We all heard the rumors. Dave Batista could be on his way back to WWE in early 2014, and speculation has already kicked off at a furious pace. Early reports referenced advertisements for Batista at live events in February, but the context and timing of his on-screen return were not known in those reports. If he’s available in January, the obvious choice would be at Royal Rumble, perhaps even winning it, as speculated by the great Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Winning the Rumble, and facing Randy Orton at Wrestlemania would allow Batista to make sporadic appearances in between his matches, similar to The Rock’s schedule leading up to last year’s ‘mania match with John Cena. Given their history with Evolution, it seems hard to believe that The Animal would return without getting involved with Orton and/or Triple H. It’s also tough to imagine Batista as any type of heel, since his return will be highly anticipated by the WWE Universe; yet another reason the Orton scenario would work. Whether or not he makes his initial appearance at Royal Rumble, Batista seems locked into a match in early 2014 (probably Wrestlemania). Who will he face? Orton? Triple H? For all you gamblers out there, let’s run down the odds of Batista’s potential opponents.
Randy Orton (odds – 3:2) – This is the most likely scenario, as outlined above (and other places by smarter people than me). WWE seems committed to giving Orton a solid championship run, and if he lasts until Wrestlemania, what better opponent than his old friend and enemy, Batista. A match with Orton allows Batista to be in The Authority angle in general, interrupting segments and dishing out powerbombs. When it comes time to have the match, facing a familiar opponent helps the possibility of any ring rust, since Dave has been away for so long. Any scenario that gets us excited for something involving Orton must be done, right?
Triple H (odds 5:1) – The COO will certainly be on the Wrestlemania card, but will he wait for Batista? The CM Punk storyline seems like it could last until the big show, so I’m not sure The Game will be available. That said, Triple H makes the most sense as a Batista opponent, outside of Orton. They share the same history with Evolution, they’ve worked well together in the past, and they both have big enough personalities (and egos) to make this work at ‘mania. I like the idea of Batista doing the dirty work for an anti-Authority figure (Shane?), with control of the company potentially on the line.
Daniel Bryan (odds 15:1) – I mentioned how difficult it will be to have Batista as a heel upon his return, but this scenario is an interesting one. Nothing has knocked Daniel Bryan’s hot streak down; not The Authority, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, or The Wyatt Family. If The Authority is desperate to get rid of Bryan, Batista would be an interesting one to call on. I’d watch Batista vs. Bryan, wouldn’t you?
John Cena (odds 50:1) – People would just pull for Batista, so this wouldn’t work. It doesn’t make any sense to put Cena in a main event type of match with Batista. WWE would not put Cena in a top-tier match that doesn’t make sense, right? Right? Fine, just cross your fingers.
CM Punk (odds 100:1) – This is pretty similar to the Punk/Lesnar angle we just saw, but I suppose Triple H could call his “buddy” to clobber Punk. I’d prefer to see Punk vs. Triple H, and have Batista go against Orton (or Bryan).
Any of these matches are worth the anticipation of Batista’s return. Unless WWE puts him in a feud with Fandango, they won’t be able to screw this one up. The first time his music hits and a Batista Bomb is delivered, expect the roof of whichever building they’re in to blow off. For now, we wait.