By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on WrestleMania Recall, I will be ranking my top 31 favorite matches in WWE WrestleMania history. A new installment will be posted every day in the month of March, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Thursday, March 31st, mere days before WrestleMania 32. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
And we're back with another bout from one of the greatest WrestleManias since the dawn of the new millennium, this time looking at its amazing main event between Batista and Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. Anyone who knows me well enough would know that I'm a sucker for a stellar story, and this match had just that. Any match that has a long and organic build-up and a satisfying payoff is solid in my book, but there was something about their feud I found extremely endearing.
Of course, the original plan for the WrestleMania 21 main event was to have Randy Orton win back the world title from Triple H after Evolution ousted him from the group in August 2004. He was going to be the breakout babyface and complete his chase by regaining the gold on the grand stage, but as is usually the case in wrestling, plans changed. Officials noticed Batista, not Orton, was the one who was winning over the masses, so they went with him as the next "guy" instead.
If you watch back the Elimination Chamber match from New Year's Revolution 2005, you can tell even then the seeds of dissension were being planted among Batista and Triple H. Batista won the 2005 Royal Rumble match and the opportunity to headline WrestleMania for a world title, and after teasing going after JBL for the WWE Championship on SmackDown, he ultimately went with Triple H once he came to his senses and registered The Game had been trying to manipulate him the entire time.
Triple H sensed a legitimate threat to his most prized possession, and in typical Cerebral Assassin fashion, he was going to put an end to said threat. But little did he realize he was merely making more of an enemy out of Batista by trying to turn him away rather than invite him to do battle on the grand stage. He knew deep down that The Animal had a shot of dethroning him as champion, but what he didn't know was that when you mess with a caged animal, that animal is bound to bite back.
Batista putting HHH through that table on Raw was an iconic turning point in his rise to super stardom. The stage was set for their major match at WrestleMania 21, and on a show where many stars solidified themselves as future main event players, Batista led the hungry pack. HHH had the devious Ric Flair in his corner, but as The Nature Boy's former World Tag Team Champion partner and Evolution cohort, he was well-aware of what he was up to and had a plan in place in case he attempted to interfere.
Although I prefer their Hell in a Cell encounter to their WrestleMania match, Batista and Triple H always had great chemistry in whatever type of contest they faced off in and this was a very solid matchup from them. I don't enjoy it for its technical wrestling (or lack thereof) as much as I do for the story that they told, with HHH dishing out a sadistic amount of punishment on his ex-protege and Batista kicking out of everything Triple H had to offer. Not even the patented Pedigree was enough to put him away.
What would a Triple H match be without some blood? The King of Kings was brutally busted open at the hands of Batista. Although an ordinary animal would lose their mind at the sight of their own blood, Batista got fired up at the sight of HHH's crimson red mask, putting him in that next gear that allowed him to plant Triple H with a Batista Bomb for the victory. Batista broke down in tears as he was awarded his premier World Heavyweight Championship, and it became evident at that moment that an era of change had officially arrived in WWE.
SEE ALSO: "WrestleMania Recall, Match #12: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior, WrestleMania 6"