Batista’s status for WWE WrestleMania 35 could be up in the air if Triple H isn’t ultimately cleared to compete by then.
It feels like a lifetime ago that Batista and Triple H teased tension during the Evolution reunion at SmackDown 1000. It was apparent WWE ran that angle to gauge interest in a potential WrestleMania match between the two, which has been rumored since Batista left the company in June 2014.
Batista’s simple remark about how Triple H has never beaten him at any point in her career led to an audible gasp in the arena that night and got fans talking online. Their series of matches in 2005 was classic, and although that was nearly 14 years ago, both guys would (hopefully) have enough left in the tank to rekindle some of that magic at this year’s Show of Shows.
The more time passed, however, the chances of Triple H vs. Batista happening one last time at WrestleMania 35 decreased. A Royal Rumble return for The Animal would have been ideal, but when he didn’t appear, it caused concern among fans that perhaps the match wasn’t in the works after all.
It was rumored (h/t Sports Illustrated) this week that Triple H may not be cleared in time for WrestleMania. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the main event of Crown Jewel in early November and underwent surgery soon after, though it seems his road to recovery has taken longer than expected.
If true, WWE will be out of a real marquee match for ‘Mania. Granted, there is enough star power between Raw and SmackDown Live to fill out the card, but the bout would have made sense from a storyline standpoint and would have been a cool way for Batista to close out his career.
Speaking of whom, Batista has been very vocal in recent years about only wanting to return to WWE to face Triple H and no one else, so this latest update on Triple H’s questionable status might mean he won’t be wrestling at the event, either.
Triple H has competed at more installments of WrestleMania than anyone (except for The Undertaker, of course) since 1996. He’s had some stinkers, sure, but he’s contested his fair share of show-stealers as well.
His bout with Batista probably wouldn’t have tore the house down at MetLife Stadium, but it would have been a nice trip down memory lane for those who remember their rivalry from the Ruthless Aggression Era. It also would have made up for all the bad booking Batista endured during his last run with WWE five years ago and been a fitting conclusion to his career.
Putting aside Batista’s past comments about wanting to take on only Triple H in his retirement match, there truthfully isn’t anyone on the active roster that would as compelling of an opponent for him.
Fans have fantasized for years about Batista and Brock Lesnar doing battle, but Batista himself once said on a 2017 episode of Talk is Jericho that facing The Beast Incarnate didn’t interest him, if only because he didn’t want to be dropped on his head.
Meanwhile, Batista vs. Randy Orton is a rivalry that does not need to be revisited. In fact, a majority of the WWE Universe was so upset with that potentially being the WrestleMania 30 main event that they practically had to force WWE to add Daniel Bryan into the mix and make it a Triple Threat.
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley could be interesting opponents for Batista, but it can argued either match would a waste of the six-time world champion. Otherwise, it looks like there isn’t an obvious spot for him on the WrestleMania card, so it could be another year or so before we see him step back in squared circle (if ever).
Those advocating for Batista to appear in a non-physical capacity at WrestleMania shouldn’t get their hopes up. The Animal turned down an offer to do a one-off at WrestleMania 32 because he would rather come back for a full-on run, and the only reason he likely agreed to appear at SmackDown 1000 was because it planted the seeds for a match against Triple H.
Then again, Batista could find his way into WrestleMania 35 if he agrees to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame that weekend. As of now, nothing is official for the annual ceremony, but it could certainly use a major headliner and Batista would fit the bill perfectly.
Batista is of the mindset that his in-ring career will be declared over if he goes into the Hall of Fame any time soon, which is why he reportedly declined to go in last year. In that case, the chances of Batista showing up at the spring spectacle are slim to none.
Two months remain until WrestleMania 35, so it is entirely possible Triple H will be given the green light to wrestle Batista at the last minute, but if their anticipated encounter falls through, it is bound to be a while before The Animal hunts again in WWE.