Batista to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020
The road to the WWE Hall of Fame was not easy for the man known in the ring as The Animal, as he grew up on the rough streets of Washington, D.C. However, determined to make something of himself, he set his sights on the squared circle. A WCW scout telling Batista he’d never make it as a wrestler only made his resolve stronger. Under the tutelage of WWE Hall of Famer Afa the Wild Samoan, he earned his way into WWE.
Debuting in 2002 as the muscle for Reverend D-Von, Batista soon caught the eye of Triple H and Ric Flair, who each took The Animal under their wing. Their guidance helped launch Batista to squared circle superstardom. The three, along with Randy Orton, were known as Evolution and ran roughshod over Monday Night Raw. The Animal even got his first taste of championship gold, winning the World Tag Team Titles with Flair.
However, Batista’s star would soon become too big to be held down by Triple H, and the titan broke out on his own, winning the 2005 Royal Rumble Match and going on to defeat his mentor in the main event of WrestleMania 21 to become World Heavyweight Champion. It was the start of nearly five years of dominance for The Animal. Whether he was the top dog on SmackDown or Raw, championships were never far from his waist. Batista engaged in classic rivalries with the likes of John Cena, The Undertaker and Randy Orton, among others, cementing himself as one of WWE’s all-time greats in the process.
The Animal left WWE in 2010, but returned to the squared circle in 2014, winning his second Royal Rumble Mach and earning another main event match on The Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania. Batista, Orton and Triple H also reunited Evolution for a pair of epic showdowns with The Shield before making The Animal’s exit that summer.
In addition to his success inside the ring, Batista has also become a bona fide star of the silver screen. The Animal broke out by bringing Drax the Destroyer to life in the hit Marvel movie “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and starred in the film’s sequel, as well as the worldwide smash hit “Avengers” movies. He’s also starred in “Spectre,” the 2015 installment of the James Bond series, “Blade Runner 2049” and “Stuber.”
But for all his Hollywood success, The Animal still had one thing left he wanted to accomplish inside the WWE ring: defeating Triple H at WrestleMania. Batista returned to WWE in February 2019, doing anything he could to get The Game’s attention, vowing to end Triple H’s career. The Animal got his wish at WrestleMania 35, but came up short in a grueling No Holds Barred Match against his one-time mentor. After the match, Batista officially retired from the ring.
For his incredible successes in the squared circle, and crossing over to find stardom in Hollywood, there is no one more deserving of enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Fame than Batista.