The general feeling among many within WWE at this time towards both John Cena and Batista as the World Champions for each respective brand is that they should not be measured or compared against the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels when they were all top babyface champions at one point in their careers. Vince McMahon has reportedly made it clear to many critics that the reason Cena and Batista are in the positions they are right now is because of a lack of fresher, more “ready options” in his opinion. McMahon has taken the approach that it’s expected that both will make mistakes along the way and probably not get pops that Steve Austin or The Rock got at their peaks (although I’m sure some would argue that point given the large amount of reaction Cena is getting every week on SmackDown, especially in Birmingham last week).
At this point, both Cena and Batista are being labeled by those in the company as “projects” who have some weaknesses that were expected, but with some work and tutoring they could eventually become reliable stars. “Neither of them is better than mid-carders by the standards of 15 or 20 years ago, but they have varying levels of charisma and marketable looks,” said one WWE source. When it comes to talking on the mic, Cena is obviously considered the stronger of the two. Plus, with youth on Cena’s side, there will be much more patience for him. Batista on the other hand is considered much weaker on the mic, but more over at this time as a top draw for the company. Despite this taking place, one top WWE source is disagreeing with the approach adding, “How many examples are there of more seasoned wrestlers who are more ready for this kind of push who have been saddled with lame comedy acts which mean nothing, while Batista is being pushed into this top spot prematurely.