Wrestlemania 35 saw Batista taking on Triple H in what he described as his 'one final match.' This came after a special appearance by the 'Animal' in a one-evening reunion of Evolution some weeks ago. After showering praises on HHH, Batista made an ominous comment saying that Triple H has done everything 'except beat me.'
Fans knew this was a precursor to a Wrestlemania duel between the two. But when did the two wrestlers first turn against each other? Batista was a loyal member of Triple H and had saved him from a tough situation several times.
His feud with Triple H began when WWE decided that it was time to make Batista a headliner in his own right. Here is the sequence of events that led to the materialising of this feud.
Winning 2005 Royal Rumble
This was the moment which signalled Batista's rise to the status of a main-eventer. His victory in the Royal Rumble was going to be a big moment. Batista and John Cena were the two last men left in the ring during the Royal Rumble match. Despite a botched ending, Batista won and earned a title shot at Wrestlemania 21.
Famous thumbs-down gesture
Now the story demanded that Batista pick either John Bradshaw Layfield (champion on Smackdown) or Triple H (title holder on Raw) as his opponent. HHH tried to persuade his Evolution stable-mate to choose JBL instead of him and move to Smackdown.
In a famous Raw segment, Batista was in the ring with Triple H and Ric Flair with two separate contracts in front of him – one to choose JBL and the other to pick Hunter as his opponent. Batista seemingly chose the former and made a thumbs-up sign at his Evolution partners.
Triple H looked thrilled and reciprocated the gesture with great gusto. Then, in one of the most famous scenes in WWE history, the animal slowly turned the thumb down. Triple H was stunned and decided to attack his former teammate only to be beaten up by the latter.
Origin of thumbs-down sign
The thumbs-down signal had great significance. Some months before this incident, while Randy Orton was with Evolution, he won the World Heavyweight Championship by beating Chris Benoit at Summerslam 2004. Next night on Raw, Triple H, Batista and Ric Flair came down to the ring to celebrate Orton retaining the title in a re-match.
Batista hoisted Orton up on his shoulders while Triple H congratulated his younger colleague with the thumbs-up sign. Then, turning his smile into a frown, HHH turned the thumbs down at him. At this sign, Batista delivered an 'electric chair' to Orton which was followed by a beat-down by all three of Orton's Evolution partners.
After next year's Royal Rumble, Batista turned the tables on Hunter. A victory at Wrestlemania for the animal led to a dominant streak where he repeatedly got the better of Triple H – including handing him his first-ever loss in a Hell-in-a-Cell match.
19 years later, the feud has ended. Or has it? Will there be another Triple H-Batista match in future?