Ask a ton of fans who you think the greatest wrestlers are: Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and other names will often be brought up. Sadly, we live in a world where plenty of ignorance arises. And by that, I mean people who refuse to recognize the talents of Batista.
The Animal has drawn a ton of criticism over the years for not being that great of a wrestler. People point out his so-called "poor in-ring skills," and inability to be much of a character. Well, I grew up idolizing Batista. He's one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, and I'm on a mission to show the world how we've been overlooking his talents for far too long.
Not gonna lie, I did try to go on a minor campaign where I encouraged a friend to join me in a movement to show how great Batista isn't. News flash: It didn't work. And that brought me here.
Here's a look at 15 reasons why you love Batista more than you think!
15 The Enforcer of Evolution
Every successful wrestling faction needs to have that one tough guy. Think about it, if four Cruiserweight wrestlers form an alliance and dominate the WWE, it would not make much sense. But for Evolution, they had a man standing at a billed height of 6-6 and weighing 300 pounds. Batista was a freak of nature and he gave the Evolution stable a form of realism.
That's because other wrestlers who would feud with Triple H had to get through The Animal. Batista kept the faction together by going after guys like Kane, Edge, Chris Jericho, and even Goldberg. It made the group look more dominant and successful. Without Batista, Evolution would have been cool, but not as awesome.
You can't spell Evolution without Batista. And you can't teach that.
14 He Broke Up Evolution in Epic Fashion
You see, the New World Order didn't have a formal breakup. They just kept dividing, then reuniting over-and-over again until the company sunk for good. D-Generation X's first formation also didn't have much of a formal breakup that can scream epic. But when it comes to Evolution, Batista exited the group in memorable fashion.
I remember being a nine-year-old kid when this happened. The writing was on the wall for Batista to end his allegiance to The Game, but part of you figured he would just go and face John Bradshaw Layfield on SmackDown. Then, Batista turned his thumbs down, attacked Ric Flair and Triple H, Powerbombed The Game through the table and signed his contract to stay on Raw.
I went so crazy, I remember putting it on my MSN status. The greatest stable of the Ruthless Aggression Era ended when The Animal chose to destroy it. It started out strong and finished strong during its original run. You should love Batista for that.
13 He Beat John Cena in the 2005 Royal Rumble
Your's truly also remembers going to the theatres to watch the 2005 Royal Rumble. I remember cheering so hard for Batista to beat John Cena at the end, because I knew it would mean betraying Triple H at some point. Think about it, what good would it have been for Cena to win?
Cena was already getting over with the crowd and had his WrestleMania moment when he ended JBL's nine-month WWE Championship reign. It would have made no difference if he had won the Royal Rumble. But Batista needed this win more than ever to cement himself as a big star.
Thankfully, he was the one who stood tall (literally and figuratively) by eliminating Cena last. Eleven years later, and so many fans from the Ruthless Aggression Era have lost their love of Cena. Isn't it somewhat fun to go back and see The Animal eliminate him and show John Cena that the former's time was now?
12 Defends His Family and Friends
Depending on what side of Batista you hear about, he is a better person than you think. Sure, he was very rude to the crowd at the 2014 Royal Rumble. But he's done a lot of good things. He even retweeted my tweet at him four years ago. Great guy.
But Batista also has no tolerance for bullies and jerks in life. He called out Manny Pacquiao for anti-gay comments. He called Pacquiao a bleeping idiot and that it "wasn't funny." This is because Batista's mother is a lesbian, and The Animal was quick to defend his mother.
Also, Batista was bothered by Vince McMahon suspending Titus O'Neil over a playful shove a number of months ago. Batista accused McMahon of overreacting and suggested O'Neil quit. Maybe you don't agree with any thing Batista said in those two situations, but you have to credit him for willingly defending his family and friends' honors.
11 First to Beat Triple H inside a Hell in a Cell
You won't here too many names of people who don't respect Triple H, but when you were a kid, you definitely disliked him since he was one of the greatest bad guys ever. So with that, let's remind you of what happened at the 2005 edition of Vengeance.
Batista and Triple H decided that their rivalry would end after this match. The two fought inside a Hell in a Cell with the championship on the line. Batista ended a storied rivalry by becoming the first guy to pin The Game inside a Hell in a Cell. Batista was officially emerging as one of the company's top stars, while Triple H would take a number of months off television.
For you children who hated The Game, this was a joy to see Triple H finally lose inside the cage where he had made his legacy. Batista also made significant history in this match, so you true WWE fans would RESPECT THAT!
10 His Persona Pumped You Up
When you were a child, Hulk Hogan used to pump you up with his "WELL 'YA KNOW SOMETHING MEAN GENE....THAT'S WHAT I HAVE TO SAY BROTHER!"
Then Ric Flair began to pump people up with his "I'm the limousine ridin,' jet flyin,' kiss stealin,' wheelin dealin,' son of a gun," promos. Then, there was a bit of a drop off between wrestlers whose promos pumped you up so much. Then, this man from Washington, D.C. named Batista stepped into the ring and became one of the best wrestlers to ever pump up the crowd.
When he did his intros, he'd have fireworks shooting off while he fist pumped. Before he delivered a Batista Bomb, he'd do an angry face, turn his thumbs down and shake the rope screaming.
And if that doesn't pump you up before you lift weights at the gym, what will?
9 Rivalry with The Undertaker
We WWE fans love the storylines, but I'm going to guess that Ric Flair would never beat 90 percent of opponents he faced in the ring. There is no way he would beat Triple H in a Steel Cage, go toe-to-toe with Hulk Hogan or come close to beating Shawn Michaels. There's no way Rey Mysterio would beat the Big show.
And there's certainly no way Eugene would be able to beat up Batista, Ric Flair, and Triple H all at once. But when it comes to Batista's rivalry with The Undertaker, you feel that "real" element.
The Undertaker and Batista (both over 300 pounds at their peaks) are two massive giants in their own ways. 'Taker simply has a massive stature, while Batista has more muscles than Fort Knox has gold. They had a pair of incredible feuds, including a World title match at WrestleMania 23 won by The Phenom. That rivalry went on for a number of months before ending at Survivor Series. In late 2009, they had another epic rivalry, with 'Taker winning a Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
You just simply felt the rivalry was real, given both men were massive giants in their own ways.
8 Put SOME Wrestlers Over
Hulk Hogan refused to put most wrestlers over. Triple H wouldn't let CM Punk become the WWE's top guy and he was no fan of Rob Van Dam. However, Batista was more of a team sport when the time came.
He had an entertaining rivalry with Mark Henry, who was built as one of the rare Superstars who could actually destroy The Animal. Henry had the massive stature, but wasn't much of a main event guy until Batista worked with him.
With The Undertaker not being able to help The Great Khali get over, Batista at least tried when they engaged in a rivalry for the title. Batista also had no problem losing to even bigger stars like John Cena or The Undertaker. H e was willingly to work with the business when needed.
Oh yeah, didn't he help put The Shield over by returning just to basically lose to Daniel Bryan and those three guys? What a beauty of a person.
7 Top-Notch Heel
Though Batista had some nice moments as a face, he was much better as a heel. He even talked about how bad of an idea it was to have him return as a portrayed face in 2014. Batista said he loved being the heel more, and we tend to agree.
He was great in making fans love Rey Mysterio, Eugene, Edge, and Daniel Bryan more. It was so easy for his meathead character to come out on the mic and just insult the crowd and put down their favorite wrestlers. He successfully portrayed a giant beast that just came to the WWE for money. He also came off as an incredibly selfish wrestler, hence his vicious attack on Mysterio at Survivor Series 2009 when the former prevented him from winning the title in a Fatal Four-Way match.
Batista's character just made him an excellent heel. People loved hating on him because of his arrogance. He just relished the heel so well.
6 His Segments/Promos
Oh man, where do we start?
When Batista was with Evolution, he always cut great segments backstage with Triple H. He did an excellent job in hinting that he would leave the group, and it always left fans mysterious as to what would happen next. Sure enough, he'd end up coming right back to Triple H and show his allegiance once again.
But man, we can go on about Batista's other great promos. Remember when John Cena beat him an I Quit match back in 2010? Batista came out in a wheel chair and scolded Bret Hart (GM at the time of Raw) for putting him in a match that night. Batista got so mad that he quit the company.
Batista's departure in 2014 was also great; Triple H refused to give him the title shot so he walked out. The promos were hilarious! I'm ashamed to this day that the fans cheered on both occasions when he said on Raw that he was leaving.
The loss of a legend in the WWE--we haven't seen anyone like it.
5 Two-Time Royal Rumble Winner
Only six men in the history of the WWE have won multiple Royal Rumbles: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and another WWE icon.
His name is not The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Edge, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, The Ultimate Warrior or Kevin Nash. Why, the name is Dave "The Animal" Batista.
He won the Royal Rumble in 2005, as we talked about earlier. He also won the 2014 Royal Rumble. I remain somewhat disappointed to this day how many people booed him for winning. Yes, Daniel Bryan was the WWE's most beloved star and should have returned and won that match.
But I don't see Bryan as the man who broke up Evolution. Batista deserved more respect from some of the fans for winning the Royal Rumble. He took time off of Hollywood to win that match, and I was very upset to see fans turn on him.
Look at that: The fans basically forced him to leave the company. Again. Roman Reigns was your compensation. Are you happy now?
4 Underrated in the Ring
Many fans talk about how Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Big Show, Ric Flair, and Goldberg were not "great" wrestlers. In fact, many use the word "terrible," to describe their feelings towards these icons. Oh, and they throw in Batista's name too.
Well, I'm not going to hear it any more. I am not interested. The Animal was actually one of the more entertaining Superstars to watch in the ring. He headlined WrestleMania against Triple H and put on epic matches against The Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Batista isn't high-flying like A.J. Styles, he's not as athletic as Roman Reigns and he's definitely not a man-destroying monster like Brock Lesnar. But Batista's enormous stature, strength, and energy allowed him to put on some excellent matches.
Too bad so many people refuse to recognize it, though.
3 Carried Others' Legacies
Look at some of the greatest wrestlers ever. They needed each other in order to flourish. Would Randy Savage be so iconic without his feud with Hulk Hogan? No. Where would The Four Horsemen be without each other? Would Shawn Michaels and Triple H be as iconic if they didn't form D-Generation X?
Wrestlers need each other to cement legacies, and Batista did that for a number of wrestlers. He made Triple H's that much sweeter by forming Evolution with him. Their betrayal of Randy Orton also helped the latter get over with the crowd.
Batista was part of The Undertaker's WrestleMania legacy by losing a match to him on the grandest stage. He helped Mark Henry get over. He tapped out to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX to give Bryan his greatest moment ever. And yet, Batista is overrated to some?
2 Even the Critics Like Him
So Batista wasn't a great champion, failed to deliver iconic matches, and didn't deserve to go over? Well, if you wanna hear what I have to say, Mean Gene, then you better listen up!
First off, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him the Most Improved Wrestler of the Year in 2005, when he won the Royal Rumble, destroyed Evolution, and became the World Heavyweight Champion. They also named him Wrestler of the Year -- that's quite impressive.
And as for Wrestling Observer Newsletter? His rivalry with Triple H in 2005 was named Feud of the Year. His feud with The Undertaker in 2007 was also named Feud of the Year.
The historians and journalists who dedicate their lives to studying wrestling and reporting on it have to know a thing or two if they want to be relevant. And they are. They believed Batista put on great matches and was a great wrestler, so it's time to ignore the hate towards The Animal.
1 All that Glitters is Gold
Sports fans like to judge athletes by how many championships they have. Michael Jordan's six championship rings mean the majority of pundits will tell you he's greater than Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
It's a different case in the WWE, where some of the greatest never win a major title (Scott Hall, anyone?)
But any wrestler who wins a major championship (or even multiple ones) are showing that they're doing something right, and that's what Batista did. He's a four-time World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWE Champion and has carried four Tag Team Championship belts. It seems to me like only a terrible and boring wrestler wouldn't find his way into winning so many championships. Batista's championship belts show how much he did and meant for the company.
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