With Stephanie McMahon at his side, Triple H laid out the stakes of the Royal Rumble match. He then introduced Batista, but it was Randy Orton who stomped out instead.
McMahon cut off "The Viper" before he could begin to rant. She berated him for attacking John Cena's father last week. She said that the WWE Network brings more eyes to the product, and that if he couldn't control his anger, he would be stripped of his title and fired.
Triple H told him that he had faith in Orton despite his flaws.
He gave Orton an opportunity to redeem himself, to make up for his upset loss last week, by facing Kofi Kingston once more. "The Game" ordered him to "make it right" with Cena as well.
It was then Batista's turn to walk down the ramp. The fans roared as his pyrotechnics shot off and "The Animal" played to the crowd. Orton wore a sour expression in the corner.
The Authority welcomed him back with a hug as the crowd chanted Batista's name.
Orton offered his hand. Batista ignored it.
Pointing at the WWE title, he said, "I'm back for that." He promised to win the Rumble, win the world championship and headline WrestleMania.
Memorable Moments and Quotes
"Your actions were despicable, they were deplorable and they are unbecoming of the WWE world heavyweight champion," McMahon to Orton.
"Only God knows what his true ambitions really are," Orton on Triple H.
"You need to fix what it is broken and you need to do it in short order," Triple H to Orton.
A buzzing energy filled the screen when Batista returned. After all the hype and all the waiting, seeing him step through those ropes again was a stirring moment.
His intentions were made clear, simple and realistic. He wants to be on top again, and that's what he will try to do beginning with the Rumble.
The weakness of the incomplete Evolution reunion was the further loss of balance in Orton's character. Too much emphasis has been placed on his cowardly side rather than his dangerous one. It has made him seem like a lame-duck champ.
It's also worth noting that when Triple H listed the top contenders for the WWE title he listed Cena, Batista and Lesnar, but not CM Punk or Daniel Bryan.