Evolution may be a mystery, but the animosity between Triple Hand Batista is anything but. After a decade-and-a-half of underlying and ever-obvious tension, and, more recently, weeks of severe personal animosity, The Game and The Animal will collide at WrestleMania for the second time in their storied careers, this time in a No Holds Barred Match. If Triple H loses, he will be forced to retire from in-ring competition.
Even though their brutal rivalry culminated in 2005, it’s always been a poorly kept secret that there’s no love lost between The Cerebral Assassin and “The Guardians of The Galaxy” star. Smiles quickly turned to scowls during an Evolution reunion on SmackDown 1000 last October when Batista called out Triple H on his less-than-stellar win/loss record against The Animal, and things got frosty quick between the two alpha males. Cooler heads prevailed that night, but it was incredibly clear that the issues that have persisted between the two since WrestleMania 21 were still very much alive.
The conflict entered a new stratosphere on the Feb. 25 edition of Raw. What was supposed to be Ric Flair’s 70th birthday celebration became a statement on the part of The Animal. Feeling as though Triple H wasn’t taking him seriously over recent months, Batista viciously attacked Flair (a man he has often cited as his mentor) in his locker room, leaving “The Nature Boy” in a crumbled heap and bluntly asking Triple H if he had his attention yet.
The Game retorted the following week, castigating Batista’s name and character and insisting that he was a quitter. The Animal seemed unphased by Triple H’s decree though, remaining focused on his sole objective: one last match with Triple H. Batista got what he wanted, but it will be on The Game’s terms.
And so, it will happen. There will be a rare WrestleMania rematch, as these two former friends and Evolution running buddies will face off with matters as personal as they have ever been. At WrestleMania 21, the World Heavyweight Championship was the prize as they squared off; 14 years later, it’s strictly about pride.
But then, two weeks out from The Showcase of the Immortals, the wrinkles just keep on coming. In his latest power play to turn the situation to his advantage, The Animal got litigious on The Game, delivering a letter from his lawyers threatening to bail on the match unless Triple H agreed to put his career on the line. Triple H accepted — though, as the 14-time World Champion pointed out, his decision to do so may have come as a bigger surprise to Batista than anyone else.
Find out who prevails when Triple H and Batista collide at WrestleMania 35, streaming live on the award-winning WWE Network on Sunday, April 7!