John Cena and Batista’s rivalry should’ve been a huge generational feud. But it just never became as big as it should have been.
John Cena and Batista are two of the biggest WWE stars of the last two decades, created through the WWE developmental system, forged into multi-time world champions, and are currently two huge names in Hollywood. Despite having very parallel careers, competing in their primes at the exact same time, they didn’t meet too many times in the ring. However, when they did feud, it never quite reached the heights that it should have done, considering the two names involved. For several reasons, the Cena vs Batista feud never hit the ground running and was ultimately a flop in the grand scheme of things.
John Cena & Batista Became Huge Stars For WWE
Back in their younger years, John Cena and Batista were products of OVW, wrestling in the same class as the likes of Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Shelton Benjamin, and upon their call-ups to the main roster, it was clear that they were made for big things. Cena’s “Doctor of Thugamonics” gimmick got him over in a huge way, as he steadily climbed the ranks by winning the United States Title. When it came to Batista, he was quickly put in the Evolution stable, which may be one of the most dominant groups in history and with him working alongside greats such as Ric Flair and Triple H, in addition to fellow youngster Randy Orton, he was being primed for greatness.
In the 2005 Royal Rumble, Cena and Batista found themselves as the final two men in the match. Two unproven young stars, neither of whom had won a world title or even come close to, looked set to make a name for themselves. Batista would end up winning the match, heading to WrestleMania 21 to battle his former mentor, Triple H. Despite not winning the Rumble, Cena would also go to WrestleMania to battle JBL. On what was a star-making night, Batista and Cena ended the show as the World Heavyweight and WWE Champion respectively, signaling that they were the two men to carry WWE into the future, with it being largely expected that they would cross paths, and it would be money when they did.
Their First Feud Was Built Up Poorly, Though The Match Was Good
Whether it be due to WWE wanting to have these two big names on separate brands, or if injuries played a part at times, Cena and Batista didn’t cross each other too often, even though the potential for a huge main event and feud was readily present. When they finally came to blows, it was a feud built off the lazy trope of one man inadvertently hitting the other, which was very obviously an accident. Their feud was built with even more tropes, such as the typical “can they coexist” storyline, in which they won the Tag Team Titles.
Their first ever match on WWE’s main roster came at Summerslam 2008, in a match that was hyped up to be six years in the making. Whilst they hadn’t battled for six years, it didn’t really feel as though it was “in the making”, and more of just a random matchup, especially since no titles were on the line. Regardless, due to the two men involved, it still had a big fight feel, and the match was entertaining too. Disaster would strike, as Cena would pick up an injury, and the match was cut a little short. It was a great encounter, but the hype was short-lived, and the feud was weak going in and didn’t continue in the aftermath.
The Cena Vs Batista Feud Should Have Been A Classic
It would take two years for them to rekindle this rivalry, with a newly turned heel Batista dethroning Cena for the WWE Title, in a match that took place in the immediate aftermath of Cena’s Elimination Chamber win in 2010. This set up a rematch between the two at WrestleMania, which had much more of a legitimate build than their initial match at Summerslam. It was once again a good match, with Cena winning the WWE Title.
This feud would continue into the next two PPVs, though the feud decreased in intensity over time, and the match quality dropped too, though they were still solid. Following this, Batista left the company, and that was that. In the many years that Cena and Batista were together in WWE, they had two feuds, and neither set the world on fire, even if the matches themselves were strong. Not every story can be legendary, but when you consider the name value that they each had, it is such a shame that not more was done to capitalize on their star power and to make this a classic feud.