead of Batista. I am also happy for the fans who really wanted that moment. But when it pertains to this decision, to use Batista instead of Daniel Bryan to be Randy Orton's opponent? I just think we should at least consider the possibility that maybe there was more to it than just ignoring Daniel Bryan. Maybe, just maybe, there was the possibility for a better story that WWE simply wanted to go for instead of having Bryan be in the match. And if we're looking at it from that perspective, I don't think you can necessarily fault or even criticize WWE for it. After all, Pro Wrestling is storytelling. And you can never fault someone for trying to tell the best story possible.