Quick in-house note: Huge Royal Rumble post-show this Sunday, immediately following the event. I'll join the Wrestle Reaction guys – Frank Manzo and Joe Omega – to break down the show. Plus, we'll have official details about the return of the Voice of Wrestling. Visit WrestleZone immediately following the Rumble and you can watch the live show.
Also, I'll be live tweeting during the Rumble this Sunday. Follow and join in if you'd like.
Now, let's get started with the latest Stars in Progress.
Batista – One Step Down
I hate to be one of the "negative smarks" Batista referred to in a recent Twitter post, but it's hard to feel all rainbows and sunshine after his lackluster return to WWE television Monday night on Raw. It felt forced and contrived.
The Dayton crowd certainly didn't help matters — they were horrible all night — but I think it was a fundamental mistake on WWE's part.
Announcing Batista's return in advance was smart — ratings for the go-home show proved that — but why announce his entry into the Rumble before he had the chance to do it himself? Fans should have been saying all along: "I know Batista is coming back, but why is he coming back!? I can't wait to find out!"
Hell, I think we knew the answer to that question before Batista even knew.
The mundane segment to open Raw just added to the problem. Triple H all-but-confirmed Batista was gunning for Orton's title at Mania, so what was the point. By the time The Animal finally hit the ring to speak, there really wasn't anything left to say.
"So, I understand you have a few questions about my return?" Um…no, Batista, we really don't.
Batista headlining WrestleMania isn't the worst thing though; don't get me wrong. He still has value, especially long-term if his contract is for the two years that has been reported. But his return could have been HOT! Rather, it was lukewarm and lacking.