After WWE WrestleMania 35 went off the air, Batista officially announced his retirement and that his match with Triple H will be his last professional wrestling match.
Batista leaves behind a legacy in the wrestling business that dates all the way back to 1999. He signed with WWE in 2002 and debuted on television as a bodyguard for Reverend D-Von – who, ironically wrestled Triple H in Batista’s debut – under the name of Deacon Batista. As it turned out, Batista wound up doing far more in his career than anyone would have expected from seeing him carry around a collection plate.
Less than a year later, Batista would rebrand himself as The Animal and align himself with Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton. Together, they were Evolution and the success of this powerhouse stable did a lot to progress the evolution of Dave Bautista. After a couple years of building him up as a credible challenger, he won the Royal Rumble and then dethroned his Evolution mentor to win the coveted World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21.
In the later years, The Animal went on to win five more World Titles, another Royal Rumble and headlined one more Mania event. As if the wrestling side of his life was not impressive enough, he went on to conquer everyone as the star of the multi-million dollar Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, which in turn is part of Hollywood’s highest grossing franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
All things considered after 20 years in this business, Big Dave did good for himself. Now is as good a time as ever to take a look at his illustrious career by breaking down 20 years into just 10 incredible and unforgettable moments.