Evolution (professional wrestling): Wikis

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Evolution

The logo of Evolution
Stable
Members Triple H
Ric Flair
Randy Orton
Batista
Name(s) Evolution
Debut February 3, 2003[1]
Disbanded October 3, 2005[2]
Promotions WWE

Evolution was a professional wrestling heel stable on World Wrestling Entertainment's Raw brand between 2003 and 2005. At the height of its existence, the group consisted of Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista.[1]

Evolution slowly began dissolving in 2004 after Orton was ousted from the group the night after SummerSlam.[1][3] Batista left in early 2005 after electing to chase Triple H's World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H later turned on Flair, marking the final split of Evolution.

Contents

History

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Formation (2002–2003)

At Unforgiven in 2002, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Rob Van Dam. During the match Ric Flair came down to the ring and grabbed the sledgehammer from Triple H and teased hitting Triple H before hitting Van Dam, allowing Triple H to get the win.[4] From that point on, Flair accompanied Triple H to the ring as his manager. Shortly after, Batista moved from SmackDown! to Raw and took Flair as his manager. When Triple H began his feud with Scott Steiner at the beginning of 2003, Batista and Randy Orton both assisted him along with Flair.[5]

The group was officially founded on February 3, 2003 and called itself Evolution. The stable got off to a rocky start as both Batista and Orton were injured in matches in February 2003. On the May 26 episode of Raw, Orton returned as a masked man who attacked both Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash after a 2-on-1 handicap match with Nash and Michaels taking on Triple H. He then unmasked himself and rejoined the group.[1][6]

Feuds with Shawn Michaels and Goldberg (2003)

In 2003, at Bad Blood, Flair was able to defeat Shawn Michaels after Orton struck Michaels with a chair. Later that night, Triple H retained his World Heavyweight Championship in a Hell in a Cell match against Kevin Nash.[1][7] At Unforgiven, Orton (who had a "Legend Killer" gimmick) defeated Michaels to prove that he was indeed a Legend Killer.[8] Later that night, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg. Despite help from Flair, Triple H lost the title.[9]

On the September 29 episode of Raw, Triple H issued a $100,000 bounty to anybody who could take out Goldberg.[1][10] On the October 20 episode of Raw, Batista returned from injury and rejoined Evolution by taking out Goldberg and claiming the $100,000 bounty.[1][11] At Survivor Series, Orton participated in a Team Bischoff versus Team Austin elimination tag team match in which Orton was the sole survivor.[12] Later that night, Goldberg faced Triple H in a rematch from Unforgiven for the World Heavyweight Championship which Goldberg won despite repeated interference from Flair, Orton, and Batista.[13]

Success (2003–2004)

At the height of Evolution's power, the group controlled all of the male-based championships of Raw after Armageddon. Batista teamed with Flair to win the World Tag Team Championship from the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) in a Tag Team Turmoil match,[14] Orton captured the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Rob Van Dam,[15][16] and Triple H regained the World Heavyweight Championship from Goldberg (in a Triple Threat match that also involved Kane), with the help of the other members.[1][17][18]

In January 2004 at the Royal Rumble, Flair and Batista successfully defended the World Tag Team Championship against the Dudley Boyz in a Tables match, and World Heavyweight Champion Triple H fought Shawn Michaels to no contest in a Last Man Standing match, thus retaining the championship.[19] Flair and Batista exchanged the World Tag Team Championship with Booker T and Rob Van Dam.[20][21][22] At WrestleMania XX, Evolution defeated the Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock (in his final professional wrestling match) and Mick Foley) in a 3-on-2 handicap match.[1][23] Later that night, Triple H lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Benoit (in a triple threat match that also involved Shawn Michaels) when he tapped out to the Crippler Crossface.[1][24] At Backlash, Orton defended the WWE Intercontinental Championship successfully against Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) in a Hardcore match. Later that night, Flair lost to Shelton Benjamin in one-on-one action,[25] while Chris Benoit retained the World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match against Triple H and Shawn Michaels, this time forcing Michaels to submit with the Sharpshooter.[26]

Dissent and Self-Destruction (2004)

Randy Orton

While champion, Benoit teamed with Edge to take the World Tag Team Championship from Flair and Batista.[27] In mid-2004, Eugene was made an "honorary member" of Evolution. When the angle finished, it was revealed that Triple H used him. The angle concluded after Eugene accidentally caused Triple H's loss to Chris Benoit at Vengeance.[28] On the same night, Edge defeated Randy Orton to end his seven-month-long Intercontinental Championship reign.[29]

Triple H received one final shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, on the July 26, 2004 episode of Raw in an Iron Man match. Earlier that night, Orton won a number-one contender battle royal for the World Heavyweight Championship so a title match between Triple H and Orton could have taken place at SummerSlam. However, Eugene interfered in the Iron Man match and helped Benoit take the lead and retain the title in the final seconds. As a result, the main event of SummerSlam was a title match between Benoit and Orton.[30] At SummerSlam, Orton pinned Benoit to become the new World Heavyweight Champion and the youngest World Champion in WWE history to date.[31][32] On the August 16, 2004 episode of Raw, Orton was kicked out of Evolution following a successful defense of the title against Chris Benoit.[1][33] Batista hoisted Orton on to his shoulders in what appeared to be a celebration, but following the thumbs down from Triple H, the group proceeded to attack Orton.[33]

At Unforgiven, Triple H beat Orton to regain the World Heavyweight Championship, with help from Flair, Batista, and Jonathan Coachman.[34][35] Orton's feud with Evolution continued until Survivor Series where Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky, and Edge were defeated by Orton, Maven, Chris Jericho, and Chris Benoit in a Survivor Series match for control of RAW over the following month.[36]

On the December 6 episode of Raw, the World Heavyweight Championship was vacated when a triple threat match with Triple H, Edge, and Benoit ended in a double pin (Edge tapped out to Benoit's Crippler Crossface while he had Benoit pinned to the ground),[37] and the title was to be decided in an Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution in early 2005.

Dissolution (2005)

Batista

In the Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution, Batista, Orton, and Triple H were the last three remaining in the match. Orton eliminated Batista with an RKO and Triple H pinned Orton with Batista's help to win the title.[1][38][39] On the following night's Raw a number-one contender's match saw Orton pin Batista to gain a title shot at the Royal Rumble.[40] Triple H suggested that Batista not enter the Royal Rumble match, wanting the group to focus on Triple H retaining the title. Batista declined, entered the Rumble at number 28 and won.[1][41] As part of the match's storyline, Orton was concussed and then pinned to have Triple H retain the title, finally ending their feud.[1][42]

Triple H tried to persuade Batista to challenge WWE Champion JBL of SmackDown rather than for his World Heavyweight title. This involved Triple H plotting a feud between JBL and Batista, showing JBL badmouthing Batista in an interview and staging a limousine attack on Batista. The scheme was unsuccessful and at the brand contract signing ceremony, Batista turned on Evolution and attacked Flair and Triple H, choosing to challenge for Triple H's title at WrestleMania 21, thus quitting the faction.[43] Batista defeated Triple H for the World title at WrestleMania 21,[44] then defended and retained the title in rematches at Backlash,[45] and Vengeance in a Hell in a Cell match.[46]

After Vengeance, Triple H took time off, and Flair turned face, winning the Intercontinental Championship, and the group was dissolved. Triple H returned at the "WWE Homecoming" episode of Raw on October 3 where he was to team with Flair in a tag team match against Carlito and Chris Masters. After winning that match, Triple H betrayed Flair and attacked him with a sledgehammer thus turning heel in the process and marking the end of Evolution.[2]

Aftermath

On December 10, 2007, Evolution had an in-ring reunion as faces on the Raw 15th Anniversary special episode. After Batista, Flair, and Triple H, who turned face himself in summer 2006, made their way to the ring, Orton refused to join them. He stated that if he would have to be remembered for being part of a tag team, it would be as a member of Rated-RKO.[47] Orton's remarks led to a six-man tag team match between Evolution and the team of Rated RKO and Umaga, which was won by Evolution.[48]

In February 2009, Batista and WWE Champion Triple H began an intense, personal feud with Randy Orton.[49] This heavily centered around Orton's quest for revenge from his betrayal and defection from Evolution following SummerSlam 2004, nearly five years ago. In the main event of WrestleMania XXV, Triple H retained his WWE Championship against Orton.[50] However, he would finally lose the title to Orton under unusual stipulations at the following Backlash pay-per-view.[51] Triple H and Batista then disputed who would get a title match,[52] which was earned by Batista and fulfilled at Judgment Day.

Gimmick

Each of the members represented the best in "the past" (Ric Flair), "the present" (Triple H), and "the future" (Randy Orton and Batista) of professional wrestling.[1][53]

Flair's character trademarks of coming out in suits and being a noted playboy, along with his and Triple H's trademark heel ruthlessness, were traits that carried over into the entire stable, both during and for a couple of years after Evolution. While in the group each of the members had individual quirks:

  • Triple H, "The Game", was the leader and the one who either possessed or pursued the World Heavyweight title at all times. He was champion when the group formed and he lost the belt to Chris Benoit, who would later be defeated by Orton. Orton's victory led to his eventual expulsion from the group. He demanded complete loyalty from his fellow members, which wasn't always reciprocated when it didn't benefit them.
  • Flair, "The Nature Boy" and the "Dirtiest Player in the Game", was a "player-coach" of sorts and took a managerial role and mainly focused on helping the others, though he became increasingly more active as a wrestler as the group progressed, including winning the World Tag Team titles with Batista.
  • Orton, after returning from injury in May 2003, became "The Legend Killer" and humiliated and sometimes defeated numerous "legendary" wrestlers and celebrities, becoming infamous when he spat in the face of Mick Foley and later on Harley Race.
  • Batista, known as "Evolution's Animal" (shortened to "The Animal"), was the silent, strong enforcer of the group. His progress as a wrestler and personality wasn't as quick as Orton's and he was mainly kept in the background until after Orton was kicked out.

Original concept

In an interview with IGN on December 20, 2004, Triple H discussed how Evolution was conceived:

It was my initial concept and I ran it by Vince [McMahon] and I ran it by Flair. My initial concept was pretty much what we said on TV. I looked around and we had Ric Flair as a baby face just sitting there and not doing a whole lot, then you had myself, and I felt like Ric could be utilized better as a mentor to a younger guy who was up and coming. I felt like somebody could get the rub off of him, then the more I started thinking about it, I thought if we put together a group where we took a couple of guys and they could get a rub off of both Ric and I, and Ric could be accompanying them to the ring and become part-wrestler, part-mentor, part-manager, that this could really get big. So I ran it by Ric and he liked the idea. And when I was talking to Vince about it, he asked me what other wrestlers I wanted to do Evolution with, and I honestly didn't know. So Ric and I spent a lot of time just watching guys. Ric and I would actually watch every match, scouting each wrestler to see who could pull this off. To me, this was an important deal because I had to pick two guys who I thought could be big stars on their own one day, otherwise we're just wasting our time.

This isn't a knock against anybody, but there are a lot of groups, and when the group folds, the guys in that group fold because they were propped up by that group. That's not what we wanted. I wanted two guys who could be stars standing on their own, we just needed to get them to that point of standing on their own, and that's what we've done. If you look at Randy Orton, it was time for him to get kicked out of the nest and try to fly on his own, so we kicked him out and he's out there flying. He's in a place where he's either going to become a huge star or he's going to hit the ground, but we got him to that point, and he got himself to that point too. Same thing with Batista. We're going to turn Batista into a big star here, and he's working his ass off at it. And when the time is right, we'll kick him out of the nest and see how he flies. That was part of the whole thrill of doing Evolution. We took two guys who, if they would've kept doing the same things they were doing, they would've just been a couple of other guys, and it would've been hard for them to progress from that level. We literally took them out with us everywhere we went, talked business to them non-stop, and they watched matches with us, they wrestled with us, and listened to our advice. I'm not trying to take credit for where they are, they are the ones who had to put in the work, but we gave them the platform to do it from. They deserve the credit, though, because they are the ones who did it.[54]

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves

Championships and accomplishments

References

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External links


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