The Reality of Wrestling: Batista & Orton
By Phil Clark and J.D. Speich
Are they really thinking things through?
With the fallout from SummerSlam upon us, it is almost inevitable that the next big feud for the World Title will be Randy Orton Vs. Batista. This feud has its pros and cons based on items such as timing and credibility. Like so many feuds and angles in the past, this may turn out to be another example of jumping the gun. Or, it could be the beginning of a long, very successful main-event feud, one that SmackDown has sorely needed.
P.C. Says: The feud shouldn’t happen right away
Since June when SmackDown lost John Cena and gained Batista, there was no doubt that the Batista/Orton showdown would occur and would be for the World Title. I’m not disagreeing that this is SmackDown’s biggest potential moneymaking feud. What I am disagreeing about is how and when this feud is put out.
As of right now Dave Batista’s “improvement” in the thing that has been uncovered as being the bi-product of him working with Benoit, Jericho, and HHH for the past year. Dave’s rise in fan support is undeniable, however when he gets in the ring, as SummerSlam proved, the fans still have a love/hate relationship with him. In the case of Randy Orton, it’s the exact opposite. Orton has always been the most talented of WWE’s version of the Three Musketeers (Orton, Cena, & Batista) and the best on the mic. However, Orton’s credibility with the fans took a huge hit in the last year with him losing three high-profile world title matches to HHH, a Wrestlemania match to the Undertaker, and the next night getting squashed in almost five minutes by Batista. These big losses put forth the image of a guy who chokes in the big match and that, compiled with his time off due to injury, creates the need for this guy to remind the fans why he got over in such a hurry last year.
In terms of storyline, there’s no denying that the injury angle is the way to go. That was how they sent Orton out and onto the operating table back in April to begin with, why not re-use it to try and make money? Not only that, but Orton cutting ultra-bitter promos on Batista about putting him on the shelf and forcing him out of the ring for months and taking his thunder, etc. can all be put into place. This serves two purposes: to make fans want to see the match and to continue to protect Batista’s so-so promo abilities; it’s no mystery why Batista didn’t talk much when he was in Evolution. However, if this angle were set into motion, you could milk it over an extended period of time while Orton gains vicious wins over jobbers to make people think this is the “big title match.”
To create the image of a big title match, I believe both of these guys need a set up feud. Batista just took care of JBL and needs a new challenger. In this case, despite his lengthily losing streak, I still believe Eddie Guerrero would be the right candidate. Should that happen, it should be at SmackDown’s No Mercy PPV in October. That would give them about a month, maybe a month and a half to hype it. Nobody would seriously believe that Guerrero would walk out the champion, but his interviews and mind games would not only sell the match, but the illusion that he could get the job done. Plus, if there’s any non-Canadian member of SmackDown that could help Batista to a possible **** match, it’s Guerrero. Batista beats a credible (as a wrestler) challenger, adds another victim to the tally and has an awesome match to make himself look better. It’s win win.
In the case of Orton, it’s a longer ride. For Orton, I believe a jog rather than a sprint is necessary. Put Orton in a U.S. Title program with Benoit. Benoit and Orton have yet to have a bad match with each other, plus beating a guy as over with the crowd as Benoit would almost instantly gain Orton’s lost credibility back. Should he win the belt and beat the likes of Booker T and Christian that would most definitely put him in line for a World Title shot. He wins the U.S. belt at No Mercy, defends it on Smackdown through the rest of October, November, and December, and loses it back to Benoit, or to someone else at Armageddon in December or on T.V. in a shock title change. Following all of this, Orton enters the Royal Rumble in January and is put in early (somewhere between #3 and #7). He puts on an awesome showing ala Rumble 2004 and wins giving him the shot at Batista at Wrestlemania.
Should all of this happen, any question on Orton’s credibility would be gone and with Batista taking care of Guerrero and probably JBL a couple more times, both of these guys would have all the momentum to deserve the main-event slot at Wrestlemania.
J.D. Says: The feud should happen right away
I believe the Orton/Batista feud should happen as right away as scheduled because of a number of reasons. One, the fallout from SummerSlam, with Batista beating JBL to retain the World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam he needs a new challenger based on the fact that Batista beat him fair and square and JBL has nothing to bitch about. Also, Orton had by far the biggest victory at SummerSlam, not only for the fact that he beat the legendary Undertaker but also because he needed a big win to gain back credibility as a main-eventer. There you go, Orton is the number one contender for the belt at the next SmackDown PPV.
My second reason that this feud should happen is because of the financial reasoning behind it. Lets face it, this is the big match that everyone has been pining for and it will sell the pay-per-view by itself no question. It will sell because these two wrestlers are probably the best feud the WWE has at the time, even though Cena and Angle is good. This match will also sell because the Batista/Orton feud is probably the most anticipated feud since Austin/Rock in the sense that Orton is heel you love to hate with great wrestling ability and Batista is the badass face that could get over with an Amish crowd.
The next reason I have for Batista and Orton starting their feud right away is that this feud is most likely going to be on and off all year long. In this first match between Orton and Batista, Orton doesn’t even have to win to gain full credibility back, all he has to do is take Batista to a limit no one has ever taken him to before and losing on a last ditch effort by Batista hitting the Batista bomb out of nowhere. With this type of ending you would have a hopefully great match and you would have the fans that see the match wanting to see a second between the two to see if the outcome could change.
In my opinion the best way to keep this feud watchable all year long is to have the first meeting at No Mercy with Batista coming out on top in a somewhat close win. From there you have Orton fall back a little and get into a feud with someone like Benoit or Booker T, while Batista can start a feud with, dare I say, JBL Again, or if the WWE wanted to keep Batista credible as a wrestler make it a surprise opponent like the man who can lose 100 times and still look like a winner, Eddie Guerrero or the charismatic Christian, who I feel has earned his keep as a main-event type wrestler. If you have Batista feud with Eddie or Christian at Survivor Series you then take one more filler match before your second Batista/Orton match. The best bet here is Batista vs JBL and Orton vs Rey Mysterio in a match where the story line plays out as Orton being the bully of Smackdown who likes to pick on the little guys, while Rey is the one little guy who fights back. Of course at the PPV Bastista and Orton both win this setting up the Royal Rumble.
Batista vs Orton part 2 takes place at the Royal Rumble with Orton winning by use of the belt or chair due to a referee being knocked out because of a ref bump. With Orton winning at the Royal Rumble you get a pissed off Batista who wants his title back but since he’s a face he has no rematch clause in his contract (stereotype), and therefore has to earn his title shot against a deserving opponent named Eddie Guerrero. In the mean time Orton is gonna feud with the man who would finish number two in the Royal Rumble, Chris Benoit. Both matches take place at No Way Out with both men winning. This sets up Batista vs Orton on the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. At Wrestlemania, Batista comes out on top after Orton pulls out all the stops, including run-ins. This is the best way to keep WWE’s best feud at the moment going into the next year.
The Reality is…wrestling is both about making money and putting on a good show. And with Vengeance looking to be the first non-Big Four PPV to gain a 1.0 buyrate in three years, there is no doubt that the E will likely go with their biggest potential feud as soon as they can in the hopes of gaining that big buyrate in a month that hasn’t usually been good to them (October). Ironically, they could go both directions with the Orton/Batista feud. WWE’s original plans, plans they still may act on, are to have Orton/Mysterio, and Batista/Guerrero as post-SummerSlam feuds to prep Batista and Orton for their eventual title feud. The other route is they may just go straight into the Batista/Orton feud. Going straight into the feud could be viewed as a sign of desperation on Vince’s part in looking for the quick fix. No doubt that the first PPV headlined by Batista/Orton should get a good buyrate, but whether or not it will break the sought after 1.0 is still up for grabs. Of course for people on both sides of the argument, it is uncertain what will happen, as the very direction of the company tends to get hazier with each passing week.