Stables have been a part of wrestling for as long as turnbuckles and 1-2-3 counts. From the Heenan Family and the Four Horsemen in the 80s, to the NWO and D-Generation X in the 90s; stables have helped define the eras in which they existed. Perhaps, the best part about stables is that they consist of, literally, anyone. They can be like-minded individuals who share a common bond like the Hart Foundation or they can be a hodgepodge of people who are nothing alike but have a common goal such as the Corporate Ministry.
Evolution would fall into the former category as the combination of Ric Flair (the past), Triple H (the present) and Randy Orton/Batista (the future) represented the very best of their respective eras. The group was formed in early 2003 and, save for some one night reunions, officially dissolved in 2005. The group may not have had the longevity of some other wrestling stables, but their impact was unquestionable.
Even though Evolution consisted of some of the biggest names in wrestling history; there are many nuggets about the group and its members that even the most-diehard wrestling fans are unaware of. We’ll take a look at some of those as here are the top 20 things you didn’t know about Evolution.
20 The Group Won 9 Championships Among Them
Nine championships might seem like a decade’s worth of work for Ric Flair alone, but nine titles in fewer than three years is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Triple H claimed the World Heavyweight Championship five times while Randy Orton also got in on one reign. Batista and Flair won the World Tag Team Championships twice while Orton also claimed the Intercontinental Championship once.
19 As A Kid, Three People Were Found Dead In Batista’s Front Yard
18 Randy Orton Has Been Suspended 3 Times By The WWE
Orton has lived up to his 'bad boy' rep both in and out of the ring. He was first suspended for 60 days in 2006 for "unprofessional conduct." Orton was caught rolling a blunt backstage at a TV tapings and was reported to management. WWE "covered up" that suspension on TV as an injury knocking Orton out of action. His next suspension came just a few months later in August for a violation of the Wellness Policy. This one was much less visible to the average fan as Orton continued to perform at TV tapings but was removed from house shows for a month. His latest suspension would come in 2012 and it was his second violation of the Wellness Policy.
17 Before There Was The Pedigree, Triple H's Finisher Was An Inverted Indian Deathlock
When Triple H first broke into the business in WCW (shout out to Terra Ryzing), his finishing move was a submission hold instead of The Pedigree. The move can best be described as looking like a one-legged Sharpshooter except with the wrestler on the offensive on their knees instead of squatting on their opponent. Triple H has used it on a couple of occasions in the WWE, usually when he's working the legs of an opponent. Some other WWE wrestlers have also used the move including Summer Rae (seriously!), Charlotte, and Daniel Bryan.
16 Ric Flair Has Inducted 5 Wrestlers Into The WWE Hall Of Fame
You are probably well aware that Flair is the only wrestler to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice: once as an individual and once as a member of the Four Horsemen. But you may not know that Flair has also inducted more people into the Hall of Fame than any other individual. All of those inducted by Flair have been long-time rivals and contemporaries: Harley Race, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and Tatsumi Fujinami (wrestled Flair in WCW and NJPW).
15 Triple H Is Good Friends With Floyd Mayweather Jr.
14 Orton Got Mr. Kennedy Fired For A Botched Move
Remember when Mr./Ken Kennedy was set to be the next big thing in the WWE? Well, that quickly fizzled out and Orton played a role in Kennedy's departure from the company. Orton and Kennedy were in a match together when Kennedy botched a backdrop which led to Orton landing on his head and neck, instead of his back. Orton, as he's known to do, raised a hissy-fit and complained to WWE management.
13 The Group's Original Entrance Theme Was Not By Motorhead
Throughout Evolution's existence, and including their reunions, we've been accustomed to hearing "Line In The Sand" by Motorhead as the group's entrance theme. But that wasn't the first choice and Evolution actually had another theme song during the group's first month together. Their original entrance theme was performed by WWE head composer, Jim Johnston, and the name of the song was "Evolve."
12 WCW Rejected Batista When He Tried Out For Them
The WCW Power Plant was one of the first company-owned wrestling schools. Before OVW and the WWE Performance Center ever existed, WCW’s Power Plant was the premier pro wrestling academy. It produced such stars as The Big Show (The Giant), Diamond Dallas Page, and Goldberg; but one future star it said “No” to was Batista. DeWayne Bruce (AKA Sarge) was one of the trainers at the Power Plant and after seeing a young Batista in the ring there, Sarge told the future champion that he would never make it in the business.
11 Flair's Retirement Storyline Was Steve Austin's Idea
At Wrestlemania XXIV, Shawn Michaels defeated Flair in what was then his final match. The storyline leading up to that match was Mr. McMahon laying down a gauntlet to Flair that his next loss would be his final match. Well, that idea played out beautifully but it wasn't Vince/Mr. McMahon's idea nor Flair's nor Michaels'; it was actually Stone Cold Steve Austin's. The premise came to Austin a year before WrestleMania XXIV and the storyline went into affect about four months before WrestleMania. Flair would rally off victory after victory, before Michaels "put him out of his misery". It was an amazing way for Flair's in-ring career to end.
10 Triple H Created Both NXT And 205 Live
9 Both Of Batista's Royal Rumble Victories Came From The Same Entry Spot
8 All Four Members Of Evolution Have Fallen Victim To 'The Streak'
Six attempts... six failures: Everyone in Evolution has had their "WrestleMania moment" vs. the Undertaker (Triple H had three of them), but all members have come up short vs. The Deadman. They haven't just been run-of-the mill matches either as even with gimmick matches, Evolution failed to topple 'The Streak.'
Flair had a No Disqualification match (10-0) while Triple H had a No Holds Barred match (19-0) and a Hell In A Cell match (20-0). Batista walked into WrestleMania 23 as the World Heavyweight Champion and left as victim #15. Orton wasn't able to add The Undertaker to his list of 'Legends Killed' as he became (un)lucky number 13. Even before the gimmicks, Triple H tried to dethrone 'Taker in his hometown of Houston but couldn't come through at WrestleMania X-Seven.
7 Ric Flair Is the Oldest Title Holder Of 2 WWE Championship Belts
6 The USMC Kept Orton From Starring In The Marine 3
Did you know that instead of The Miz starring in those 'critically-acclaimed' straight-to-video Marine movies, it could have been Orton instead? It actually would have been Orton had not some real life marines said "No way." Orton was set to star in the third instalment of the series until some current members of the USMC not-so-kindly reminded the WWE that Orton was dishonorably discharged during his brief stint with The Corps. Orton joined the USMC fresh out of high school but went AWOL twice and spent 38 days in a military prison.
5 Sable Made Her WWE Debut As Triple H's Valet
Way back in 1996 when Triple H's gimmick was that of a blue-blood, he would be escorted to the ring by a model each night. At WrestleMania XII, that model was Sable, who was at the time married to Marc Mero, but would later marry Brock Lesnar. After losing his match at WrestleMania XII, Triple H blamed his loss on Sable and Marc Mero would then come to the rescue. That would then start a feud between Mero and Triple H while Sable would become even more prominent within the WWE. After dumping Sable as his valet/manager, Triple H would cycle through many different managers including Mr. Perfect and Mr. (Curtis) Hughes before settling on Chyna in 1997.
4 Batista Turned Down An Offer To Appear At WrestleMania 32
Batista last appeared in a WWE ring in June 2014 at an NXT event. He was personally invited back for WrestleMania 32 in 2016 in a role that he would pass on. The role would have been as one of the three "legends" who would come to the ring and clean house of The League of Nations after they declared that no trio would stand a chance against the group. Batista was busy filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and, thus, wasn't able to appear at WrestleMania.
3 Every Member Of Evolution Has Also Been A Part Of Another Stable
2 Evolution Captured Every WWE Championship Except The Cruiserweight Title
At one point, the members of Evolution held every (male) championship on the RAW brand. After Armageddon in 2003, Triple H held the World Heavyweight Title, Orton held the IC Title and Batista/Flair held the Tag Team Titles. However, the one title in which they were eligible to hold, the Cruiserweight Championship, never made its way around one of the Evolution members. The European and Hardcore Championships were unified into the IC title the year before Evolution formed while the ECW Championship wasn't created until the year after Evolution broke up.
1 All Members Of Evolution Have Been Named As PWI's 'Wrestler Of The Year'
Is there another wrestling stable with at least three members that can make the claim that every single member received PWI's highest honor? The four members of Evolution combined to win the 'Wrestler of the Year' award 10 times! Flair won the award a record of six times across NWA, WCW, and WWF. He is also the only three-peat winner (1984-1986). Batista is the only one who won the award as a current member of Evolution (2005) while Triple H would claim the award three years later. Following Triple H, Orton would then win back-to-back awards in 2009 and 2010.
There have been many great factions within pro wrestling, but you would be hard-pressed to find a stable whose talents and accomplishments were as evenly distributed as they were in Evolution.
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