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Return of the Animal pt 2


I know I'm way late to the party on this, but after finally watching Guardians of the Galaxy over the weekend and seeing Batista totally nail the Drax character, is there any way that he isn't mega over with the fans the moment he decides to return? I remember feeling compelled - and oddly proud - to tell everyone that Dwayne Johnson was a wrestler after his surprisingly great performance in Rundown, and I kind of felt the same way about Batista in Guardians. Like, he wasn't just good for a wrestler, but legitimately good, as in people were talking about about how funny Drax was while they were filing out of the theater.

Provided that they don't have him squashing Rollins while Ambrose feuds with Bo Dallas, wouldn't the fans be decidedly in his corner this time around?

Man, fans are so weird these days it's hard to say.  But the problem with Batista as well is that WWE basically got shut out of promoting the movie because Marvel didn't seem to want to be associated with them.  So I don't know how much people are going to associate Batista The Awesome Movie Star with Batista the Wrestler.  I think it's far more likely that people remember his douchbag heel departure and they pick up that thread again.  

Goddamn was Guardians a great movie, though.  


Comments

  1. Everyonne who watches RAW was already aware of GotG and was probably was going to see it anyways. But lots of people would have been turned off to seeing the movie if it was too closely associated with wrestling.

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  2. Big Dave's problem wasn't his fault, he was get pushed into a spot the fans adamantly wanted someone else to be in and they made that known. On Jericho's podcast, he sounded pretty frustrated with wrestling especially with it all being PG now. Lord knows Dave loves to spend money, but he might not need wrestling to do it anymore. I'd be shocked if he comes back.

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  3. It was just really bad timing for Batista. If he came back in January 2013 I think things go differently for him. He got caught up in the perfect storm.

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  4. He's not coming back.


    The guy is getting raves The Rock could only dream of for acting, there's a rumour he's going to be in Avengers 3, and he's locked in for at least 2x more GOTG sequels. Throw in other acting work, and he's set for years money wise without taking an in-ring pounding.

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  5. I'm already dreading Batista's return at WM or some big event. Vince will throw millions at him and it will probably work. I was never a fan of him back in the day, now just go away.

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  6. You'd figure somewhere in their 700 hours of weekly TV they'd at least mention one of their own being in the big hit film of the summer and for a price I can't recall you can relive his greatest wrestling moments.

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  7. > I remember feeling compelled - and oddly proud - to tell everyone that Dwayne Johnson was a wrestler after his surprisingly great performance in Rundown


    Wait what?

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  8. Absolutely.


    Dave ain't coming back for no extended run.


    Maybe a show-up for the big show, but outside of that, unless RAW hits a milestone episode 1500? (idk how many eps there are) He is in the Disney/Marvel mafia now.

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  9. At best they're around 1150, so that's still another 7 years from now.

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  10. Imagine the pop at NOC if Lesnar is standing over Cena and "I'm Hooked on a Feeling" plays over the loudspeakers and Batista walked out as Drax. I didn't see the film, but I think that'd be great. No way it happens, though.

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  11. "The guy is getting raves The Rock could only dream of for acting"

    Let's hold our horses there. Batista has one huge hit under his belt that he's getting praise for, one that is part of the already mega-successful Marvel universe. And that's awesome and something he should take great pride in. But doing Marvel movies for the next 5 years isn't on the level of The Rock. Rock has appeared in 12 films that grossed over $100 million worldwide, including Fast Five ($626 million) and Fast & Furious 6 ($788 million). Fast 7 will probably beat them both considering it's Paul Walker's last movie.


    I agree with you that if I were Batista I wouldn't come back because 1) I'll make plenty of money from Marvel movies and whatever other projects I get 2) I'm 45 years old and 3) WWE totally botched my last run and need me more than I need them.


    But let's not put him on The Rock's pedestal just yet.

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  12. GotG was great, but film star power doesn't translate to popularity in a wrestling arena. Otherwise, the celebrity guest general manager deal would have gone over much better. I think it could work if they brought Batista in for a big match against Lesnar though. He just can't be perceived to be taking Bryan's or someone else's spot.

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  13. This guy gets it.

    The 3-4 million people who watch RAW every week were mostly well-aware that Batista was starring in a Marvel movie because a lot of people who watch wrestling are into comic books, action movies, Marvel, etc. Disney was more worried about it seeming like a "wrestling movie" to the millions of people who have zero interest in wrestling.

    Had Guardians bombed in its first weekend I think Disney would've gone into panic mode and reach out to WWE to try and salvage the marketing. But that didn't happen.

    In short, WWE needed the Guardians promotion more than Guardians needed WWE promotion.

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  14. They shouldn't have had him as a face. He was dressed in the same "Douchetista" get up that he had in 09-10 but acted like he did from 05-08.

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  15. If WWE didn't screw up Batista's return so badly, a Brock vs. Batista program now would probably be the biggest money match since Rock-Cena I.

    As it is it would still draw, but WWE flushed that opportunity away when they tried to push Batista at the expense of Daniel Bryan.

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  16. Well, again, Marvel apparently made sure they DIDN'T do that.

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  17. Liked Guardians, but saw it after it had been hyped so much that I think my expectations were way too high.

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  18. I think the reaction would be massive confusion.

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  19. Same here. It was a fun movie, but nothing more. The actual plot really sucked and whenever they did exposition, I lost interest.

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  20. I really enjoyed Batsita's recent return. He was really hitting his stride towards the end there. Those 6 man matches with Shield vs. Evolution were classic stuff.

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  21. I think if you brought Batista in for a segment where the whole point seemed to be to congratulate him for the movie, just have him smile & wave to the crowd, maybe have him hand over a big donation check to Special Olympics--basically disguise the return as something else, then have Miz come out and badmouth him to the point where Batista says "you know, I thought I was done wrestling, but I got another match in me after all!" ... something like that might work. Then with the fans actually behind him you can do whatever. As noted by others you just have to make it not seem he's taking someone else's spot.

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  22. CruelConnectionNumber2September 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Batista should return as The Miz's new Hollywood Bro because Babyface Batista suckssssssss.

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  23. CruelConnectionNumber2September 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Fun comic book movie. For what could have been a nerdy space aiien movie they made it sort of appeal to the mainstream. Good cast, but basic plot.

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  24. If I were Batista, I would not return to WWE for a match with Miz.

    I would return for a match with the following people: Brock, Cena, Bryan, or Triple H (only because Batista has said he wants to retire after a match with Hunter).

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  25. "But it was in USA Today, bro!!!"

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  26. Cena should be looking at Batista's success and putting out feelers.

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  27. $600 million at the box office proves Guardians didn't need WWE at all.

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  28. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomerySeptember 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    If you bring him back against the right guy, you can get him a big pop. You just can't have him walk right into a title match or hug the most hated heel in the company, that's all. But against someone that the fans want taken down, he can get over with his 2005 persona combined with the GOTG goodwill

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  29. He already has. Why do you think Cena filmed two movies this summer?

    If either of those is a hit, he'll be on a part-time schedule as soon as humanely possible. He's a company man, but he's carried the company for too long.

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  30. Absolutely. But WWE would've LOVED to have leeched off that popularity. Disney was smart in not letting them.

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  31. Marvel can stop Cole mentioning Batista's success during a broadcast?

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  32. The Miz match is just to get the fans on his side, and serve as a tune-up for the real money match.

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  33. Seriously. Rock is an A-list action star, Batista has one hit in a supporting role.

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  34. Batista the Wrestler is still used best as a douchebag heel. His being able to do lunkhead gags in a movie doesn't impact his being a crappy face.

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  35. Actually I'd book him to hug said heel were he to return, but this time throw a quick belly to Bayley belly to ignite the big time feud.

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  36. I wonder if Cena has his SAG card. The insurance savings alone would be great for him.

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  37. The only logical feud would be with Damien Sandow, who would come out as Drax and do some horrible cringeworthy sketch, and actually I can't even complete this thought sarcastically.

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  38. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomerySeptember 16, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    It's just an extremely well made, fun, good hearted movie, with a lot of laughs and something that didn't involve blowing up a random US metropolis. After endless grim dark movies and sequels upon sequels, I think it just resonated because it felt different from what we've had in recent times. Kinda like The Matrix , where the story (routine Chosen One formula) and characters (to call Neo and Trinity one dimensional would be an insult to dimensions) don't impress if you're looking for it, but the visuals, symbolism, and Hong Kong inspired action was just a blast of fun.

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  39. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomerySeptember 16, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    DONT GIVE THEM IDEAS

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  40. He has to have one now. If he didn't get it from the WWE Studios movies or the Nickelodeon Fred movies, he got it from the latest movies he shot because they're from a big studio.

    It's worth noting that Hogan began to wrestle a reduced WWF schedule in 1990, when he was 37 (and continued wrestling on a reduced schedule for the rest of his career). Austin's career was wrapping up in mid-2002 when he was 37 after he walked-out and he never really worked a full-time schedule again and retired in 2004. Rock was pretty much done full-time in 2002, when he was 30 (but obviously he had different circumstances -- Hollywood was calling).

    Cena is 37. WWE has had plenty of wrestlers in their 40s, but not at the top of the company.

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  41. Payback was the last PPV I really enjoyed. Make fun of Bluetista all you want but those dudes came out with some SWAG during their entrance.

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  42. Extant1979 - Ghetto SuperstarSeptember 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Had he come back, hugged Triple H, given him the thumbs down and Batista bombed him, he would have had a MASSIVE pop.

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  43. He should come back in January, Powerbomb Miz, then talk about how pissed he is at Triple H for messing everything up... and then they can both have a retirement match at WM.

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  44. I'd say "Batista has one hit in a lead role in an ensemble movie" because he was 3rd billed lead, but yeah, the point still stands.

    The only other two theatrically released films that Batista was in did $98 million worldwide (Riddick) and $19 million worldwide (The Man with the Iron Fists), and both of those were very small roles so you couldn't even call them "Batista movies." Everything else he's done has been direct-to-video. As of now, his Marvel movies are the exception, not the rule, to his box office success.

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  45. Apparently I blocked this out.

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  46. Bret was 40 when he left the WWF. Taker worked mostly full-time until he was 45. Triple H worked full-time until he was in his early 40's.

    I realize none of those guys were "top guys" the way Hogan/Austin/Rock were, but that's an awfully small sample size from which to draw any meaningful conclusion on what Cena might do.

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  47. Yeah, but there was no stopping Daniel Bryan's momentum at this point. Even if he'd powerbombed Triple H and got a huge pop that first night, fans still were going to reject anyone but Daniel Bryan as the top face at WrestleMania.

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  48. Extant1979 - Ghetto SuperstarSeptember 16, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Oh, I would have turned on him, too, if they tried to make him the main event babyface. But if plans were different, if they were serious about making him a top face, maybe taking on Trips at Mania, that was the way to go.

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  49. These are all fair points. But it still sets about 40 as the upper benchmark of a full-time top guy.

    Taker was taking extended breaks as early as 2005 (when he was 40), they just got longer as each year went by. And Triple H was basically done full-time after Extreme Rules 2010, when he was 40 also.

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  50. Miz - HHH - Batista retirement match! Stay with me here: triple count-out.

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  51. Actually wouldn't a Miz-Sandow comedy tag team kind of make sense as one guy is a wannabe-Hollywood-star and the other guy likes to dress up as movie characters?

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  52. Stick to your day job.

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  53. I actually think Ambrose/Bo could have an entertaining feud for a month if either aren't doing anything. "Dean, the reason the Shield split up is because people stop bo-lieving in you."

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  54. Thank you for posting this. There are a ton of people around the world who know Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as an action hero star first, and may only have a passing knowledge of his wrestling career. Batista is mostly an unknown right now for anything, in comparison.

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  55. An Ambrose/Dallas feud would be entertaining, if only for the duelling Bo-Lieve and Dean-ied puns.


    Yeah, I just made Dean-ied a thing.

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  56. I was looking at prowrestlingwiki and it's nuts how infrequently Hogan wrestled for WCW. As a kid, it seemed like he was always around but that clearly wasn't the case.

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  57. If done right, they could possibly bring in Dave for a Lesnar match down the road....that is, if they don't feed Brock to Cena, lock, stock and barrel before then.

    "How do you beat a Beast Incarnate? With a DESTROYER."

    Could be a possible angle to a new nickname/merchandise angle for Big Dave, as well. Dave "The Destroyer" Batista.

    /shrug. Just spitballing here.

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  58. Yeah, throwing him in there instead of the guy that damn near the ENTIRE audience wanted in the main event, and going "Deal with it! You're getting Batista!" wasn't the smartest way to do things. Imagine if Vince had done that to Austin (at Austin's hottest point) with a returning Hogan. The fans felt like they were getting overruled by the company, and they turned on it. You bring Dave back NOW, and it's a different story.

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  59. [puts away costume ideas for third member of the Dusts, 'Ambrosia']

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  60. Taker had several extended breaks over the course of his entire career whenever a heel would "bury the Undertaker" or something and then he'd get a couple of months off before making a big scary return to end the feud.

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  61. Some of us were discussing yesterday how Hogan wasn't even on Starrcade 1995 because he ran out of dates. Could you imagine WWE not having Cena at WrestleMania for any other reason that a traumatic injury?

    The thing is, WCW had a number of different draws during Hogan's run, including Sting, Goldberg, Flair, etc., and they could be cycled through house show runs as draws without using too many dates. WWE only has one significant house show draw -- Cena.

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  62. Big Dave himself just admitted in an interview that he is "the worst babyface ever." He wants to be a heel for the rest of time, as he should be if he returns.

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  63. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieSeptember 16, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    I could be wrong but I think you've missed the point No one said Batista was on the Rock's level or pedestal or whatever, the point was Batista is getting more praise for his performance than Rock has ever got for anything he has done. It doesn't mean Batista is a movie draw or better than the Rock, but comparing Batista and the Rock 3 movies in, Batista is getting better reviews than what Rock did. So, using that as a guide to his career trajectory, I don't think we'll be seeing Batista back in any long term capacity ever again.

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  64. Did he really say that? Damn. '05-'07 Batista was pretty kick-ass as a face. I do recall him saying a couple of times that he thought coming back as a face was going to be a huge flop and told Triple H as much, which sounds like a face-saving thing to say, but whatever.
    I absolutely think he can work as a face still today, but probably not at the top of the card. He's definitely better off as a heel.

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  65. Oh yeah, he was doing long breaks way before 2005 (he missed Manias 10 and 16, for example, because of extended absences). Around 2005 he started taking an increasing about of time off year after year until he's basically just on a "March-April" schedule as he has been the past three years or so.

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  66. Yep, I'd have been on board with a Dave/HHH match. Probably wouldn't have been a very good match but the storyline could have been great.
    In hindsight, making it the Daniel Bryan Show and letting him topple the Authority and win the title in the same night was absolutely the right call. They might not have totally gotten there on purpose, but I'm happy with how it played out.

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  67. "Film star power doesn't translate to popularity in a wrestling arena?" Hogwash! What about Zeus?

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  68. Oh no, I definitely got the point about Batista getting raves. But raves don't necessarily translate to a long and lucrative movie career, especially for a 45 year old former pro wrestler.

    Shit, look how much praise Mickey Rourke got after The Wrestler, and then he landed a role in Iron Man 2. What has he done since then? And he had a few decades of acting experience of highly-praised roles before that.

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  69. It's also worth noting that Batista was covered head-to-toe in makeup. Yeah, you could see his face, but non-wrestling fans don't generally know what he actually looks like yet -- so it's not like slapping his face on a movie poster would catch the eye of non-wrestling fans yet.

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  70. Theory: most of the guys feel they are better at being heels because most of them are kind of assholes and it's always better when you're playing something close to your own personality. Not a criticism.

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  71. It has been a rough benchmark, and you make a good point about Taker's breaks much earlier in his career. But like you said, Rock actually hit it big in Hollywood; Austin had his injuries and personal issues (though a diminished role was seemingly certain for him in the very near future no matter what); Hogan was making every effort to stick in Hollywood like Rock eventually would.
    So my point was more about it being difficult to draw any conclusions about Cena based on that information. If he's healthy and still selling merchandise and house show tickets, and barring a shocking breakthrough into full-time acting after a decade of straight-to-DVD-or-close-to-it, Cena could be The Guy indefinitely if no one else challenges that spot.
    I mean, I think his days of being the full-time top guy are coming close to an end, but I've probably thought that five different times since 2010.

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  72. He indeed did say that.



    I thought Batista lost all his face steam after the HHH feud. He couldn't cut promos to save his life at the time, and his matches went to shit against Edge, Booker, JBl and so forth.


    I just think he's so much more comfortable, especially on the microphone, when he's a face.

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  73. I definitely think there's some truth to this, but I think it's a little more complicated than that. The best wrestling personalities, as we all know, usually come largely from a guy's real-life personality. And we all have an asshole-ish side to us, to some degree. Letting that side of one's self in front of 15,000 people and getting paid lots of money for it must feel borderline orgasmic.

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  74. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieSeptember 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Oh ok cool.

    Even if Batista's movie career doesn't pan out, looks like the next 5 years or so will be booked fairly solid, so successful or not we still may have seen the last of him unless he wants to wrestle on the wrong side of 50.

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  75. Right, I don't mean like they're terrible people, but to reach the level these guys have, in such a competitive and testosterone-fueled industry, you likely have a pretty healthy dose of dickishness stashed away.

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  76. Agreed. He'll at least be in Avengers 3 and 2 more Guardians sequels if the Marvel gravy train keeps rolling as well as it has.

    After that, who knows -- but it's easier to be an action star over 50 than a wrestler over 50. Personally, I'd love to see a Rock/Batista movie at some point if Batista gets even more success under his belt and can co-headline with Rock. And if THAT movie becomes a huge hit, WWE will stop at nothing to try and take credit for the whole thing.

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  77. Oh, no doubt. You definitely make a good point. Wrestlers always say they love being a heel because they have so much more freedom, which I've always interpreted as "I'm so glad I don't have to pretend to be a good person."

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  78. I like it, but how do you book it?

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  79. Oh yeah, that I could agree with. If Kane can wrestle a full-time WWE schedule well into his late 40s, so could Cena.

    But if I were Vince, Triple H, and/or Stephanie, I wouldn't hedge my bets on Cena sticking around much longer after 40 based on past history of all the top guys of the last 30 years.

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  80. I just think you have way more creative freedom as a heel than a face.

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  81. Once he acts like a heel he'll get over as a face anyways.

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  82. Absolutely, but that's the point: the creative freedom stems from the basic fact (well, I don't know about "fact," but you get the idea) that there's a lot more you can do to make people dislike you than you can do to make them like you. And a high percentage of wrestlers are testosterone-fueled jerks, so being a heel is, in turn, truly allowing them more freedom because they don't have to pretend to be decent human beings.

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  83. I still haven't re-watched the second one, but I've watched the Extreme Rules match several times because it was phenomenal. I still say 5 stars.

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  84. I actually think the fans will embrace Batista if he returned, I think once he left again people actually started to appreciate the 'douchebag' character after the initial backlash, and GOTG is the biggest movie this year, wrestling fans aren't oblivious to this you know!? Not only was it the biggest but it is arguably the best mainstream movie this year... I think we'd welcome him back with open arms.


    Batista returns he'll get a hero's welcome this time in my opinion (based on timing of course).

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  85. I agree with this. After all, he got a huge pop in his first night back...and then he immediately hugged the biggest heels and was handed the WM30 main event after being gone for four years all while the biggest babyface in years- hand-picked by the fans- was being perceivably "buried."
    I think he's better off as a heel- I especially think it'd be great if he came back and accepted the hero's welcome and then immediately turned back heel the same night- but he could definitely work as a face in the right circumstances. It's just that the circumstances they gave him, he had no chance.

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  86. You have Brock continue to destroy everyone, with HHH super proud of himself for setting it up/the success of it. Batista comes back, sick of Hunter's shit (as teased by his exit), claiming that he took down Taker, he took down Hunter, he took down Cena… he's taken down every "unstoppable" guy the WWE's ever had in his presence, and Brock's no different. Brock's the heel, Batista's the badass tweener who wants to fight just to show how much of a badass he is, and doesn't care one way or the other what the fans think of it (which will probably get him over as a face, but whatever).


    Then, you can go from there, regardless of who wins, to Batista's retirement program against HHH, which is apparently how Big Dave wants to go out anyway.

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  87. His "too smart for the room" face act from '05 was excellent, and I'd be fine with him bringing that back and scaring the living shit out of Heyman for a month before going up against Brock.


    He gets into trouble when he tries to play "conventional baby face," but he works as douchebag heel, monster heel, or smartass face.

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  88. It would have been fine if he had his '05 face persona, instead of generic pandering baby face. Smartass, super-cool Batista was great. Cena-style Batista is insufferable.

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  89. His feud with Eddie was great, because it went off the same premise as his feud with HHH: Facetista is too smart for the usual heel shit, so the bad guy has to come up with something fresh and/or desperate to have a shot. When you book him like that, he's amazing. But it's really they only good way to book Facetista.

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  90. Yeah, Batista worked really well as the well-dressed, somewhat soft-spoken monster who could outsmart the devious heels. I wish they'd go the same route with Reigns since he has a similar natural cool factor.

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  91. For me, personally, Reigns is such a disaster on the mic that I have no interest hearing him speak at all. I think they just need to go full Goldberg with him.

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  92. Batista was a good face in 2005. I didn't watch SmackDown from 2006-2007 but when he came back to Raw in 2008 he was waaaaay more interesting than Cena as a face.

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  93. Dean-lightful!

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  94. I was always a fan of snarky, genre-savvy face Batista.

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  95. I think it's more fun to be a heel too. You can pretty much say and do anything you want. You don't have to pander to fans or fit the hero stereotypes. Think about how boring it must be to play the John Cena or Hulk Hogan face character for several years. I know there are exceptions to this like Stone Cold, The Rock, or pipebomb era Punk. Some people argue those characters are heels that only became faces because people loved them so much.

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  96. also I think he was very aware of the reactions that attire was going to get.

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  97. And in general, it's easier to make people dislike you than it is to get them to like you.

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  98. Drax was by far the weakest part of the movie (beating out Gamora by a tad) and the villain (despite a FANTASTIC Lee Pace performance) felt a little repetitive (Another dogmatic racist alien who wants to destroy a planet with an Infinity Stone? Seriously?) still, it was by far the best Marvel film in a while, I'd say it's better than Avengers, IMO.

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  99. davidbonzaisaldanamontgomerySeptember 16, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    I loved the stuff with Eddie right before Guerrero died.

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  100. The Love-Matic Grampa!September 17, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    See, that's what I'm wondering, too. Because it's one thing for Disney/Marvel to say "no dice" to cross-promotion, but somehow I doubt they could prevent WWE from mentioning the film even if they wanted to. That seems like a WWE choice.

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  101. The Love-Matic Grampa!September 17, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Had Guardians bombed in its first weekend I think Disney would've gone
    into panic mode and reach out to WWE to try and salvage the marketing.
    But that didn't happen.


    They definitely lucked out in that regard. Because what turned out to be a shrewd move could very well have been a colossal blunder.

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  102. The Love-Matic Grampa!September 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Hindsight is always 20/20, though. Given the variables (obscure franchise, small-name cast, weak box office season), that $600 million wasn't necessarily guaranteed. Obviously they felt secure enough to say no to WWE, but that choice would be hard to justify if the numbers had been abysmal.

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  103. True, but let's figure that Disney knows a thing or two more about marketing movies than we do.

    ...John Carter and Mars Needs Moms notwithstanding...

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  104. I was talking critical raves.


    The Rock hasn't been asked to give a fully rounded 'acting' performance. Batista was asked to be funny AND tragic, and pulled it off nicely. His 'regret speech' is some excellent acting.

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