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.
The first WWE championships that Orton and Batista would ever win would be with Evolution while one of the last title reigns of Flair’s historic career also came within this group. Add in Batista’s Royal Rumble win in 2005 and the group’s accomplishments can go toe-to-toe with any other group’s. This group essentially dominated the RAW brand prior to their split, with Orton first being kicked out in '04, then Batista leaving to dethrone Triple H in '05.
19 As A Kid, Three People Were Found Dead In Batista’s Front Yard
Batista was born in Washington D.C. and lived his early childhood in the area. In the 1990s D.C. was described as the “murder capital of the United States” and it wasn’t much different back in the 70s when Batista was a child. The first two people to be found dead on his property apparently didn’t affect Batista or his mother much, but the third one was the straw that broke the camel’s back. A man was shot in the head near his home and a subsequent call to police proved to be worthless. It took the D.C. police over an hour to respond to the scene and Batista’s mother knew that her family needed a change of location. The family soon packed up and relocated to the San Francisco area before Batista eventually made his way back to the East Coast and suburban Virginia.
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.
Orton would be suspended for 60 days and was removed from a storyline that had him competing for the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton will be at two strikes for the rest of his tenure in the WWE and a third strike would have his contract terminated.
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.
Triple H also used a neckbreaker as a finisher when he debuted in the WWE. However, Diamond Dallas Page (who was in WCW) politely called him and asked him not to use that move because it looked too much like the Diamond Cutter. Hunter, not wanting to copy someone else's moves, agreed and ended up changing his finisher to The Pedigree.
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).
Perhaps Flair can make even more history as the only three-time inductee if Evolution gets the call to the hall (and seeing how Triple H is in charge, there’s a good chance that will be happening). You also can't rule out Flair inducting more wrestlers into the hall as the years go by.
15 Triple H Is Good Friends With Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Wrestling fans are aware of Mayweather's relationship with the WWE: he appeared in a segment at the No Way Out PPV, he "wrestled" The Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV, and he guest hosted Raw in 2009. But Mayweather's relationship with Triple H goes beyond the ring. Mayweather invited Triple H to watch him train in Las Vegas and Triple H even cut a promo at the weigh-in between Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009. Hunter also joined the likes of Justin Bieber and 50 Cent among those who has accompanied Money Mayweather to the ring for one of his bouts. Stephanie McMahon even got into the action as she and Triple H were spotted in the audience rooting Mayweather on in his fight vs. Roberto Guerrero.
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.
Legend also has it that Orton complained about Kennedy to John Cena who might have more power than anyone in WWE who's not a McMahon or married to one. Apparently Orton got enough people on his side which led to the company parting ways with Kennedy in mid-2009. Triple H must have taught him a thing or two about politics.
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."
Motorhead would take over shortly thereafter reuniting Triple H with the band that performed his entrance theme as a singles wrestler. When Motorhead's lead singer, Lemmy, passed away in 2015; Triple H was one of the speakers at his funeral. I think we can all agree that Motorhead and Triple H went hand in hand as far as wrestling themes go.
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.
Well one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and Batista soon called up the WWE who welcomed him with open arms. He was then sent to train with Afa Anoa’i of the legendary Anoa’i wrestling family and that was parlayed into an invitation to OVW and the rest is history.
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.
If Stone Cold wasn't tied up with his podcast and the Broken Skull Ranch, it sounds like he's make a pretty good member of the WWE booking team.
10 Triple H Created Both NXT And 205 Live
For all of the flack that the smarks give Triple H for including himself too much in storylines; you have to give the man credit for two of the biggest WWE innovations in recent memory. It was Hunter's idea to centralize all of WWE's developmental promotions in 2012 and that centralized location would become WWE NXT. What was once seen as only a developmental division has now become essentially WWE's third brand behind Raw and SmackDown. 205 Live is also the brainchild of Hunter as he wanted cruiserweights to have their own stage to showcase their skills. Originally seen as just a weekly series on the WWE Network, the show has now crossed over into the main brands as well. Who would have ever imagined that a bunch of 200 pound wrestlers would be given this much air time on WWE programming? This would likely never have come into fruition if Vince McMahon was solely calling the shots so we have to tip our hat to Triple H.
9 Both Of Batista's Royal Rumble Victories Came From The Same Entry Spot
While with Evolution in 2005, Batista claimed his first Royal Rumble victory from the #28 spot. Nine years later in 2014, Batista would win his second Royal Rumble, also from the #28 spot. There have been 7 multi-time winners of the event, but Batista is the only one who’s won twice from the same spot. Also, prior to Triple H winning in 2016 (he also won in 2002), Batista held the record for the most years in between Royal Rumble victories (9 years). Batista had mixed results after the Royal Rumble as he split his ensuing championships matches at Wrestlemania. He would win the World Heavyweight Championship after winning the Rumble in 2005 but would lose a triple-threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title in 2014.
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.
Now if Triple H had picked Brock Lesnar to be a part of Evolution...
7 Ric Flair Is the Oldest Title Holder Of 2 WWE Championship Belts
Born in 1949, Flair is just four years younger than Vince McMahon and didn't debut in the then-WWE until he was 42 years old. After returning to the company in 2001, he would become the oldest Intercontinental Championship holder at the age of 56 in 2005. The man he defeated for the title, Carlito, was 30 years younger than Flair. About one year later, Flair would capture the last title of his magnificent career and become the oldest holder of a Tag Team Title as he would win one alongside Roddy Piper. That match had to feature the largest difference in ages between two teams as the reigning champions, Nicky and Mike of the Spirit Squad, were a combined 43 years old while Flair and Piper were a combined 109 years old!
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.
WWE has always had a good relationship with the military so they saw the error in their ways and quickly replaced Orton with The Miz. Miz has since gone on to star in several Marine films.
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.
Still, it's an interesting tidbit that Sable's debut is mostly forgotten, given she was only with Hunter for a brief period.
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.
It's unknown if he even wanted to appear if he had free time given the icy relationship he has with the WWE. The three legends who did eventually confront the League of Nations were Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
3 Every Member Of Evolution Has Also Been A Part Of Another Stable
Did you know Ric Flair was a part of the Four Horsemen and Triple H was part of D-X!?! Okay, you already knew that but elder half of Evolution were also parts of other wrestling factions. Flair was also a part of the stables, Fortune and Immortal, during his short run in TNA while Triple H was (briefly) a part of The Corporation and was recently the head of The Authority. Both Orton and Batista also served time as members of The Authority; thus Flair is the only member of Evolution who has not also been in The Authority. Orton also created Legacy along with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr., and most recently, was a part of the Wyatt Family prior to WrestleMania 33.
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.
This was absolute dominance on the RAW brand, and one can only wonder if WWE ever considered adding a female member to the group so they could add the extra title. In any event, we've yet to see a WWE faction collectively dominate the title scene simultaneously quite like Evolution.
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.