Batista signs two-year deal with WWE - report
MANILA, Philippines - Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion Dave Batista has signed a two-year deal with the sports entertainment company, according to a report in Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The Filipino-Greek wrestler Batista, who was one of the most popular performers during the 2000s, will make his first appearance in a WWE ring since 2010 on the January 20 episode of Monday Night Raw at Wright State University's Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio.
The length of the contract allays concerns that Batista, 44, of Washington D.C., will be used as a short-term ratings booster, and suggests that he factors into the company's major long-term plans.
The report adds that Batista's contract does not stipulate a part-time schedule like Brock Lesnar's, the former WWE champion who made a similar return to the company last year and has made infrequent appearances since then.
Promos for the two-time WWE champion and 4-time World Heavyweight champion's return have aired on WWE programming over the past few weeks, and Batista has been announced as a participant in the Royal Rumble event on Saturday, January 26 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Batista won the event in 2005, earning a crack at World Heavyweight champion Triple H in the main event of Wrestlemania XXI. Batista pinned him following his Batista Bomb finishing maneuver to win his first world title.
Back to Business
Batista left the company to pursue other interests after eight years amid disagreements over the safer, "PG" direction the company had begun to steer towards.
Batista has since then made several major movie appearances, including a role as Brass Body in the martial arts film The Man with the Iron Fists in 2012. Last year, Batista had a role opposite Vin Diesel in Riddick, and will play Drax the Destroyer in the forthcoming Marvel Comics movie Guardians of the Galaxy starring Diesel and Bradley Cooper later this year.
Last week, WWE performer Alberto Del Rio exchanged insults with Batista via Twitter in what appears to be an attempt to build towards an in-ring rivalry. Del Rio (real name Alberto Rodriguez) had poked fun at Batista's underwhelming 2012 mixed martial arts debut, which he won by technical knockout in the first round.
Batista responded "So I hear Alberto Del Rio is talking trash. Just one question... Who the hell is Alberto Del Rio?!!!" A later tweet contained more vitriol, suggesting that Batista took legitimate umbrage to what seemed to be a "worked" insult. "Seems 2 me that some C level stars in a B level star era have bought into their own hype. Don’t turn a work into a shoot. #realitycheck," tweeted Batista.
The tweet was later deleted. -Rappler.com
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.