How will Batista make his return on Raw?

With Batista scheduled to make his WWE return on Monday night, Sports Mole takes a look at how the "Animal" could mark his first appearance in nearly four years.

After leaving the company in 2010, tonight's edition of Monday Night Raw will see Batista return to WWE ahead of this weekend's Royal Rumble.

"The Animal" has already entered the 30-man, over-the-top-rope match, but what impact will the former world heavyweight champion have just six days before his attempt to secure a spot in the main event at Wrestlemania XXX in April?

The seemingly logical step would be for Batista to make a statement by confronting Alberto Del Rio. The Mexican wrestler hasn't been shy in making derogatory remarks about the returning superstar in recent weeks, and it appears likely that Del Rio will be involved when Batista's music hits this evening.

This is what Batista had to say about Del Rio on January 7:

Another option could see Batista make his intentions known by interrupting any potential confrontation between WWE world heavyweight champion Randy Orton and John Cena, who will face each other in what is a rematch from the 'Tables, Ladders and Chairs' pay-per-view last month.

If Batista is successful in the Royal Rumble match, then the likelihood would be that he would square off with one of Orton or Cena at Wrestlemania, while he already has history with both superstars during his previous stay in the company.

Orton and Batista were once a part of the 'Evolution' stable alongside current COO Triple H, and despite Orton being hand-picked as the "face of the WWE", he has been at odds with HHH and his wife Stephanie McMahon in recent weeks and also suffered a surprise loss to Kofi Kingston last week.

That defeat could have potentially laid the foundations for HHH to have doubts over his chosen titlist, leaving the door open for Batista to turn heel and join forces with 'The Authority'.

The Shield have previously made their presence known when superstars are alone in the ring and it could be no different if Batista opts to make his return with a promo.

It has been teased that Roman Reigns is emerging as the strongest member of the three-man group, and with both men a fan of the spear, maybe the two will lock horns ahead of a potential high-profile bout somewhere down the line.

The experienced star could simply decide to address the live crowd, saving any physical confrontation until Sunday, but however the 45-year-old chooses to return, he cannot wait to try to reach the top of the WWE ladder over the coming months.

You can keep track of the Royal Rumble on Sunday by following Sports Mole's minute-by-minute text coverage of the event in Pittsburgh.

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