- Evolution (professional wrestling)
Infobox Wrestling team
Triple H Randy Ortoncite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/e/evolution.html|title=Evolution Profile|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling]
February 3 2003
October 3 2005
Evolution was a
professional wrestlingheel stable on World Wrestling Entertainment's Raw brand consisting of Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Triple H, and Batista. The group is considered by many to be modeled after Ric Flair's old stable, the Four Horsemen, from the National Wrestling Allianceand World Championship Wrestling.
The group dissolved in 2005. This occurred after Orton had been kicked out in 2004, and Batista had left the group to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H later turned on Flair, marking the final split of Evolution.
At Unforgiven in 2002,
Triple Hdefended the World Heavyweight Championship against Rob Van Dam. During the match Ric Flaircame 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/unforgiven/history/2002/rawmainevent/|title=Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=WWE] 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 Steinerat the beginning of 2003, Batista and Randy Ortonboth assisted him along with Flair. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/030120.html|title=RAW results - January 20, 2003|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling]
The group was officially founded on
February 3, 2003and called itself Evolution, as in "the Evolution of this business." 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. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/030203.html|title=RAW results - February 3, 2003|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] The stable got off to a rocky start as both Batista and Orton were injured in matches in February 2003. On May 26 edition of "Raw", Orton returned as a masked man who attacked both Shawn Michaelsand Kevin Nashafter a 2-on-1 handicap match with Flair and Michaels taking on Triple H. He then unmasked himself and rejoined the group. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/030526.html|title=RAW results - May 26, 2003|accessdate=2007-08-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling]
Feuds with Shawn Michaels and Goldberg (2003)
In 2003, at Bad Blood, Flair was able to defeat Shawn Michaels after Orton whacked Michaels with a chair. Later that night, Triple H retained his World Heavyweight Championship in a
Hell in a Cellmatch against the big man, Kevin Nash. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/wweppv/badblood03.html|title=Bad Blood 2003 results|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] At Unforgiven, Orton (who had a "Legend Killer" gimmick) defeated Michaels to prove that he was indeed a Legend Killer. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/unforgiven/history/2003/results/|title=Unforgiven 2003 official results|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=WWE] Later that night, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Goldberg. Despite help from Flair, Triple H lost the title to Goldberg.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/unforgiven/history/2003/mainevent/|title=Goldberg vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=WWE]
On September 29 edition of "Raw", Triple H issued a $100,000
bountyto anybody who could take out Goldberg. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/030929.html|title=RAW results - September 29, 2003|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] On October 20 edition of "Raw", Batista returned from injury and rejoined Evolution by taking out Goldberg and claiming the $100,000 bounty. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/031020.html|title=RAW results - October 20, 2003|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] At Survivor Series, Orton participated in a Team Bischoff vs. Team Austin elimination tag team match in which Orton was the sole survivor. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/survivorseries/history/2003/results/|title=Survivor Series 2003 official results|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=WWE] 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/survivorseries/history/2003/mainevent/|title=Goldberg vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-18|publisher=WWE]
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:
*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 Foleyand 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.
*Flair, "The Nature Boy" and the "Dirtiest Player in the Game", 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.
*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
expulsionfrom the group.
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
Dudley Boyz(Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) in a Tag Team Turmoil match,cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldtagteam/3044541321151|title=Evolution's first World Tag Team Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] Orton captured the WWE Intercontinental Championshipfrom Rob Van Dam,cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/intercontinental/322760|title=Randy Orton's first Intercontinental Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/armageddon/history/2003/results/|title=Armageddon 2003 official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/armageddon/history/2003/mainevent/|title=Triple H vs. Goldberg vs. Kane for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldheavyweight/30445414221|title=Triple H's third World Heavyweight Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
In January 2004 at the Royal Rumble, Ric Flair and Batista successfully defended the World Tag Team Championship against 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. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/royalrumble/history/1988118/results/|title=Royal Rumble 2004 official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] Flair and Batista exchanged the World Tag Team Championship with Booker T and Rob Van Dam. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/040216.html|title=RAW results - February 16, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/040322.html|title=RAW results - March 22, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldtagteam/3044541321421|title=Evolution's second World Tag Team Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] At
WrestleMania XX, Evolution defeated Rock 'n' Sock Connection(The Rock and Mick Foley) in a 3-on-2 handicap match. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/wrestlemania/history/wm20/results/|title=WrestleMania XX official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/wrestlemania/history/wm20/mainevent/|title=Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] 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 Benjaminin a one-on-one action, [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/backlash/history/backlash2004/results/|title=Backlash 2004 official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/backlash/history/backlash2004/mainevent/|title=Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
Dissent and self-destruction (2004)
While champion, Benoit teamed with Edge to take the World Tag Team Championship from Flair and Batista. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/040419.html|title=RAW results - April 19, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] In summer of 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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/vengeance/history/vengeance2004/mainevent/|title=Chris Benoit vs. Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] On the same night, Edge defeated Randy Orton to end his seven-month-long Intercontinental Championship reign. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/vengeance/history/vengeance2004/results/|title=Vengeance 2004 official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
Triple H received one final shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, on the
July 26 2004edition of "Raw" in an Iron Man match. Earlier that night, Randy Orton won a number-one contender battle royal for the World Heavyweight Championship and potentially 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, setting up a title match between Benoit and Orton at SummerSlam. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/040726.html|title=RAW results - July 26, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] At SummerSlam, Orton pinned Benoit to become the new World Heavyweight Champion and the youngest World Champion in WWE history to date.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/summerslam07/history/2004/mainevent/|title=Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldheavyweight/30445414211|title=Randy Orton's first World Heavyweight Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] On the August 16 2004edition of "Raw", Orton was kicked out of Evolution following a successful defense of the title against Chris Benoit.cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/040816.html|title=RAW results - August 16, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] 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.
At Unforgiven, Triple H beat Orton to regain the World Heavyweight Championship, with help from Flair, Batista and
Jonathan Coachman.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/unforgiven/history/2004/mainevent/|title=Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldheavyweight/304454143|title=Triple H's fourth World Heavyweight Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] Orton's feud with Evolution continued until Survivor Series where Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitskyand Edge were defeated by Orton, Maven, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit in a Survivor Series match for control of RAW over the following month.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/survivorseries/history/2004/mainevent/|title=Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Maven vs. Triple H, Batista, Edge & Snitsky|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
On December 6 edition 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), [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/041129.html|title=RAW results - November 29, 2004|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] and the title was to be decided in an
Elimination Chambermatch at New Year's Revolution in early 2005.
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.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/newyearsrevolution/history/2005/mainevent/|title=Triple H def. Edge, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton & Batista to become World Heavyweight Champion|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldheavyweight/3044541421|title=Triple H's fifth World Heavyweight Championship reign|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] 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. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/050110.html|title=RAW results - January 10, 2005|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] Triple H suggested that Batista not enter the Royal Rumble match, wanting the group to focus on Triple H retaining the title. Batista declined and entered the Rumble at number 28 and won.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/royalrumble/history/198811/mainevent/|title=2005 Royal Rumble match|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] As part of the match's storyline, Randy Orton was concussed and then pinned to have Triple H retain the title, finally ending their feud. [cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/royalrumble/history/198811/results/|title=Royal Rumble 2005 official results|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
Triple H tried to persuade Batista to challenge for the
WWE Championshiprather than his title. The scheme was unsuccessful and at the contract signing ceremony, Batista turned his back on Evolution and attacked Flair and Triple H, choosing to challenge for Triple H's title at WrestleMania 21, thus quitting the faction and starting a more successful singles career. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/050221.html|title=RAW results - February 21, 2005|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] Batista defeated Triple H for the World title at WrestleMania 21,cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/wrestlemania/history/wm21/mainevent/|title=Batista def. Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] then defended and retained the title in rematches at Backlash,cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/shows/backlash/history/backlash2005/mainevent/|title=World Heavyweight Champion Batista def. Triple H to retain|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE] and Vengeance in a Hell in a Cellmatch.cite web|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/vengeance/history/vengeance2005/mainevent/|title=World Heavyweight Champion Batista def. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell Match to retain|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
After Vengeance, Triple H took time off, Flair turned face, 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.cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/archive/10032007/|title=A Stunning Homecoming|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
One-night-only reunion (2007)
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 (being the only current heel) 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. [cite web|url=http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/r/rated-rko.html|title=Rated RKO Profile|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=Online World of Wrestling] 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.cite web|first=Bryan|last=Robinson|url=http://www.wwe.com/shows/raw/archive/12102007/articles/triplereunion/|title=Triple reunion for The Game|accessdate=2008-01-19|date= 2007-12-10|publisher=WWE]
In an interview with
IGNon December 20 2004, Triple H discussed how Evolution was conceived:
cquote|It was my initial concept and I ran it by Vince 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. [cite web|first=Jon|last=Robinson|url=http://sports.ign.com/articles/574/574548p3.html|title=Triple H interview|accessdate=2008-01-19|date=
*Finishing and signature moves :*"Pedigree" (
Triple H):*"RKO" ( Randy Orton):*"Batista Bomb" (Batista):*"Figure Four Leglock" ( Ric Flair)
*Signature foreign object:*
Sledgehammer( Triple H)
Championships and accomplishments
World Wrestling Entertainment
** World Heavyweight Championship (5 times) – Triple H (4) and Randy Orton (1) [cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldheavyweight|title=World Heavyweight Championship official title history|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
WWE Intercontinental Championship(1 time) – Randy Orton (1) [cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/intercontinental/|title=WWE Intercontinental Championship official title history|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
** World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – Ric Flair and Batista (2) [cite web|url= http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldtagteam|title=World Tag Team Championship official title history|accessdate=2008-01-19|publisher=WWE]
** Royal Rumble Winner – Batista (2005)
* [http://www.wwe.com/superstars/smackdown/tripleh/ Triple H's WWE Profile]
* [http://www.wwe.com/superstars/halloffame/ricflair/ Ric Flair's WWE Profile]
* [http://www.wwe.com/superstars/raw/randyorton/ Randy Orton's WWE Profile]
* [http://www.wwe.com/superstars/raw/batista/ Batista's WWE Profile]
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