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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Batista vs John Cena vs Randy Orton
June 6, 2005 by Antonio M. Figueroa


Just two years ago, the future of the WWE rested on the broad shoulders of a young star named Brock Lesnar. With his towering frame, intimidating attitude, and brutal finishing maneuver, Lesnar was the figure around which the entire company was being shaped.

Two years have come and gone. Brock Lesnar no longer works for the company, but three bright new stars have appeared to try and take his place. In the views of most wrestling fans, they have succeeded. But which one of these Superstars represents the best hope for the future of the WWE" Is it RAW's World Heavyweight Champion, Dave Batista" Or is it SmackDown!'s WWE Champion, John Cena" What about the "Legend Killer", Randy Orton" Or does not a single one of them have what it takes" On the surface, all three seem to have what it takes. Now, I will take an in depth look into each of the stars, to try and discover which of them, if any, can cut it as the figure-head of WWE.


BATISTA

Height: 6'8"

Weight: 317 lbs

Hometown: Washington, DC

Finishing Maneuver: Sit-Down Powerbomb

Career Highlights: Current World Heavyweight Champion, 2-Time World Tag Team Champion

Pros:
1. Size. There is no doubt that Batista has the same imposing stature that made Brock Lesnar so feared; in fact, Batista is larger than Lesnar, by four inches and twenty-two pounds.

2. Fan Support: The fans love Batista. I honestly don't know why, since I have difficulty stomaching his presence on RAW, but the vast majority of fans cheer wildly for his every move.

Cons:
1. Lack of charisma. Batista needs some serious work on the microphone. In several interviews, Batista has either stuttered or mispronounced simple words. Also, Batista has no distinct style of speaking, he just sounds like an average guy pulled at random from the streets to be a wrestler simply because he was large.

2. Lack of skill. Batista has all the technical expertise of a corpse. I can't recall a single move in his arsenal that is not either a slam or a strike. It seems that even a simple headlock is far too complex for Batista to execute.

3. Age. Given the fact that Batista is in his late 30's, it seems very likely that his popularity (and his career) will die out rather quickly. Also, with his massive physique, he is in danger of falling victim to the Scott Steiner curse, where he will somehow tear his groin while performing a suplex.

My Prediction: I firmly believe that once Batista loses his championship, his popularity will take a swan-dive off a cliff. Batista is simply a flavor of the month in my eyes, and there is no way that someone with no skill whatsoever can maintain a main event spot. (Then again, there's Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner, and Goldberg, all of whom covered up their pathetic lack of skill with charisma).

Analysis: Batista does NOT have what it takes to carry WWE.


JOHN CENA

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 242 lbs

Hometown: West Newbury, MA

Finishing Maneuver: FU (Modified Death Valley Driver)

Career Highlights: Current WWE Champion, 3-Time United States Champion

Pros:
1. Fan Support. Cena has just as much support from the crowd as Batista, if not more, as shown at the 2005 Royal Rumble, where the crowd was about 60% pro-Cena and 40% pro-Batista.

2. Charisma. John Cena has a level of charisma and an ability to communicate with the fans not seen since the Rock. The ease with which Cena keeps a crowd firmly in the palm of his hand is astonishing, even back in his heel days.

3. Old-school story-telling. When John Cena wrestles, he paints a picture for the crowd. This lost art is rarely seen these days, except for Cena, Undertaker, and Chris Benoit. From the edge of defeat to the brink of victory, John Cena's fans always feel what he is feeling.

4. Momentum. Ah, the all-important factor of momentum. With the exception of the Royal Rumble match, John Cena has not lost a Pay-Per-View match since February of 2004 (In fact, many fans, myself included, still feel that John Cena was the rightful winner of the Royal Rumble match, as Batista's feet clearly landed first). Cena has had three separate reigns as U.S. Champion, with some very impressive title defenses, and he was the one to finally end JBL's 9 ½ month reign as WWE Champion. The last time John Cena was cleanly beaten in a match (as in no interference or controversial finishes) was about 7 months ago, when he was pinned by Booker T in one of the Best-of-5-Series matches.

Cons:
1. Wrestling style. Since returning from an absence in November of 2004, Cena's technical wrestling has taken a back-seat to brawling, and this seems to have hurt his long-term value. To maintain his spot at the top of the card, I believe Cena has to regress a bit, back to the caliber of his late 2003 matches, which often stole the show.

2. Mr. Nice Guy effect. The time has come for John Cena's baby face run to come to an end. Cena has been a face since late 2003, and its really starting to get boring. In order to recapture the fire that once burned in him, Cena needs to forget about what the fans want and start worrying about himself.

My Prediction: I see two things happening in Cena's future. First, a series of feuds with opponents whose styles are more technically oriented, such as Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero. This will help Cena to rediscover the technical skill he seems to have forgotten he has. Second, I foresee a HUGE heel turn, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Austin's turn at WrestleMania X-7. Can you imagine the reaction Cena would get by telling the fans that he has just been using them to get to the top" Plus, we might get to see the return of Cena's raps, which were AMAZING when he was a heel.

Analysis: John Cena DOES have what it takes to carry WWE.


RANDY ORTON

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 245 lbs

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Finishing Maneuver: RKO

Career Highlights: Former World Heavyweight Champion, Former Intercontinental Champion

Pros:
1. Good looks. Large portions of the female fan base go to RAW shows to gawk over Orton. Although this has no direct bearing on Orton's future, this does help to boost WWE's numbers, which in turn helps to make Randy Orton look like an even bigger star.

2. Natural heel. Randy Orton was born to play the role of an arrogant, cocky jackass. This makes fans want to see him get his butt kicked, which generates even more revenue for the company.

3. Great finisher. The RKO is one of the most popular finishing moves in the history of the business, due to its unpredictability and its suddenness. It is also a move that can be performed in any number of ways. The original RKO was closer to a bulldog, as Orton would bounce off the ropes for momentum. The "normal" version of the RKO can be hit either as a counter (to just about anything) or after a taunt, or just out of absolutely nowhere, as Orton loves to do. The RKO has also been used as a turnbuckle finisher.

4. Great entrance. Orton's entrance alone can bring a crowd to its feet. From the wall of sparks (which seems to only be used when Orton is a face) to the arrogant pose (which Orton can do either quickly, or completely over the top) to more arrogant posing on the turnbuckles, Orton can either get a crowd excited to see him win a match or get them excited to see him get destroyed by the Undertaker, simply by making his way to the ring.

5. Youth. As the youngest of these three stars (ten years younger than Batista and about 1 ½ years younger than Cena), Orton has the longest potential career, as well as the longest potential reign at the top.

Cons:
1. Immaturity. Orton has already proven that he is very immature for his age, and also lets his success go to his head, as proven in several backstage incidents with the Divas (especially the notorious travel bag incident). Until he grows up a bit, Orton isn't going to be well-received backstage.

2. Injuries. Although Orton has been in this business for less than 3 years, he has already spent no less than nine months on the injured list, first with an injured shoulder received on SmackDown! in late 2002 (before he was traded to RAW), then with a broken foot suffered at a RAW house show in early 2003, and now with another injury to his shoulder. To help solidify his status as a top-tier Superstar, Orton must avoid any further injury for a few years.

My Prediction: Orton has already done all there is to do on RAW, and I think a move to SmackDown! is the best possible thing for him right now. If he gets drafted, he will have a fresh new host of opponents waiting for him when he returns from injury.

Analysis: Randy Orton DOES have what it takes to carry the WWE.


I know that there are other great young Superstars who are going to shape the future of this industry, such as Edge, Christian, and Shelton Benjamin, but these three are the ones who have been most commonly referred to as "the future". In my eyes, only two of them meet the criteria.

by Antonio M. Figueroa ..
Alex Gonzalez wrote:
I have to criticize one major part of your assessment..........Steve Austin did in fact have wrestling skill. He never lacked it, just watch his matches with Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, Triple H.....hell, go back to his Stunning Steve days and you will see a hell of a lot of great technical wrestling. To label Austin as a wrestler that needed his charisma to carry him, your wrong. His charisma made him into a mega-star, but his in-ring talent is what got him to the big dance. He was a great technical wrestler, he just did what few wrestlers could do properly(like Bret Hart) and he mixed a brawling style perfectly with a technical style. I advise you to watch some Austin footage from pre-Invasion and even some matches during Invasion. You will see he was very good in the ring.\
nathan jones wrote:
Hey Antonio, i just wanted to write and tell you that once again, you have written a top caliber column. Continure writing and sending columns in. I look forward to each and every one of them!

Anyhow, I have to stop and wonder, WHY IS CENA THE FUTURE OF SD OR RAW" One problem is that many people have is that they only give "Future Star" status to a very few people....mainly Orton and Cena. I know you may not agree with me on this, but hey, everyone is entitled to thier opinion right" What about Jindrak, Tomko, whose skills are improving, Masters, who is also improving, Dupree, Sylvan Grenier, Conway, and Jordan" You have to admit, all of these guys, whether great right now or not, are probably going to be stars sooner or later. In Tomko and Master's case, people need to quit constantly bashing them. Think back to the early 1990's. A young wrestler, very well built, but also very green, named Jean Paul Levesque, came to the WWF. No body thought he had a chance in hell at becoming the champion. Now, 10 years later, hes a 10 time World Champion. Granted he is the boss's son-in-law, he still is now one of the best workers in the world today. Jordan,Masters,Conway,Dupree,Greinier,and Jindrak all have around 15 to 20 years left in the company if they play it right. Thats plenty of time to get alot better. Tomko, however is a little older, and may need to break away from Christian and start showing what he really can do. I guess what im saying, is that im tired of the constant articles about Cena and Orton. Its time to get back to the real world and realize that others are going to shine aswell, and maybe brighter than Cena or Orton ever will. Its time to give credit where its due. Enought with Cena and Orton, its time to give other guys a chance.
Kyle Kearney wrote:
First of all, Batista is 6'5ft tall, 317lbs. Randy Orton is 6'5ft tall, 250lbs. John Cena is 6'1ft, 245lbs.

I agree that Batista doesn't have what it takes to carry the company, he is nothing but someone who is huge and powerful, his charisma is there only because he is on top, something everyone has when they are on top.

John Cena used to show some talent in wrestling, he used to do the FU really good, but the key word there is used to. In mid-2004 he became alot less appealing to me, he no longer does any of the technical moves he used to do, and the FU is no longer a high powered slam but a drop off, the same move Kurt Angle does on a regular basis, in which the opponent gets straight up.

Randy Orton has fastly become one of my favourite wrestlers, he really shone as a heel and as a face he captures the attention of the crowd, his title reign was too short to put him over as a major player. Sure, he got a clean win over Benoit, but non-feud matches don't usually get as much attention as feuds like HBK vs. HHH etc. I agree with your opinions, John Cena has what it takes if he could get over his recent lazyness and go back to his technical ability which gave him a name.
Brandon Riley wrote:
I can't agree with you more on Cena and Orton! What would be even better is a feud between the two. I can just see them taking each other to the next level! And also, much like Austin/HHH/Rock, they could feud possibly 2 or 3 times with eachother in their career! Batista I think has about 5 years left in him. As a big man using power moves, he is not relying on speed so much, and as long as he can keep his physique he could get by using simply brawling and power moves. But still, he won't be the future of the company. He will be good, but not the figurehead. I wonder after hell in a cell, if Batista would become the future of hardcore"" hes strong, can deal punishment, take it too...besides hardcore matches are based on brawling and powermoves...it would be right up his alley!! Kinda like a better Holly, APA...
Jake Raynor wrote:
good article Ant but you said that you've no idea why Batista is popular. uh" I'm not the biggest Batista fan but can't you remeber Batista powerbombing WWE's most hated heel HHH through a table. Apart from that minor flaw cool article dude.
Tanner A. Gray wrote:
It is obvious that you are not a Batista fan. I think that you are selling him far to short as far as charisma and technical ability goes. It has been said many times that Batista has more wrestling skills than a large majority of wrestlers his size and weight. I have a feeling these skills will come to light when he advances in a fued with somebody other than Triple H, namely Shelton Benjamen or Chris Benoit.

I see Batista's light burning bright for the next 3-5 years. After that, I believe that Orton will recieve the mega push. Cena will continue to please crowds, but I wonder how long it will be before his rapping gimmick grows stale...
Gerard de Jonge wrote:
I can't help but pointing out some factual mistakes in this piece. First off: According to WWE.com, Batista is only 6'5 and Cena is only 6'1. On top of that you're not really on target with the ages: Batista's 39, Cena's 28 and Orton's 25

But now for the opinions. You are way too hard on Batista. No, Batista doesn't have a lot of technical ability, but that isn't a lack of skill in general. There's more to wrestling than the technical side, Batista is what people like to refer to as a powerhouse. The man looks larger than life, he looks like a monster and is booked like that. Would it be logical for him to trade holds and counterholds" I think not. He is a very sound powerhouse and has absolutely no lack of skill in that department. The lack of charisma is ridiculous. Sure, he's not a very good talker, but that's mic-skills. As long as he's kept away from the stick, fans go apeshit for him because he's a big charismatic monster. He's no Rocky, Austin or Hogan, but he's close. Why they were huge draws and he's just a topguy" The ability to talk, but his charisma has nothing to with it, at all. I do agree that he needs a lot of momentum to stay over. Thereby you accused Steve Austin and Scott Steiner of having a pathetic lack of skill, please, watch their earlier work, it's great. And especially Austin was at least decent to good in his most popular days after the neck injury.

Cena, however, you are giving way too much credit. You are giving him credit for charisma, but you seem to be confusing charisma with mic-skills. Cena is in no way, shape or form bland, but his charisma is nowhere near the top of the WWE heap. It's talking that got Cena over and the fact that his fans are under 14 years old that keeps him over. He's got mic-skills, but not a whole lot of charisma. Comparing Cena to Undertaker and Benoit when it comes to storytelling is a slap in the face of those two and Benoit in particular. Cena is one of the worst story-tellers in the current wrestling business. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Benoit, The Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero and Ric Flair are the ones who are great at that, Cena is not. When Cena is facing an opponent that tells a good story, the matches are usually very good, but when he needs to tell the story, it turns into a bedtime story real fast. I do, however, fully agree that he has a ton of potential and needs to turn heel ASAP.

In conclusion I feel that Cena and Orton have what it takes to carry the WWE and Batista should be protected so he can get runs of a couple of months with huge overness. That or a Hulk Hogan-like title reign.

In my opinion the future of the WWE is in the hands of Cena, Orton, Carlito and - I kid you not - Chris Masters.

Carlito is already one of the most over guys in the WWE, without doing a whole lot except talking. He has all the tools to make it as a star: Mic-skills, charisma, he can bump like a king and with a little training he'll probably improve enough to be able to keep a match interesting when it goes longer than 20 minutes.

Now Chris Masters isn't a good worker. Yet. But he is just 22 years old and has already shown a lot of improvement since first debuting. His mic-work isn't all that special yet, but it isn't bad either, in time I could see him becoming really good on the stick. The Masterlock is being booked pretty strong and is already very over. He also has the body.

I think the future is in good hands and we don't have to worry about a thing.
dan b wrote:
r u crazy austin was one of the most skiled workers ever um i think u need to look up some history start with wm 13 where austin had imo the best m,atch of all time i guess u just started watching around 02 when austin sucked due to injuries
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
Batista doesn't need to build any more mic skills or charisma. Don't you know what made Batista popular" It was his original gimmick. A barbaric powerhouse the REAL "animal" was the hit. During 2004, his gimmick was at its best, every time when he would do something impressive like a double clothesline or a spinebuster he would get cheered. Today, Batista has become more "all smiles i have no gimmick" guy. Did you see that scene with Christy Hemme" Is that a fearful "animal" who jokes around with a playboy girl" NOT impressive...boo.

On to John Cena, i think i have expressed my thoughts on him earlier. He does not have what it takes to carry the company. Sure he has charisma like Snitsky got beard but that's not gonna be enough. While in the ring, this guy gets nothing on me anymore...i just sit bored and hope the match is gonna be short. I was his fan during heel reign but now...all downhill

Randy Orton, the REAL future of the company. This guy is SUPPOSE to be heel not face. Just like HBK should be heel but he is not. RKO got impressive in-ring skills and he has the REAL charisma and ability to make others look good. Also i agree with the finisher being one of the bests in the business.

So if i make it plain and simple:

Batista: Get back to your original gimmick!

John Cena: Throw this guy to the dumbster OR make him a heel

Randy Orton:Give this guy more than he got right now. Beating Undertaker would be perfect to him right now! That would give him the same boost as he got when he defeated

Shawn Michaels. Bring Randy Orton to the next level!
FiLiPiNoMiX2oo0 wrote:
You obviously don't know too much about wrestling or else you wouldn't include Stone Cold in your list of wrestlers with no skill. You obviously haven't seen his early days in WCW when he was a great technical wrestler. Or his matches against Bret Hart. Does the "I Quit" Match ring a bell" Or how about his matches against Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in mid 2001" Or how about his match against The Rock at Wrestlemania X7. All those matches have been 5 star, but feel free to be ignorant and include Austin in a list with Goldberg and Scott Steiner. You obviously have no idea what ring psychology is. Feel free to respond.]
Dazz Hetefield wrote:
The guy who wrote this is clearly not a Batista fan. I know plenty of people who prefer Batista over Cena. I think next time we need someone unbiased towards anyone mentioned and is neither fan nor hater of a wrestler to determine this. Perhaps a non-wrestling fan should be made to write about it to get an outside opinion"
Dan Fehler wrote:
Steve Austin was an incredible wrestling talent, technically, in his early uears. Check out his "Stunning" matches in WCW, and his early climb through the WWF. His later matches didn't feature his great moves due to numerous knee and neck injuries. Also, his character dictated a "type" of wrestler: a beer-drinking son-of-a-bitch is not going to win matches with a split-legged moonsault, he's going to kick you in the gut and drop you with a stunner.

I otherwise agree with your analysis of Batista.

My Prediction: I see two things happening in Cena's future. First, a series of feuds with opponents whose styles are more technically oriented, such as Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero. ... Second, I foresee a HUGE heel turn, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Austin's turn at WrestleMania X-7.

Your prediction on Cena is highly suspect. While matches against Angle and Gurrero would be good, feuds would need some tweeking. Angle would need to revert to his "goofy-goody-boy" character for a nice feud, but I think Angle's current sadist bent is still working out. Anyways, Cena is on RAW now, and feuds with Christian, a heel Jericho, Edge, and a returning Orton would work nicely.

A heel turn for Cena would only work if he gives up the rapping. I hate to say it, but Austin's heel turn in '01 was so insignificant I had to look it up to remember it. No one really hated Austin, he just wrestled faces (and made Jericho and Benoit look bad in the process), with no real "turning" on the fans. Then the WCW InVasion happen, and everything reset.

I agree Cena could use a heel turn, but I'd see it more in the mould of the Rock's Corporate Championship at Survivor series '98. The Rock had a face following without really "turning" face, just shedding the last of the Nation of Domination, dropping the IC title to HHH, and beating that annoying nitwit face Ken Shamrock. He cemented his "Top Heel" status with the legendary feud with the lovable Mankind, flowing into his Austin feud, which fell apart with the stupid "Corporate Ministry". If Cena became the "Face of the New Corporation", and stopped cutting his promos, he could be a good heel. But I don't think WWE has the face out there right now to put him over, unless they put Cena vs. Batista.
Mumtaz Yusuf wrote:
First off, check you stats man...john cena 6'4" Batista 6'8" Trust me check any other site including this one. Also, Steve Austin covering his lack of skill with charisma" Check some of his matches as the ringmaster and pre-stonecold..You shall change you mind. Other than that I think you make some points...but just remember nobody thought that stonecold steve austin was goning to become the future until he brought it to everyone's attention. Don't count out Christian..AND yes MUHAMMAD HASSAN.
Brad Dykens wrote:
I'm just guessing, Mr. Figueroa probably got those stats from WWE.com..
Ditto Robertson wrote:
I think you did a good job analyzing these superstars; to a point. You mentioned you don't think Batista has what it takes to carry WWE for too long (which I agree.) But you make him sound like some sort of big, stupid gorilla who doesn't talk properly. Batista doesn't have anything in his arsenal that isn't a slam or a strike of some kind. But, that's one of the things that makes his charecter brutish. How often do you see people like Kane doing headlocks and what not" It gives them the appearance of "I'm gonna rip your f***in' head off" as opposed to "I'm gonna out-wrestle you." He's playing off his size to build his intimidation factor as to follow suit. As for Cena; I gotta say, I love the guy. He's got those mic skills that we haven't seen since Steve Austin. But people; open your eyes and watch his matches! You complain about Batista's arsenal. I think he's got the talent; he could be a great wrestler with a little more expierience. He just needs to keep at it. But, I love his heel raps; I'm sure even Rhey Higgins couldn't argue with the heel Cena. I say make the bad boy badder. And Orton. Well, I more or less agree with you full swing on this one. He's a natural; you can tell wrestling is in his blood. He just needs to stay out of the hospital and grow up a little. One more thing; I couldn't help but notice you put one of Orton's pros under good looks. Yes, this is very true, but lots of women go to see Cena and Batista as well. Listen to the crowd next time Cena takes off his jersey; I'm sure every female in the arena will make herself heard. And Batista" Well, just ask Kirsty Quested about of him.
TheAnimal322 wrote:
how wrong you are- Batista is so much better than cena- i mean Cena has a fireman's carry as a special move & Batista has a Sit down powerbomb- you tell me which is better. I hate Cana but while the World Title was on Raw it was the best title, but now that it's on s.d. it's the lesser of the 2- that shows that nobody who(or what) is put on Raw, it will always be better. I much rather smackdown though!!! & also JBL doesn't deserve the title again- he just had it for 10 months, let batista lose it to someone like christtian, Eddie, or Benoit if he has to. Although with all the HIAC build up, i think batist a should hold the title to atleast summerslam
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