Batista, the legendary 6-time World Champion and Hollywood star, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020. He will take his place in sports-entertainment history during the 2020 Induction Ceremony on Thursday, April 2, at the Amalie Arena during “WrestleMania 36” Week in Tampa Bay, Florida. News of his induction was broken by People Magazine.

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 3, 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 Match 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 instalment 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 gruelling 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. The 2020 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 2 during “WrestleMania 36” Week. 

This long announcement by WWE perfectly describes the unusual path of Batista in the business. He has never hidden how difficult his childhood was and how influential body-building has been on his life. His dream was not to become a wrestler but to make sure he could provide for his own family, as he was a father of 2 before 25. So until the age of 30, Batista was a bouncer and a bodybuilder.

When he did his tryout with WCW, Batista was 30, which is quite old to make a debut in this business. WWF quickly understood what WCW was not able to see and signed him. Batista made his debut with OVW at the same time than Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar or John Cena.

If he caught the eye of Triple H and Ric Flair, and also the fans, it’s because Batista was not like any other wrestler. He was The Genetic Freak, this non-stop, unapologetic, strong and destructive machine. He was extremely good and people noticed it quickly.

Because he went through a lot personally, Batista has never taken anything for granted. His tears when he won the World Heavyweight Champion in 2005 at WrestleMania 21 were not fake. The 2 thrilling rematches between Batista and Triple H at Backlash and Vengeance, into Hell in a Cell, gave birth to an Animal. Some of you would remember Jim Ross yelling, “The Beast has been unleashed!”

The dream derailed a few months after with the death of Eddie Guerrero, with whom he was feuding the months before and he had become one of the best friends. One again, his tears were not fake that night when we were all mourning Guerrero. He would later team up with Rey Mysterio, who has also become one of his closest friends, to become Tag Team Champions. By the end of 2005, Batista was a double Champion, the leader of the company. But on the very first days of 2006, Batista tore his triceps, which was not the first time, and was forced to vacate the title.

From 2006 to 2010, he had feuded with the best the company could put on his way, John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, Kane, Mark Henry, The Big Show, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, among many others. When he left the company in 2010, due to a neck issue, he was a 4-time World Heavyweight Champion, 3-time World Tag Team Championship, 2-time WWE Champion, one-time WWE Tag Team Champion and one-time Royal Rumble winner.

After an MMA attempt, Batista became a movie star and no one was expecting him to come back in 2014 and win a second Royal Rumble. He failed to become World Champion again, took part in the  Evolution comeback, but left a few months after to come back to the movie industry. After one last match at WrestleMania 35 against Triple H, Batista announced his retirement as his acting career is just exploding.

When Batista says to People Magazine, “I don’t think that they’ll really appreciate how grateful I am,” about WWE and the fans, it’s even more understandable when you know how the company, the wrestlers and the support of the fans, in a way, saved his life and have made of him a better person, a man he probably never thought he would have become.

All pics courtesy of WWE

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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