When Batista made his grand return to WWE, he helped pop a big rating for Monday Night Raw. The live audience within the arena, however, welcomed him back with a lukewarm response at best.
Then, the Royal Rumble.
Batista won, and because he is not Daniel Bryan, the fans in Pittsburgh booed the ever loving shit out of it. That started a trend for fans at following WWE shows: When you see Batista, either boo him or chant for Daniel Bryan or, preferably, both.
That's largely what has happened, to such a degree that Bryan was booked into a WrestleMania 30 match against Triple H that he'll almost surely win before going on to challenge Batista and Randy Orton in the main event for the WWE world heavyweight title.
"The Animal", meanwhile, was forced to turn heel.
During an interview with DC101, Batista talked about all this when the subject of the live audience was brought up and his take on the situation is really something:
"It's really gotten weird, man. The TV audience now, they do things, to me, that just don't make any sense. Like they'll start these chants that have absolutely nothing to do with the show. But they don't do that on house shows, you know, it's different. The best way I can put it is like now our television audience, the people who actually come to the televised show, they used to want to watch the show, they used to want to participate, now it's like they want to be the show. It's just really strange and it doesn't really make sense and sometimes I think they miss out on what's actually happening because they're so concerned about chanting stuff that has something to do with something they read on the Internet or they just want to have a lot more control of the show. I think they're selling themselves short because they're missing out on what's going on.
"It's a whole show that they're missing out on. I love that they love Daniel Bryan, it's great. He deserves all of his success. But at the same time, we can't have 16 segments of Daniel Bryan. They would be getting bored really fast. He's a star on the show, he's going to be out there eventually. If you chant his name through every other match that's going on... it's just... they're missing out."
It's important to note that he's making a sweeping generalization, as though every crowd WWE puts on shows in front of partakes in chanting for things that have nothing to do with what's being presented to them on any given evening. That's simply not the case and, in fact, it doesn't happen nearly as often as he claims.
Batista is also baffled that fans would want to be a part of the show. The reality is the fans are a gigantic part of it, insomuch as they are its backbone. The performers aren't playing to an empty arena; fans pay money to purchase a ticket so they can partake in the night's entertainment.
Yes, that includes chanting if that's what they would like to do.
To the largest point, though, Batista seemingly fails to understand why so many fans have chanted so hard for Daniel Bryan. Sure, everyone could sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, only chanting for Bryan when he's actually on TV. But that wouldn't be a true representation of the shared emotion felt by each one of his supporters, namely that they both love Bryan and hate the system for fucking him over so many times.
You want to talk about controlling the show? Chanting is all we have.
Fans aren't chanting just to chant. They aren't chanting over every match on the card either. They're chanting over matches/segments they don't care about -- a list that sometimes includes Batista -- in favor of someone they do care about, someone WWE, until recently, was holding back from reaching the tip top of the mountain.
You want us to enjoy the rest of the show? Make it better. Don't try to convince us we're selling ourselves short by not fully investing in the experience. That's insulting to the viewer who makes his/her own decision on what he/she is or is not entertained by.
That includes trying to tell us Batista vs. Randy Orton is a better main event for WrestleMania 30 than Daniel Bryan vs. Literally Anyone Else.
We chanted. WWE constantly encourages us to speak out loud and proud, so we did. Our chanting helped us get Bryan vs. Triple H and, most likely, Bryan winning the WWE world heavyweight title at the biggest show of the year. We're going to absolutely eat it up, too, chanting all the way, helping make it a truly special moment.
So I guess all we, as fans, can say to Batista is: