Batista's Most Memorable Matches, Moments in WrestleMania History

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2018

Batista's Most Memorable Matches, Moments in WrestleMania History

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    RICK SCUTERI/Associated Press

    Because his run with WWE was relatively brief compared to many of his contemporaries, Batista isn't generally considered among the top legends to walk through the curtain at WrestleMania.

    That does something of a disservice to "The Animal," though, as he has main-evented WrestleMania on two occasions and captured a world title once at the Showcase of the Immortals.

    In the case of WrestleMania XXX, Batista returned after a nearly four-year absence to play a role in the best WrestleMania main event since The Undertaker retired Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI.

    Here's a look at some of Batista's most memorable matches at WWE's biggest show of the year.

WrestleMania XX: Evolution Topples the Rock 'N' Sock Connection

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    Competing in a match with two WWE Hall of Famers and two more who are destined for the Hall of Fame is a nice way to make a WrestleMania debut.

    Batista teamed with Ric Flair and Randy Orton to battle The Rock and Mick Foley in a three-on-two handicap match at WrestleMania XX. Given the amount of talent in the ring, it shouldn't be a surprise the match was excellent, with Orton hitting an RKO on Foley for the victory.

    Batista's star was clearly on the rise at WrestleMania XX, and his status as a main event star would be cemented a year later.

WrestleMania 21: Batista Wins His 1st World Title

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    The story leading up to the main event of WrestleMania 21 was excellent.

    After Batista won the Royal Rumble, Triple H tried every trick in the book to convince "The Animal" to wrestle John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE Championship. Triple H even went so far as to commission a limousine resembling JBL's to try to run Batista over.

    Batista became aware of the scheme, though, and signed the contract to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21. He immediately become one of WWE's top babyfaces when he powerbombed Triple H through a table at the contract signing.

    Because the story was so gripping, one can't help but feeling a little underwhelmed by what was a good—not great—match between Batista and Triple H. Granted, this was the start of a rivalry that would encompass the entire first half of 2005 and produce matches that exceeded the quality of the WrestleMania 21 main event.

WrestleMania 23: Batista Becomes Another Victim of the Streak

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    This is basically the exact inverse of WrestleMania 21 in that the match far exceeds everything that happened in the months leading up to the pay-per-view.

    The Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble, thus earning a world title shot at WrestleMania 23. He challenged Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, putting the two on a collision course for Ford Field in Detroit.

    The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak was a thing by now, but it had yet to attain a status to where people thought it was untouchable. A Batista victory was a real possibility, which added a bit more drama to the match.

    Batista and The Undertaker had a good back-and-forth affair that ended when "The Deadman" hit the Tombstone Piledriver for the victory.

WrestleMania XXVI: Batista Drops WWE Title to John Cena

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    This was arguably the most enjoyable run of Batista's career. He was never better than when he became a bitter heel who was resentful of all the opportunities afforded to John Cena.

    Cena vs. Batista at WrestleMania XXVI was something of a dream match because it was only the second singles meeting between two guys who were among WWE's biggest stars at the time. They had also wrestled at SummerSlam 2008, but WWE rushed the feud and didn't convey the proper importance.

    Cena and Batista's encounter at WrestleMania kicked off a trilogy that would continue through Extreme Rules and Over the Limit later that spring. The story culminated with Batista—sitting in a wheelchair with his arm in a sling—quitting WWE after he didn't get another match against Cena.

    Batista has obviously gone on to bigger and better things, but it's a shame he left WWE when he was at his creative peak.

WrestleMania XXX: Batista Taps Out to the Yes Lock

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    You can hear the audible resignation among many fans in New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome when it looked like Batista was going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

    It felt like Batista's world title reign was telegraphed when he returned at the 2014 Royal Rumble and won the Royal Rumble match. Here, he was coming to steal the biggest moment of Daniel Bryan's WWE career.

    That's what made Bryan's comeback all the more satisfying. Bryan hit the running knee on Batista and locked in the Yes Lock for the victory.

    In the weeks after the defeat, Batista reunited with Triple H and Randy Orton for a second run with Evolution, which was the role he should've been in all along.

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