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An Evolution Reunion
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The 15th Anniversary of Raw celebration this Monday is expected to bring many surprises, but perhaps none more eyebrow-raising than the reunion of Evolution -- Triple H, Ric Flair, World Heavyweight Champion Batista and WWE Champion Randy Orton.
Evolution was one of the greatest groups of champions in WWE history. The super-group, formed in 2002, was designed for the crÃƒÂ¨me de la crÃƒÂ¨me of sports-entertainment. It represented the best of sports-entertainment's past (legendary 16-time World Champion Flair), present (Triple H) and future (then up-and-coming Orton and Batista). Flair and The Game mentored the Legend Killer and The Animal. Ultimately, the two Evolution alumni showed that they learned their lessons well, with a combined six world championships between them.
As a unit, Evolution often quenched their appetite for gold, at one point holding most of the major championships in WWE: Triple was the World Heavyweight Champion, Orton the Intercontinental Champion and Flair & Batista the World Tag Team Champions. But rivalries over the World Heavyweight Championship ultimately tore Evolution apart. In 2004, shortly after he became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history, Orton was unceremoniously booted out of Evolution. Triple H claimed Orton's time hadn't come yet and defeated the third-generation Superstar for the title. Orton never forgot that. The humiliation of that defeat haunted and fueled him for three years.
Batista left Evolution shortly after he won Royal Rumble in 2005 and decided to challenge The Game for the World Title at WrestleMania 21. The Animal won the gold, and Evolution's glory days as a unit were essentially over.
Since that time, three of the members of Evolution -- Triple H, Batista and the "Nature Boy" -- have remained friends. But Orton's ego has grown out of control as he has "evolved" into a ruthless, yet dominant, WWE Champion. Just a few weeks ago, he leaped at the opportunity to send Flair into retirement after Mr. McMahon issued a "win or retire" ultimatum to "Naitch." And Orton's rivalry with The Cerebral Assassin over the most coveted prize in sports-entertainment was revived for one night at No Mercy in October. Who knows if they have lingering animosity?
What will happen when The Game, The Animal, Nature Boy and the Legend Killer are reunited for a special night celebrating 15 years of Raw? Will they be able to co-exist, especially with Orton involved? Find out this Monday on Raw and celebrate 15 years of greatness in a three-hour spectacular on USA Network, at a special start time of 8/7 CT.