Melina v. Batista lawsuit

They say it’s tough being a journalist. “They” being journalists themselves, of course. But I’m here to tell you that being a journalist is incredibly easy.

I know this because I am a journalist, and it’s so easy that, for years, I didn’t even notice I was one.

But it’s true. Right there it is in this Wikipedia article:

And this quote has been there since 2014, so clearly Wikipedia stands by it.

There is one tough part about the journalism biz, though, and that’s getting scooped.

This week’s induction, for example, is not the first journalistic exposé of the subject matter. No, that honor goes to the Chris Hedges 2009 book “Empire of Illusion” (Sami Zayn’s favorite book, by the way).

Perhaps the only Pulitzer Prize winner to publish the words, “Dawn Marie Bytch”, Hedges spends the first sixteen pages detailing some of wrestling’s lurid characters and storylines with surprising accuracy.

For example, his profile of the Big Boss Man includes not only his full ode to the Big Show’s dad and the theft of his casket, but even his brutalization of Nailz during his years as a corrections officer.

Hedges also recaps the opening scene of the 2005 WWE storyline I present to you today:

It’s often embarrassing to read an outsider’s description of what we wrestling fans simply take for granted. Like the bad acting, which just comes with the territory.

So I’ll try to do Mr. Hedges one better by describing the scene in even more detail. Here goes:

On the big screen, a man’s hands rifle through a bag. A gold title belt, or perhaps a large watch, labeled “Batista” clues in fans to the man’s identity. The man has what appear to be worms crawling under the skin of his left arm.

As the camera pans out, fans can see that it is Hollywood actor Dave Bautista, who appears to be completely naked. The fans cheer wildly.

The camera continues to pan out to reveal he is wearing his wrestling trunks. The cheering subsides.

As Batista refreshes himself with a bottle of water, Melina arrives wearing a low-cut top and immediately bends over toward the camera.

Melina: “Hey Batista”

Dave, skeptical: “Melina?”

Melina: “You getting ready for your match?”

Dave, still skeptical: “Yes?”

Melina, fluttering her eyelids conspicuously, despite the fact that Dave cannot see her face: “You know, I don’t normally ever do anything like this, but tonight’s a special occasion”

Dave, skeptically aroused: “Hmm…”

Melina, rubbing Dave’s wormy shoulders: “You see, my boys Mercury and Nitro, they’re excited to have that match tonight against Rey…”

Melina reaches down and grabs Dave’s bosom, half-speaking, half-moaning: “…and the world heavyweight champion.”

Dave, arousedly skeptical: “Mhhmm?”

Melina, holding onto Dave’s hooters for dear life: “But this Sunday, they have a match against the Mexicools…”

[Somehow, Chris Hedges let the word “Mexicools” pass without comment in his book, likely to avoid a lengthy footnote.]

Melina: “And they could really use this time to prepare.”

Melina now looks at Dave: “So if you could… withdraw yourself from the match tonight…”

Melina, thinking: (And insert yourself somewhere else)

Dave: “Mmm… I don’t think so”

Melina, stepping over Dave’s leg: “…I could really make it worth your while”

Dave, in a low growl: “Really?

Melina, straddling Dave’s leg: “Really”

Dave, knowing exactly how she’s gonna to do that: “How are you gonna do that?”

Melina, taking a seat on Dave like he’s a backwards chair and she’s a cool youth pastor trying to “rap” with the youngsters: “Let me show you”

Melina starts kissing Dave, who slings her other leg over his with his firm, muscled hand.

Fans cheer just as loudly as when they first thought Dave was naked.

So enraptured are the two lovers that they temporarily ignore the man with the large camera pointed directly at them.

End scene.

A lot of things arose over the next fifteen minutes, including a problem.

See, Melina, now glistening with sweat, her hair disheveled as she adjusted her bra strap, asked Batista for reassurance that they now “have a deal”.

But Batista still refused to back out of the tag team match, instead thanking Melina for the boost of energy he got from their love-making.

Melina scowled at Batista as Tazz exclaimed, “What a backfire!”

Talk about a bad night. Not only did Melina’s team go on to lose their titles (thanks to Batista’s sex boost), but she’d been dissed.

“She’s been dissed,” said Tazz. “Dissed by Batista.”

But Batista didn’t just diss her, if Melina was to be believed.

The next week, Melina had a special announcement: She was suing Batista for sexual harassment. At least that’s the term she used.

She then described in agonized tones how Batista had forced her into sexual relations, and how she told him to stop but he refused, violating her body.

Melina v. Batista

Uh, that’s not just sexual harassment; that’s the big R.

At first, Batista didn’t sweat the accusations. Look at the source, he said.

In the court of public opinion, and perhaps the court of law, it was her word against his…

… and also the camera man’s who’d been in the locker room filming it (for evidence, I’m sure).

But after Mark Henry showed up on Smackdown to assault Batista and make him lose the tag team titles, Dave realized he was in trouble.

If Mark could cost him a match while the referee was knocked down, imagine what he could do in a courtroom while the judge was in the john or something.

And so Batista, who had been unfazed by Melina’s accusations the week before, called a press conference on the next Smackdown.

There, Batista explained that the intimate encounter was consensual, categorically denying that Melina had told him no and that he’d refused to stop. You know, “sexual harassment”.

In short order, Mark Henry barged in. The World’s Strongest Man condemned the champ for “taking advantage” of Melina…

…then asked Batista to imagine Mark Henry “taking advantage” of him. Uhhhh….

That night, for the third week in a row, Batista and Mysterio faced MNM…

…this time in a steel cage, meaning Mark Henry couldn’t get in. At least, that was the idea until Henry marched down to the ring and…

…couldn’t find a way in. So I guess the steel cage really did work. Great job, everyone!

Now Batista could stop staring Mark down and carry on with his match.

But not really—these failed attempts to break into the cage were just for dramatic effect, building to the moment Mark Henry spotted the locked door.

For any normal man, a locked door is a locked door. But no door could keep out the World’s Strongest Man.

So Mark pulled…

…and pulled…

…and pulled…

…but somebody’d forgotten to gimmick the door so it would pop open.

Meanwhile, Batista just paced around like a moron while everyone else in the ring played dead.

Mark Henry could always, of course, climb over top of the cage. But he just happened to call himself the “World’s Strongest Man”, so there was no way he was going to job to a door.

So instead, he had to break the door’s chain for real

…which took another 40 seconds.

He can still hear you saying he would never break the chain

This whole sequence was cut down to a few seconds in the broadcast version of Smackdown

…and due to kayfabe, they couldn’t even brag about this feat of strength.

Batista, who could have pinned either of his opponents literally fifty times since Mark Henry first came down…

…was shocked at this turn of events.

Dave: “Who are you and how did you get in here?”

Mark: “I’m The World’s Strongest Man… and I’m The World’s Strongest Man.”

Mark then took revenge on the door by snapping it off its hinges and smashing it against Batista.

The next week, the whole lawsuit storyline was dropped. It seems Batista had gotten legitimately injured while wrestling Mark Henry that weekend.

The champ would require surgery, taking him out of action for six months. This was heartbreaking for many reasons.

First of all, if he’d just gone under the knife while Mark Henry tried to open the cage door, he’d have been all healed up by then.

But it also meant he’d have to forfeit his title and back out of his match with Mark Henry at the Royal Rumble.

While Mark would unsuccessfully challenge the cage door for the vacant world title (or something—my memory is fuzzy on this), he’d have to settle things with Batista later.

“Later” was to be that July’s Great American Bash, where Batista and Mark Henry would face off one on one. But a week before that, they’d wrestle on opposing teams on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Take a guess what happened.

Before he could even make contact with Batista, Mark fractured his kneecap, ruptured a tendon, and sidelined himself for another ten months.

Either fans had lost interest in the Mark Henry-Batista feud after a year and a half of delays…

…or WWE feared both men would snap into a million pieces if they ever so much as shared a ring together…

…but Batista and Mark Henry never ended up settling their feud.

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