Friday, February 28, 2014

Instant Feedback: Big Dave Needs His Spotlight

He's got the look, but can he get back the fire?
Photo Credit:
Batista came back to WWE slow out of the blocks, which was to be expected. After all, he's spent four years away from pro wrestling. How much time he spent training for his mixed martial arts career or not is irrelevant; that sport has different rigors than the art of pro wrestling requires. He foolishly wore skinny jeans when he was called to Batista Bomb Alberto del Rio, and he looked half-speed at the Rumble in comparison to younger, hungrier superstars like Roman Reigns. His match against del Rio at the Chamber made him look like he'd ignored cardio. Again though, all of that lag in the ring was so predictable that Helen Keller could both see and hear it coming.... too soon?

The microphone was never Batista's strong suit as a babyface. As a heel, however, he lit the world on fire as the spotlight-demandin', leather-vest wearin', Slammy Award presentation-interruptin' foil to John Cena. The content wasn't so much the key to his promotional content as the delivery was. Clear diction wasn't needed, nor was it delivered. However, when Batista spit on that mic, he had fire in his voice. He had bass and inflection. He had an axe to grind, and he made sure the tenor in his voice reflected that.

Tonight on Smackdown, Batista went into a better direction. He finally saw that the fans had turned on him - better a month later than never - and so he embraced his inner douchebag and started to show signs of that character that made me an unequivocal fan of his for the first time ever. However, those signs were hampered by rust.

Content-wise, Batista was on the same level as before he left. He had a few good cracks at Daniel Bryan (without ever mentioning Bryan), the fans, and the content of the roster, but the fire was missing. Instead of the 700 horsepower, cranking engine behind the words, Batista's verbal delivery more or less resembled a jalopy with unlubricated gears grinding the car to struggle uphill without rolling back. In one word, Batista felt uninspired.

I know he's only been back one month, and he may be out of practice with his wrestling persona, but if Batista is going to succeed on an artistic level in WWE, he is going to have to get that motor running again. He's going to have to find his spotlight. Dominating the mic and getting segments backstage won't work if he's at half-speed. He needs zeal, because his opponent at WrestleMania is going to bring it.

Randy Orton has been at his promotional peak since his rift with the Authority started (and in the interim ended apparently) back in November. He's found his groove, and he will no doubt overexplain himself at every turn. If Batista doesn't want to get lapped, he will have to get on Orton's level. I feel like I'm in bizarro world writing that sentence, but it's true.

Batista may have the wardrobe and the words, but without the fire, without the horsepower, without the spotlight, he's going to get lapped. Right now, the writing on the wall states that no fewer than two matches, three if the Cena/Bray Wyatt build catches fire, will have a larger claim to stake for the main event slot at WrestleMania. It's up to Batista as to whether this match build can deserve to place the match on a slot of real estate greater than the pre-show now.