Evolution (professional wrestling)

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For the stable in All Japan Pro Wrestling, see Evolution (AJPW).
Evolution
The crest of Evolution.
Stable
Members Triple H (leader)
Randy Orton
Batista
Ric Flair
Name(s) Evolution
Combined
weight
1,027 lb (466 kg)
Debut January 20, 2003[1][2]
Disbanded June 2, 2014
Years active 2003-2005, 2014
Promotions WWE

Evolution was a villainous professional wrestling stable in WWE. They originally were a part of WWE's Raw brand between 2003 and 2005. At the height of its original existence, the group consisted of Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and Batista.

Evolution slowly began dissolving in 2004 and lost their respective titles (Intercontinental Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and World Tag Team Championships) against Edge, Batista and Booker T/Rob Van Dam then Chris Benoit and Edge. The group turned on Orton the night following SummerSlam, when he won the World Heavyweight Championship and kicked him out.[1][3] After winning the Royal Rumble in 2005 and teasing that he would chase the WWE Championship, Batista turned on Triple H and decided to pursue the World Heavyweight Championship himself. Although Batista's departure was largely the end for the group, the final break up came when Triple H turned on and attacked Flair.

Evolution later reunited, minus Flair, on April 14, 2014.[4]

Concept[edit]

Each member of Evolution represented the best in: "the past" (Ric Flair), "the present" (Triple H), and "the future" (Randy Orton and Batista) of professional wrestling.[1][5] Triple H would reveal on his 2013 Triple H - Thy Kingdom Come DVD that Mark Jindrak was originally planned to be in the group in Batista's role as the Arn Anderson-like enforcer, with Jindrak even shooting vignettes with the rest of the group, before it was decided to make Batista part of the group instead.[6]

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.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Triple H, the leader of Evolution.

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 him before hitting Van Dam, allowing Triple H to get the win.[7] From that point on, Flair accompanied Triple H to the ring as his manager. Shortly after, Batista moved from SmackDown! to Raw and Flair also began accompanying him to the ring while continuing to second Triple H. On January 20, 2003, Randy Orton joined Triple H, Flair, and Batista in attacking Scott Steiner to complete the group.[8] Two weeks later the group got its name when Triple H, after the group jumped Tommy Dreamer, spoke about how the four men were examples of pro wrestling's evolution from the past (Flair) to the present (himself) to the future (Batista and Orton). On the May 26 episode of Raw, Orton attacked both Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash after a 2-on-1 handicap match with Michaels and Flair (who eventually turned on Michaels during the match) taking on Triple H. He then unmasked himself and rejoined the group.[1][9] Batista was out for nearly eight months, because he retore his triceps while rehabilitating the injury.

Dominance[edit]

Ric Flair, the mentor of the group.

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][10] At Unforgiven, Orton (who had a "Legend Killer" gimmick) defeated Michaels to prove that he was indeed a Legend Killer.[11] Later that night, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg, to whom he lost the title.[12] On the September 29 episode of Raw, Triple H issued a $100,000 bounty to anybody who could take out Goldberg.[1][13] Three weeks later, Batista made his return during a match between Goldberg and Michaels and attacked the champion, finishing by stomping on a steel chair with Goldberg's ankle sandwiched in it to claim the bounty.[1][14] At Survivor Series, Orton participated in a Team Bischoff versus Team Austin elimination tag team match in which Orton was the sole survivor.[15] 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.[16] 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,[17] Orton captured the Intercontinental Championship from Rob Van Dam,[18][19] 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][20][21]

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.[22] Flair and Batista exchanged the World Tag Team Championship with Booker T and Rob Van Dam.[23][24][25] At WrestleMania XX, Evolution defeated the Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock and Mick Foley) in a 3-on-2 handicap match.[1][26] 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][27] At Backlash, Flair lost to Shelton Benjamin in one-on-one action.[28] Later that night, Orton defended the Intercontinental Championship successfully against Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) in a Hardcore match, 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.[29] Triple H and Shawn Michaels would later continue their feud at Bad Blood inside a Hell in the Cell, which was won by Triple H and thus ending their feud.

Randy Orton after winning the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam in 2004.

While still World Champion, Benoit teamed with Edge to take the World Tag Team Championship from Flair and Batista.[30] 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.[31] On the same night, Edge defeated Randy Orton to end his seven-month-long Intercontinental Championship reign.[32]

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.[33] At SummerSlam, Orton pinned Benoit to become the new World Heavyweight Champion and the youngest World Champion in WWE history to date.[34][35] 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][36] 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.[36]

At Unforgiven, Triple H beat Orton to regain the World Heavyweight Championship, with help from Flair, Batista, and Jonathan Coachman.[37][38] 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.[39]

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),[40] and the title was to be decided in an Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution in early 2005.

Separation[edit]

Batista during his first reign as World Heavyweight Champion.

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 a RKO and Triple H pinned Orton with Batista's help to win the title.[1][41][42] 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.[43] 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][44] 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][45]

Triple H tried to persuade Batista to challenge the WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield of SmackDown! rather than for his World Heavyweight Championship. This involved Triple H plotting a feud between JBL and Batista, showing JBL badmouthing Batista in an interview and staging an attack on Batista with a limousine designed to look like Layfield's. The scheme was unsuccessful and at the brand contract signing ceremony, Batista chose to remain on Raw, infuriating Triple H and thus quitting the faction.[46] Batista defeated Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21,[47] then defended and retained the title in rematches at Backlash,[48] and Vengeance in a Hell in a Cell match. Triple H and Batista made peace backstage afterwards and ended their feud.[49]

After Vengeance, Triple H took time off, Flair turned face before going on to win 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.[2]

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 when he reunited with Shawn Michaels to reform D-Generation X, made their way to the ring, Orton said he hadn't forgiven them for turning on him in 2004 and didn't trust them, to which Triple H responded that they were sick of his arrogance, so he partnered with Rated RKO member Edge and Umaga. Evolution won the match.

Reunion[edit]

Randy Orton and Batista in 2014.

Seven years later, in April 2014, Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton reformed their alliance after Daniel Bryan defeated all three of them in the same night to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XXX.[50][51] The night after WrestleMania on Raw, Batista and Orton teamed together to face The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships, but the match ended in a no contest due to both teams being counted out.[52] Later that night, Batista and Orton, along with Kane, attacked Bryan before he was set to defend his title against Triple H. Before Triple H could defeat Bryan, The Shield interrupted by spearing him and taking out Orton, Batista, and Kane, causing Bryan to retain his title via disqualification.[53] On the April 14 edition of Raw, Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista came down to the ring to attack The Shield after their 11-on-3 handicap match, using the name and the theme of Evolution.[4] The Shield defeated Evolution in a six-man tag team match at Extreme Rules.[54] and then The Shield defeated Evolution yet again in a six-man No Holds Barred elimination tag match at Payback with a victory in which none of The Shield were eliminated.[55] On the June 2 Raw, Batista quit the WWE (kayfabe) after his title match request for the night was denied by Triple H. This was done to write Batista off WWE television so he could promote Guardians of the Galaxy. Later that night, Triple H declared that he had resorted to "Plan B" in his quest to destroy The Shield, prompting Rollins to attack Ambrose and Reigns.[56] Although Triple H and Randy Orton are still together as part of The Authority, all references to Evolution were quietly dropped afterwards, effectively ending Evolution again for the time being.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Evolution Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  2. ^ a b "A Stunning Homecoming". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  3. ^ "WWE Raw Results: August 16, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Raw results: Evolution reforms to break The Shield; The Shield vs. Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Bad News Barrett, Alexander Rusev, Fandango, Rybaxel, Titus O’Neil went to a No Contest". WWE.com. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Raw results - February 3, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  6. ^ "Photo: Who Was Supposed To Take Batista's Spot In Evolution?". WrestlingInc.com. 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  7. ^ "Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  8. ^ "Raw results - January 20, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  9. ^ "Raw results - May 26, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  10. ^ "Bad Blood 2003 results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  11. ^ "Unforgiven 2003 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  12. ^ "Goldberg vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  13. ^ "Raw results - September 29, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  14. ^ "Raw results - October 20, 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  15. ^ "Survivor Series 2003 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  16. ^ "Goldberg vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  17. ^ "Evolution's first World Tag Team Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  18. ^ "Randy Orton's first Intercontinental Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  19. ^ "Armageddon 2003 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  20. ^ "Triple H vs. Goldberg vs. Kane for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  21. ^ "Triple H's third World Heavyweight Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  22. ^ "Royal Rumble 2004 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  23. ^ "Raw results - February 16, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  24. ^ "Raw results - March 22, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  25. ^ "Evolution's second World Tag Team Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  26. ^ "WrestleMania XX official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  27. ^ "Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  28. ^ "Backlash 2004 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
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  30. ^ "Raw results - April 19, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
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  32. ^ "Vengeance 2004 official results". WWE. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  33. ^ "Raw results - July 26, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  34. ^ "Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  35. ^ "Randy Orton's first World Heavyweight Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  36. ^ a b "Raw results - August 16, 2004". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  37. ^ "Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  38. ^ "Triple H's fourth World Heavyweight Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  39. ^ "Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Maven vs. Triple H, Batista, Edge & Snitsky". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  40. ^ "Raw results - November 29, 2004". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  41. ^ "Triple H def. Edge, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton & Batista to become World Heavyweight Champion". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  42. ^ "Triple H's fifth World Heavyweight Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  43. ^ "Raw results - January 10, 2005". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  44. ^ a b "2005 Royal Rumble match". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  45. ^ "Royal Rumble 2005 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  46. ^ "Raw results - February 21, 2005". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  47. ^ "Batista def. Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  48. ^ "World Heavyweight Champion Batista def. Triple H to retain". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  49. ^ "World Heavyweight Champion Batista def. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell Match to retain". WWE. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  50. ^ "Daniel Bryan def. Triple H". WWE.com. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton and Batista to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion". WWE.com. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  52. ^ "Raw Results: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Randy Orton & Batista via Count-out". WWE.com. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  53. ^ "Raw results: Triple H def WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan via Disqualification". WWE.com. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  54. ^ Clapp, John. "The Shield vs. Evolution". WWE. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  55. ^ Asher, Matthew (June 1, 2014). "WWE Payback: The Shield Evolved, Cena stood tall and Brie dropped a bombshell". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  56. ^ Waldman, Jon (June 3, 2014). "Raw: Changing of the Shield". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved June 8, 2014. 
  57. ^ "COMPLETE WRESTLEMANIA XXX REPORT". PWInsider. Retrieved April 15, 2014. "Batista puts Bryan on the announce table for a Batista Bomb into an inverted RKO through the Spanish Announce Table." 
  58. ^ "WWE RAW REPORT". PWInsider. Retrieved April 15, 2014. "Batista and Orton hit a combination Batista Bomb reverse RKO." 
  59. ^ "Batista's Superstar Page". 
  60. ^ "Orton's Superstar Page". 
  61. ^ "Triple H's Superstar Page". 
  62. ^ "World Heavyweight Championship official title history". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  63. ^ "World Tag Team Championship official title history". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  64. ^ "WWE Intercontinental Championship official title history". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 

External links[edit]

Current members

Former members