Batista, aka Dave Bautista, may have hung up his pro wrestling boots, but that doesn't mean we can't sit back and appreciate what a great career he had. His time at the top of the mountain in WWE was always fascinating to watch, especially once he ascended to the main event scene—which didn't take long.
The Animal has had a series of fantastic rivals over the years, and we'll take a look at the ten best. It's always important for high-level opposition to test greats such as Batista, and that's exactly what these guys did.
10 Randy Orton
As the two "youngsters" in the Evolution faction, the expectation was that Batista and Randy Orton would go on to do some great things in WWE. However, you could certainly argue that they managed to go above and beyond fans' expectations, even with that reputation.
The two men fought one another in a series of high profile title matches, with Batista usually being the heel. Then at WrestleMania 30, they both featured in the main event of the night, with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship being on the line.
We’ll be the first ones to admit that the actual matches between John Bradshaw Layfield and Batista weren’t the best, but in many ways, that was never the point. These two men’s characters legitimately didn’t like each other, and you could really feel that in the way they went at it during promos.
There was a hard-hitting nature to their encounters which, as you can probably imagine, many fans enjoyed. JBL was nowhere near Batista’s level in a storyline sense though, and that was echoed in the quality of their bouts.
8 Booker T
One of the most fascinating aspects of this rivalry is that, as we all know, it actually spilled out into real life when the two men got into a physical altercation.
Onscreen however, things were equally as enticing. Booker was in his King Booker guise during the majority of the feud, and while it was a little bit cheesy, he worked well as an efficient and believable heel against the big bad babyface Batista.
The matches were passable and there was a genuine dislike between the two men, which is obviously a bonus.
7 The Great Khali
The Great Khali wasn’t all that good outside of just being tall, and we’d be foolish to say otherwise. Alas, even with this being the case, you could argue that Batista was one of the only men capable of dragging a great match out of the big man.
Khali and Batista were two of the biggest men in the company whenever they squared off, and it was intriguing to see The Animal going up against a man that genuinely dwarfed him. Semantics, as ever in wrestling, are important.
6 Rey Mysterio
A lot of fans had been dying for Batista to turn heel and in 2009, he finally snapped and unleashed his fury upon former best friend Rey Mysterio.
The heel turn was great, their matches were enticing, and the David vs Goliath element worked to perfection. Unlike others, we weren’t all too upset or up in arms about the use of Eddie Guerrero’s name in the feud, because it was nowhere near as bad as Randy’s "hell" promo which, ironically, also featured Rey.
Whatever the case may be, these two were fun together.
5 Daniel Bryan
The fantasy booking fan in us is putting this one in here, mainly because we’re stubborn and we really, really want to see Daniel Bryan and Batista square off in a one-on-one match. It’s what should’ve happened in the aftermath of WrestleMania 30, but for whatever reason, it didn’t.
When they did interact though, it was always really fun to see what they produced together. Bryan was the man we all wanted and Batista was in a lose-lose position but still managed to make the best of it.
4 John Cena
You could put Cena in here for their SummerSlam match and Royal Rumble drama alone, but in 2010, the Doctor of Thuganomics secured his position as one of Batista’s greatest rivals with that magnificent feud leading up to WrestleMania 26.
These two men were the faces of the company from 2005 all the way up to the big show in the desert. Batista played his heel role to perfection, and while many fans were upset to see Cena get the win, it was a good enough match to make people forget about the result in the long run.
3 Eddie Guerrero
Psychology is important in this business, and the rivalry between Eddie Guerrero and Batista had a bunch of that. Eddie was in the final few months of not only his career but his life, and yet, he was still consistently producing some of the best work on the main roster.
The lack of trust between the two men during their "friendship" made for some must-watch television, with nobody being all too sure as to whether or not Eddie would turn on his pal.
Oh, and the World Heavyweight Championship was involved, too.
2 Triple H
Triple H brought Batista into the limelight as part of Evolution and The Animal will likely never be able to repay him. In equal measure, The Game also took him out and brought his career to an end at WrestleMania 35.
We think the fact that HHH felt the need to get one over on Big Dave kind of sours the impact of their rivalry from a "legacy" point of view, but when you look at the bigger picture, their rivalry leading up to WrestleMania 21 was nothing short of spectacular.
1 The Undertaker
It was impossible for The Undertaker and Batista to have a bad match with one another, and you could always sense how much they loved working together on the big stage, too.
The story was simple: two big guys wanting to prove that they’re the very best. At WrestleMania 23, we still maintain they had the match of the night, and for the following year they tore the house down on multiple occasions.
The Deadman is Batista’s greatest rival, and in our mind, always will be.