As much as I’m a huge fan of John Cena, so many times has Cena won feuds which he really shouldn’t have. Recent feuds with up-and-comers like Rusev and Bray Wyatt saw the potential of these monster heels prematurely squashed by the leader of the Cenation. But there was one feud in particular which I was extremely annoyed about the treatment of Cena’s opponent. It is a former multi-time World Champion that had just turned heel once more and was really establishing himself as the top guy in the company once again. But when he squared off with Cena, it was bad news for this man. The man I’m talking about of course… was Batista.
Now don’t get me wrong. This rivalry… was good. The foundations of the entire story have been in place for years. Cena and Batista were two men that broke out into the big time on EXACTLY the same night. They both won world championships at Wrestlemania 21, honing in a new era for WWE. Their paths never really crossed each other when it came to in-ring action until Summerslam, where Batista defeated John Cena in their first ever one-on-one match. With his win, Batista had broken Cena’s neck. With Batista turning heel shortly afterwards and Cena getting involved in the animosity between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon, a program was inevitable.
For a build to Wrestlemania, this was brilliantly well done. That’s probably my biggest complaint about Wrestlemania 31 in general. The build for some of these matches were shocking. Batista and Cena’s feud on the other hand had plenty to work with considering their last meeting resulted in a broken neck. Whether it necessarily needed to be a WWE Title feud is something I’d question tough. Surely Batista vs Cena should sell on its own merit. Yeah, Batista being a heel champion is very cool and a long time coming. However, it took away from the up-and-comer heel Sheamus tremendously with him being considered nothing more than a paper champion at the time. Despite that, everything checks out so far.
Batista in this era… was OUTSTANDING. Batista’s initial run as a heel was fantastic to watch. With Batista being a good guy ever since 2005, this turn was largely overdue. As a good guy, Batista was very limited to what he had to say. But as a heel, he was golden EVERY TIME he was on the mic. In his exchanges with Cena, Batista tore Cena apart. This one below in particular was probably the best I’ve ever seen Batista promo-wise.
Their matches… do not live long in the memory. These two weren’t exactly the greatest of chemistry in the ring. You could tell by the fact that the most the commentary team cheered for in the Wrestlemania match was a Five Knuckle Shuffle off the top rope. This has always annoyed me looking back, particularly PLAYING it back on WWE 2k14. You mean to tell me that THIS was the highlight point of the match? However, what we really did hurt the match was the winner… John Cena.
If you think about it in the long-run, if the plan was to have Sheamus win the WWE Championship anyway, why does John Cena need to be champion? Yeah, it’d make more sense for a face to be the one Sheamus beats for the title. However, this would do Batista no favors at all, provided he was going to be still in the company around the time. Or at least if WWE just HAD to have Cena win the feud and the title, why did it need to happen at Wrestlemania? Surely Batista needed it more?
The thing which made these matches really suffer was the predictability of ALL of them. At least one win for Batista at Wrestlemania would shake things up a little bit. Then again if Jericho was gonna walk out World Heavyweight Champion anyway, then probably two heel champions wouldn’t be the greatest way to end the show. Unless Edge were to win the title, which I think he probably should. To be honest, that entire PPV was a mess and I might just leave that for another time!
So where did this feud go from here? To Extreme Rules. And sadly, their Last Man Standing rematch barely lived up to the name “extreme”. The match ended when Cena tied Batista’s foot to the ropes and the ref counted the 10 with Batista not being able to escape. Now to Over Th….
Sorry I can’t get over that. Cena TIED HIS FEET TO THE ROPE and BEAT HIM. Of the potential cool Last Man Standing match finishes that you could do, you did the one that made BOTH men look incredibly weak! What kind of champion, a face champion even, would tie a man’s foot to the ropes in order to keep him down. The rules of the match are usually that you have to incapacitate your opponent so they can’t respond to the count of ten. All Cena did was wrap his feet to the rope with DUCK TAPE and got the win. How does that make him look strong? How does that make Batista look strong? It makes Dave look like a complete idiot at not being able to escape having his feet tied to the rope. To quote TeamFourStar’s version of DBZ fighter Piccolo, in this situation that makes him no doubt the big, tough, stupid one of the two. Worst last man standing match finish ever….
So the last match in this trilogy, Over The Limit 2010. The I Quit match. “The Animal” Batista’s last hurrah before leaving WWE. And he went out on more of a whimper than a bang. It was not really a fantastic end to this feud. To be fair, the Oklahoma Slam spot through the announce table was a pretty cool spot. But it’s a spot that we’ve seen before from Batista and surely they could have done something different. It ended with Batista shouting “I Quit” in fear off being AA’d off a car and through the floor. However, Cena did the AA anyway and Cena reigned supreme. The feud came to an end when Batista quit on RAW the next night having being confined to a wheel chair.
So that about wraps up the feud between these two. I personally believe that the build to their match at Wrestlemania 26 was actually really well done. Batista was gold as a heel and was the perfect soil for Cena… until he lost at Wrestlemania. I have to say, I’ve always been annoyed at WWE for how they booked Batista after he lost the first match. In the end, he just seemed like a bumbling monster having lost to Cena three times in a row on PPV. It’s a common flaw for WWE with regards to their booking for Wrestlemanias. They always seem to struggle having put all their effort into the grand daddy of them all and the follow-up PPV/feuds always seem to be a little disappointing. I just hope in 2015, they don’t make the same mistakes they made here.