Since Batista’s inglorious return at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January he has come under fire from the WWE Universe. Night after night the once popular Animal is greeted with a chorus of boos and hisses, with the former World Heavyweight champion even picking up the delightfully comical nickname ‘Boo-tista’. It’s safe to say that Batista hasn’t had the same celebrated return as the likes of Brock Lesnar, Rob van Dam and the New Age Outlaws.
It can be argued that the reason for his poor return isn’t through any fault of his own, since coming back nothing has changed about the Animal, he still uses the same moves, the intensity in which he wrestles is the same, he still talks a big game and is still a physical specimen.
So why do the crowd boo him? One reason for this could be that when the fans are booing him, they are actually showing their displeasure towards the company. Batista’s return in January was greeted with excitement from the Universe and the majority of fans were glad to hear that he was returning, as he is a superstar that has provided them with memorable moments during his previous spell with the company. But what fans also expected from the Rumble was the surprise return of other previous superstars.
This year’s Wrestlemania in New Orleans is the spectacle's 30 anniversary, and with it being such a momentous occasion for Sports Entertainment fans they were expecting to see more than just Batista return at the Rumble. Once the number 30 entry, Rey Mysterio, had entered the ring a chorus of boos rang around the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh, when it came down to the Animal and rising star Roman Reigns as the final two competitors the boos intensified and when Batista had eliminated the impressive Reigns the boos and a blanket of sheer disappointment covered the arena, a sense of ‘is that it’ was felt throughout the Universe.
Since then fans have taken their disliking of the below par event out on Batista, WWE have tried to change his character into that of a heel following the reaction, but boos still come. The main event at Mania does not look like it will be changing and even with the addition of Triple H or Daniel Bryan, the latter being the fans’ preferred inclusion, the headline match does not have the same feel of ones involving the Animal that have proceeded it.
Batista has won at Wrestlemania before, after winning his first Royal Rumble match in 2005 he went on to defeat the King of Kings in the main event of Wrestlemania 21, what followed was a sustained period of support for the Animal. He hasn’t changed and the reason for the boos is a case of him returning in the wrong place and at the wrong time, he has provided the Universe with many memorable matches over the years and here are our top 10. In the event that Bryan doesn’t make the main event, fans will need a horse to back and that horse should be the Animal. Deal with it.
1. Wrestlemania 21: Batista vs. HHH
The match that completed the implosion of Evolution and the moment that Batista won his first World Heavyweight championship. After winning the 2005 Royal Rumble match, the Animal chose HHH as his opponent for the main on event of Wrestlemania 21. With the crowd behind him the Animal was unleashed, he pinned the King of Kings and showed everyone why he deserved to be a main event player.
2. Vengeance 2005: HHH vs. Batista, Hell in a Cell match
This match cemented the Animal as a main eventer and also confirmed to the WWE Universe that he was worthy of being World Heavyweight champion. The match was a brutal and bloody affair that led to Batista being the first man to pin the Game inside a cell.
3. One Night Stand 2008, Batista vs. Shawn Michaels, Stretcher match
This match ended a feud between the two superstars, a feud which started after Michaels defeated and retired Batista’s long-time friend Ric Flair at Wrestlemania XXIV. The Heartbreak Kid already defeated the Animal at Backlash prior to this match, but Batista earned a rematch with HBK after defeating Chris Jericho. In a ferociously contested match, Batista beat Michaels to a point where he could push the stretcher past the finish line to the win the bout.
4. Summerslam 2008, Batista vs. John Cena
Batista and John Cena had a parallel rise to the top of the sports entertainment. Both won world titles at Wrestlemania 21 and both had huge fan followings from that moment on. Yet it wasn’t until three years later that the two faced each other in the ring. The two faced off in a memorable contest which ended in a win for the Animal and Cena being sent to the hospital with a neck injury.
5. Cyber Sunday 2007, Batista vs. The Undertaker
After Batista had regained the World Heavyweight championship, which he lost to Undertaker at Wrestlemania 23, the Animal faced off against a returning Deadman for the first time since losing to him on the grandest stage of them all. The match which had Stone Cold Steve Austin as special guest referee didn’t disappoint. It again demonstrated the undoubted chemistry between the two superstars and was a candidate for match of the year. Batista won the bout and set up a Hell in a Cell match with Taker at that years Survivor Series.
6.No Mercy 2005, Batista vs Eddie Guerrero
It was a routine main event win for Batista but one match that WWE fans across the globe will never forget. Batista has the honour of being able to say that he was Eddie Guerrero’s opponent in his last ever pay-per-view match before his untimely death in 2005. The match signalled the end of an exciting rivalry between a returning Latino Heat and the Animal, with the champion picking up the victory after a powerful Batista Bomb.
7. The Royal Rumble 2005
Batista was riding the crest of a wave entering the 2005 Royal Rumble, after sounding himself out as a true contender for HHH’s World title, the Animal came into the event off the back of an impressive performance in that years Elimination Chamber. The match culminated in Batista eliminating another rising star at the time, John Cena, to win the match and book his place in the main event of that years Wrestlemania.
8. No Way Out 2007, Undertaker & Batista vs Shawn Michaels & John Cena
Arguably one of Batista’s best ever matches inside a WWE ring. The match happened in the penultimate PPV before Wrestlemania 23 and it pitted the combatants in Raw’s main event against the combatants in Smackdown’s main event. The match ended with the Animal standing over a beaten Undertaker, who he had previously spine-busted for their team to lose the match, to set up one of the most anticipated Wrestlemania main events in history.
9. Over the Limit 2010, Batista vs. John Cena, I Quit match
This was arguably one of the best matches in either superstar’s career and it was at the time Batista’s final match in WWE. The bout was a vicious encounter with both superstars putting in memorable performances. It culminated with Cena picking up the win, after the Animal uttered the words ‘I Quit’, while Cena had him in position to deliver an Attitude Adjustment off the top of a Ford Mustang parked on the stage. Cena still delivered the AA and sent Batista through the stage floor.
10. Wrestlemania 23, Batista vs The Undertaker
This match cemented Batista as a future hall of famer. The match was a classic, one that had fans in the arena and at home off their seats in amazement. The Animal didn’t leave the event victorious, he losing via pin fall after taking a Tombstone pile driver. But the performance and the match itself outshone the events actual main event and will go down as one of the best matches either superstar has had at Wrestlemania.
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