Decked out in expensive shades, apocalyptic tattoos and dressing in slick suits, Batista has
the presence of a World Heavyweight Champion. However, get him angry and you will bare witness to “the Animal”
being unleashed. Projecting incredible intensity and confidence, Batista proved to be a thinking man’s World Heavyweight
Champion. A fearless man of a few words, Batista makes those words count and backs them up in the ring with his raw power,
twisting spines with the Batista Bomb.
Batista’s career took off when he joined Evolution. This move would be a defining moment in
Batista’s career as this is where he met soon-to-be running mates Ric Flair, Triple H, and Randy Orton. The four superstars
would team up to form one of the most dominating groups in wrestling history. Ric Flair played the role of legend, Triple
H the leader, and Batista and Orton as the future stars.
Evolution was all about fine suits, gorgeous women, fast cars, and taking care of business in the
ring. Batista quickly learned from Flair and Triple H, winning the tag titles with Flair in 2003. Despite championship gold,
Evolution began to crumble when Triple H’s jealously over Randy Orton winning the World Heavyweight Championship led
to Orton being dumped from Evolution. Triple H wanted to make a statement that he was the leader of Evolution and no one was
going to take his spot. For Batista, this was a wake-up call. No matter how great he became, he realized, he would always
have a glass ceiling over his head while in Evolution because of Triple H’s obsession with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista stayed loyal, but he remained cautious.
In late 2004, rumors of unrest in Evolution surfaced, and toward the end of the year, tensions between
Batista and Triple H became noticeable to the viewing public. The situation was pushed to the brink when The Game used psychological
warfare to attempt to persuade Royal Rumble Match winner Batista to defect to SmackDown! and challenge for the WWE Championship
— rather than remain on RAW and challenge him for the World Heavyweight Championship.
In resounding fashion, during a contract-signing session, Batista declared that he was staying put
by sending Triple H through a table with a Batista Bomb. He then signed the RAW contract, pitting him against Triple H at
WrestleMania 21. There, he would reach the pinnacle of sports-entertainment — thanks, in a large part, to his ability
to power out of Triple H’s Pedigree finisher attempt.
After WrestleMania, Batista continued his momentum, defeating his rival Triple H in a rematch at
Backlash and in a memorable and bloody Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance 2005. In just his first few months, Batista had done
the impossible by defeating the former World Champion and “Cerebral Assassin” Triple H in three consecutive matches
– something no other Superstar has ever done.
In the summer of 2005, things heated up for Batista when he was selected as the last pick of the
2005 Draft Lottery bringing SmackDown! its champion after WWE Champion John Cena was drafted from SmackDown! to RAW. Unfortunately
for JBL, this came on the heels of what was supposed to be the affluent tycoon’s defining moment as the face of SmackDown!
However, with World Heavyweight Champion Batista on board, the Championship controversy instantly
ended, leaving JBL without the top prize. Over the course of the summer, JBL would go on to target Batista and the World Heavyweight
Championship only for Batista to defeat JBL in a violent No Holds Barred encounter at SummerSlam before his hometown crowd
in Washington, D.C.
Even though Batista was the World Heavyweight Champion, it wasn't enough gold for the Animal. He
teamed up with his friend Rey Mysterio and defeated MNM to become WWE Tag Team Champions. Almost immediately they were embroiled
in an inter-brand rivalry against RAW's World Tag Team Champions Kane & Big Show. The two battled at Armageddon, and Batista
and Rey came up just short.
The pair didn't have much time to lick their wounds as MNM had shot to regain the gold in a
rematch. Batista and Rey looked to have things under control, but with the referee knocked out, the World's Strongest Man
Mark Henry made a shocking return to SmackDown and blindsided the Animal. After the World's Strongest Slam, MNM picked up
the victory and the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Mark Henry instantly became Batista's top priority. The two looked to be on a collision course for
destruction, and that proved to be all too true for Batista. At a live event, Batista suffered a serious triceps injury at
the hands of Henry. The injury required surgery and the Animal was forced to surrender the World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista's surgery was successful, though, and he's already on the road to recovery. Before relinquishing the gold, however,
Batista said that whoever held the title next, would just be holding it until he returned.