Coming off the HUGE Wrestlemania 24 week, and probably the single best moment on RAW ever with Ric Flair’s retirement ceremony, WWE has a much needed shot in the arm, that will maybe at least temporarily bring back some interest in WWE, which has failed miserably in the past year at least in my eyes, besides a few bright points. The Ric Flair Hall of Fame induction was great, his match at Wrestlemania with Shawn Michaels was great, and the RAW ceremony was top notch….but that leaves 1 big problem, Ric Flair is now gone, and him being gone takes away a top level wrestler, and maybe the most interesting storyline WWE had going, which was Flairs “Career threatening match” angle. One thing that caught my interest, for NO real reason, but it just caught my attention, was on RAW when Michaels was walking backstage, and looked over his shoulder, to see Batista staring him down. Now HBK has been pretty bland for quite awhile now, and Batista has been very boring as well in my eyes, up to his meaningless match with Umaga at Mania. But something ignited in the few seconds where Batista gave a cold stare to Michaels. Maybe it was the fact that it was a real STORY, and a GOOD story. Batista considers Flair a mentor, much like Michaels, and is in SHOCK that Michaels could be the guy to end Flair’s career…makes perfect sense. Then during the ceremony, Michaels comes out, and we get just a SMALL little hint as the camera pans to Batista, who’s in the ring, once again staring down Michaels JUST for a brief second before the camera pans away, but it’s all just subtle hints, rather than the HORRIBLY TIRED method of “Wrestle A goes to ring, Wrestler B comes out, a challenge is made, and a match is set for “X” event.”
Then tonight on Smackdown, the feud was set in motion, as HBK came out to do another sad interview about Flair…..until Batista’s music hit, and he hit the ring with a purpose. Now in the Evolution days, I think Batista was a bad son of a bitch, and tonight, that was the Batista I saw once again. When he turned into the guy that was more about shooting guns during his entrance, and pumping up the crowd, he lost his purpose in my eyes. But tonight, we saw the Evolution Batista, who looked like he wanted to kill someone, and was sporting a sleeveless black shirt, which suited his gimmick and personality a LOT better than his suit look, went face to face with Batista, who was sporting some sort of sport coat over a tank top look….hmm, these 2 looked about as opposite as it gets. Anyway, Batista cut the most believable and realistic interview he’s ever done….pointing out that all Michaels had to do was lay down, this ONE time, and Flair would still be here, but Michaels ego got in the way. And in a WELCOME return of REALITY to WWE, Michaels claimed that “he had a job to do, I did it”…..then Batista shot back with “You had a job to do, and you DIDN’T do it……because you don’t do “jobs.” Wow, a shoot reference on WWE TV, its been years. Just kind of one of those things, if you’re in the know, then cool, you get it, and gives the angle a LOT of heat when they walk the line of reality by throwing a term like that in. Batista really made HBK come off as an asshole who could have kept Flair in wrestling. It’s a great story that fans can take in, then choose their own path as to who’s side their on. No need to have a forced “good guy” and “bad guy” here. Just simply, do you agree with Batista? That Michaels could have laid down ONE time to save Flair, or do you agree with Michaels, that he did what Flair wanted, plain and simple. The other factor here is that I don’t recall a Michaels-Batista program ever….which is a rarity, in today’s wrestling where every guy has feuded with every other guy at LEAST once, and they’ve had at least 4-5 PPV matches.
I’m going to enjoy following this feud, as it takes me back to the good ‘ol days of STORIES driving wrestling. Guys feuding over a specific incident or reason, not just a guy hating another because he has a belt. I think belts are great, they really drive the competition aspect of wrestling, but the stories have a huge place as well, and I think this feud will catapult both guys out of their stagnant phase, and will hopefully deliver a story that will give us tons of entertainment, and I believe Shawn Michaels can pull some great matches out Batista, and improve his skills greatly. Two thumbs up to WWE for the entire past weeks events, I’m enjoying the product for the time being, and look forward to having a renewed interest in both Shawn Michaels and Batista!