RondaRousey.com’s Classic Match series takes a closer look at significant and super cool matches from wrestling history.
Two of the biggest storylines in current WWE have been the reunion of fan-favorite trio The Shield—sparked by the inspirational in-ring return of Roman Reigns following the announcement that his leukemia is in remission—and the reappearance of Batista, the former WWE Champion-turned-Guardian of the Galaxy set to face Triple H at WrestleMania 35.
As anyone who fondly remembers True Detective Season 1 can attest, time is indeed a flat circle, and a little less than five years ago, both Batista and The Shield were in a major match at Extreme Rules 2014, taking place on May 4 of that year at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Shield vs. Evolution—Batista, Triple H, and Randy Orton—placed the hottest trio of that era against the most dominant stable of a decade earlier, and the six-man tag match delivered on its promise of a chaotic battle between youth and experience.
The match, naturally, began with a wild six-way brawl between the competitors, with The Shield getting the better of their longer-tenured opponents, clearing the ring as the match officially started. Maintaining the momentum, Seth Rollins started out strong against Triple H, scoring a huge dropkick, clotheslining the COO out of the ring, and hitting his trademark high-speed suicide dive. Triple H quickly had an answer for Seth—he is “The Game,” after all—and took over with a clothesline, leading to an extended period of unanswered offense from Evolution. Batista and Orton both took turns entering the match and working over Rollins, with all three Evolution members getting their shot at “The Architect” of The Shield.
Evolution, befitting their status as crafty vets, utilized the classic tag team strategy of cutting the ring in half and preventing the hot tag. After about six minutes on defense, Rollins finally got the tag into Dean Ambrose, who came in hot with a crossbody off the ropes on Orton, and an attempted figure-four leglock (of course, the signature submission hold of fellow Evolution member Ric Flair, in typically incorrigible Dean Ambrose fashion).
Evolution soon resumed the advantage, with Batista—who the crowd really didn’t like at this point, after he won the Royal Rumble 2014 when much of the fans wanted to see Daniel Bryan in that spot—taking on Ambrose, as the audience chants “Boo-
Here’s where things got really interesting: Reigns entered with his usual fire, with a Superman Punch on Batista, then Orton, and following up with a Drive-By on Batista and a clothesline outside the ring on Triple H. It’s finishers aplenty as The Shield successfully Triple Powerbombed Batista, but Orton and Triple H made the save for their team. Triple H nailed a Pedigree on Roman, but that wasn’t enough to end this match. Orton hit an RKO on Reigns and that, still, was not enough.
Things poured out beyond the ring, with Triple H and Orton brawling with Ambrose and Rollins into the crowd, including a back body drop from Rolling to Triple H on the outside, Ambrose tumbling down the stairs, and—in a highlight of both the match and Rollins’ high-flying career—a dive by Rollins off a balcony, onto two-thirds of the Evolution trio.
Don’t forget that Batista and Reigns were still in the ring, with Batista notching a spinebuster, and then going for the Batista Bomb—which only resulted in Reigns escaping, getting another Superman Punch and a spear, securing victory for The Shield.
While this was one of the most memorable and successful examples of
Batista left WWE shortly after that, focusing on his burgeoning career of being a huge movie star, not returning to WWE until SmackDown’s 1000th episode last October. And, on the very same June 2014 RAW that marked Batista’s last night in WWE, Rollins shockingly turned on Reigns and Ambrose to dissolve The Shield in one of the most traumatic moments in WWE history—though they eventually made up years later.
You can go back and revisit this match (and the entirety of Extreme Rules 2014) on the WWE Network.