When Batista returned to WWE this year just one week before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) on Monday Night Raw, he was met with a mixed reaction. Any wrestler who leaves for four years and comes back will be cheered upon arrival, and "The Animal" was no different, but it's the weeks after that really tell the tale.
And in the weeks after, he was consistently booed out of the building, including after his Royal Rumble win (the fans wanted Daniel Bryan and revolted when they didn't get him).
Now, in an interview with WWE.com, Batista reveals he took the backlash personally:
"It was weird. It wasn't like a normal response. It was almost like a personal attack. It had to do with factors that were not in my control, factors and things that were going on in the company with other people, stuff that really had nothing to do with me. To me, it was a little frustrating, a little confusing, and, you know, I don't want to say I completely took it personal, but I did somewhat.
"What I heard over and over was, 'Batista doesn't deserve this,' and that's what I took personally, because it's like they forgot about my 10 years of pain and suffering and sacrifice. When I left the company, I gave plenty of notice, I left the right way, I did everything right. And also, my very last match, I broke my back. So I literally broke my back for the fans. And for me to come back and for them to say that I didn't deserve the spot that I was being put in? For one thing, I didn't ask for that spot. And here's my thing with wrestling, and I tell this to everybody: If you get an opportunity, take the opportunity, and if you pass it up, you're a fool. And if you hate on a guy just because he's taking advantage of an opportunity that's given to him, then you're an idiot."
It's an understandable position if only because it did seem as though Batista was getting unnecessary hate just for the fact that WWE was pushing him over Daniel Bryan. When that changed, however, folks eased off the gas pedal, maybe in part because they turned him heel and it was open season from there.
It's also interesting to note that in the full interview (you really should go read it here) he speaks as though he legitimately quit the company (he didn't, of course) but hopes to be able to come back someday soon because he thinks he has a lot of good matches left.
As for who he wants to work with:
"Right off the top of my head, Bray Wyatt. Love him. Of course, Roman Reigns. Ambrose, I love Dean Ambrose. I think they need to elevate him a little bit. I'd like to see him in more singles matches. Daniel Bryan. I'd like a long-term rivalry with Daniel Bryan. And, of course, Triple H. I've said for years and years, I want to go back to WrestleMania with Triple H. I'd like to be that my retirement match."
Again, go check out the interview here.