Dave Bautista wrestled at WrestleMania 35, and announced his retirement from pro wrestling shortly after losing to Triple H.
At WrestleMania 36, the man known to WWE fans as Batista will walk out on stage and wave to the crowd as a member of the Hall of Fame.
In a change from their usual strategy of doling them out one at a time, WWE today released the top names being inducted in their 2020 Hall of Fame class. ESPN got the scoop about the nWo, People broke the news about Bautista.
Part of the storied OVW developmental group which included John Cena and Brock Lesnar, the six-time WWE World champion debuted on SmackDown in the early part of this century as an enforcer for D-Von Dudley’s solo act. He then rose to fame teaming with Triple H, Randy Orton, and Ric Flair as Evolution on Raw. The Animal broke out as a babyface singles star when he rebelled against The Game and used his 2005 Royal Rumble win to challenge him for the World Heavyweight title.
Bautista left WWE in 2010 to pursue acting and mixed martial arts, although he would later say it was also because he was frustrated with the company’s creative direction. He returned in late 2013 and won his second Royal Rumble in 2014, and eventually settled into a heel character that was instrumental in both Daniel Bryan’s YES! Movement story and putting over The Shield. But frustration with how WWE initially insisted on pushing him as a babyface and the need to promote what would be his breakout Hollywood role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy led to him again departing shortly after WrestleMania 30.
Now, following a brief return last spring for the program with Hunter that set-up what he always said would be his final match, Big Dave walks alone into the Hall of Fame.
Well, not exactly alone. He and a nWo group consisting of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Sean Waltman will be inducted on Thurs., April 2 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
WWE’s press release announcing the first 2020 inductees is here.