There’s an argument to be made that Triple H and Batista are two sides of the same coin. Setting aside their shared time in Evolution, the two are time-proven opportunists who, given the right circumstances, would throw away any shred of decency or respect to achieve their goals.
Triple H’s victory over The Animal at The Show of Shows was vindication for several reasons, but it was also, in its own way, validation of his choice to recruit him as an ally all those years ago, and his identification of Batista as a kindred spirit. They moved the same. They kind of looked the same. And most importantly, they fought the same: As it became abundantly clear during their No Holds Barred Match, there is truly nothing either of them wouldn’t do to get what they want.
What Batista wanted was to end his career on his terms, and Triple H’s as well. That’s how the two ended up in a fight on The Grandest Stage of Them All with The Game’s in-ring career on the line. But it became readily apparent that what Triple H wanted, more than anything, was to hurt, humiliate and maim The Animal. There’s no other way to explain the torturous opening to the match in which Big Dave was smashed in the face with a toolbox, had his fingers bent back by a wrench and his nose ring ripped from his nostril by a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Despite the respective paths they took to achieve their goals – Batista was impactful but conservative, while Triple H was wild and improvisational – their shared similarities came to the forefront at every turn. Batista kicked out of a Pedigree. The Game fought his way out of a Batista Bomb. And they both even ended up with a sledgehammer in their hands, although Triple H had a bit of an assist in getting his. After The Animal stole his opponent’s signature implement, Ric Flair – who Batista ambushed to set this rivalry off in earnest – emerged to hand The Game a backup, and “The Nature Boy’s” presence took The Animal’s attention off his foe long enough to allow The King of Kings to smash him with the hammer. One Pedigree later, and it was over.
And you could be forgiven for thinking that the similarities between The Game and The Animal ended with the pinfall – after all, there’s a pretty clear line between winning and losing – but, in its own way, the conclusion could be read as satisfying to both of them. Now, there really isn’t anything Triple H hasn’t done. And Batista got exactly what he wanted.