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Wrestling / Evolution

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"Adapt... or perish."

Evolution was a Power Stable on Raw between 2003 and 2005, consisting of Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista. 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. At one point (pictured right) they were collectively in the possession of the World Heavyweight Championship (Triple H), The Intercontinental Championship (Orton) and World Tag Team Championships (Batista and Flair).

It was with this group, Eric Bischoff's backing, and arguably Stephanie McMahon's support behind the scenes, that Triple H went on his infamous "reign of terror" where he ran roughshod over Monday Night Raw, holding the World Heavyweight title for the vast majority of the group's time.

They reformed (minus Ric Flair) on the April 14, 2014 edition of Raw, as agents of The Authority to combat The Shield, until the June 2, 2014 episode of Raw when Batista quitnote .

All 4 members of Evolution carry 1 statistic that probably isn't something they promote too much....all of them lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

"I see the tropes in the sand...":

  • Arch-Enemy: Orton, once he broke away and turned face; this would be the major reason for his hatred for Triple H over the years. The Shield when they reformed.
  • Badass Creed:
    • "If you want to play, you gotta pay."
    • "In life, you either adapt or perish."
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Despite Triple H being the leader, they all took after Flair this way.
  • The Brute: Batista.
  • The Bully: The group is essentially the "mean frat boys running things at school" type, continuing what The Kliq were like in Real Life.
  • Continuity Nod: In a world where most storylines disappear after Three Month, it took years for Randy Orton to get over Evolution turning on him. In fact, one could argue that it was this event that began Randy's in-character descent from the suave, arrogant Legend Killer to the sadist known as the Viper. It was expected that whenever he had a storyline with another former member, the stable would be brought up, especially if that former member happened to be Triple H.
  • Expy: Well, Expies: Of NWA/WCW's The Four Horsemen, with Triple H in the Ric Flair role, and Flair himself as James J Dillon
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride and Ambition were what tore Evolution apart. Both Batista and Orton were young, rising stars, hungry for success, while it was obvious to everyone else that Evolution was Hunter's attempt to keep a stranglehold on the World Title and get out of Shawn Michaels's shadow. Even their reunion ten years later wa rather unstable; Batista and Orton were a full decade Older and Wiser and have had massive amounts of success, enough to be considered on the same level as Hunter himself. They didn't have that same drive anymore nor did they need Hunter to get anywhere in the business, and at the same time, their egos had grown to match their former mentor's. The only reason they reunited was out of convenience, thinking it the best way to get rid of The Shield so that Orton and Batista could go after the title while Triple H ran things. When The Shield was clearly not going to let that happen, Batista quit.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Triple H is the Cynic, Ric Flair is the Optimist, Randy Orton is the Realist and Batista is the Apathetic.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Triple H is the Rational, Ric Flair is the Artisan, Batista is the Guardian and Randy Orton is the Idealist.
  • Freudian Trio: Aside from Ric Flair, the 3 remaining members fit this.
    • Id: Batista, nicknamed "The Animal" is the most violent member.
    • Ego: Triple H, the leader, is the one who does most of the talking.
    • Superego: Randy Orton is the calculated one who prefers a slow pace in his matches.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Orton and Batista were touted as wrestling's future. The group starts falling apart when they turned on Orton after he won his first World Title, and Batista winning the (2005) Royal Rumble and choosing to go after Triple H's World Heavyweight title instead of the WWE Championship sealed the group's fate (by the time Triple H turned on Flair late in 2005, the duo can barely be considered as still running the stable). Even more so if you consider the fact that Orton 'fulfilled' his potential by going completely insane and running roughshod over WWE for years, something that would haunt every other person in the stable for the years to come.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: The group has two blondes (Flair and HHH) and two Tall, Dark, and Handsome guys (Orton and Batista).
  • Heel–Face Turn: Orton after he was ousted from the group after winning the World Heavyweight Title, then later Batista, after winning the Royal Rumble and deciding on staying on Raw and challenge for the World Heavyweight title. In 2007, for a one-off appearance, the stable itself (sans Orton, who understandably didn't trust them) reunited as faces.
  • Innocence Lost: This stable was the death of Randy Orton's innocence. Their betrayal destroyed whatever remained of Randy's idealism, and eventually turned him into a monster that would come to plague the careers of every other member of the stable for the years to come.
  • Irony: Despite Triple H touting Batista (along with Randy Orton) as the "future" component of Evolution's name, Batista left the wrestling industry before Triple H transitioned from active competitor to authority figure, then came back twice for short runs and ultimately retired all the while Triple H has remained open to wrestle part-time when needed. In fact, Batista's final match was the first and only time Triple H had ever beaten him one-on-one.
  • It's All About Me: As time wore on, it became very clear the group was about Triple H and his quest to hold on to the World Heavyweight Championship. Batista outright accused him of this in 2019 and Hunter responded by asking if it had really taken him that long to realize that.
  • Leitmotif: Motörhead's "Line in the Sand".
  • Mascot: Eugene was this of sorts. Chris Jericho tried to warn him that Triple H was using him, but since Eugene was "special" and Triple H was his favourite wrestler, it didn't help much.
  • Mooks: The new incarnation seems to have them in the form of nearly a dozen heel midcarders that Triple H seems to be able to call upon at will. Justified since Trips is now an onscreen (and offscreen) authority figure.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Triple H did this twice when he preemptively turned on Randy Orton and then Batista. Unlike Orton, Batista saw it coming.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: They've given plenty of these to their foes.
  • Not So Similar: Evolution was born out of convenience; Hunter needed muscle to support his reign as World Heavyweight Champion, and Orton and Batista needed tickets to the big time. When the latter started infringing on his spotlight, Hunter didn't hesitate to kick them both to the curb, and didn't feel an ounce of regret for it. Even their reunion was born out of convenience: they all hated The Shield, and wanted to get rid of them. The Shield, however, was a brotherhood; they would've done anything for each other. As much as Rollins espoused that everything was a lie, that he never saw Ambrose and Reigns as his brothers, and committed so many atrocious acts to cement the fact, not once was anyone fully convinced — not even Rollins himself. After Triple H inevitably betrayed him, it became blatantly clear that in reality, Rollins considered breaking up the Shield to be his biggest regret, a mistake he wanted to make up for so badly that he was willing to take a steel chair to the back if it meant one of his brothers finally forgave him.
  • Older Than They Look: Despite Batista being one of the two superstars (along with Randy Orton) pushed as "the future" of the business in Evolution, Batista is, in fact, several months older than Triple H (both born in 1969, Batista in January, Trips in July).
  • Oh, Crap!: Two pretty epic ones involving a gladiatorial thumbs-down, an act of treason involving Batista, a violent asskicking, and the victim losing the world heavyweight title to the lead perpetrator in a matter of weeks. This resonated well enough that the thumbs-down became the signature taunt heralding many a Batista Bomb.
    • Orton's came on his first night as world champion in 2004 when, right after being hoisted up onto Batista's shoulders, he saw Triple H give him the gladiatorial thumbs-down. Cue electric chair drop and asskicking.
    • Both Flair and Triple H had theirs in 2005 when Batista gave them the gladiatorial thumbs-down. Cue asskicking to Triple H before signing the contract to stay on Raw and challenge for the World Heavyweight Title rather than go to Smackdown and challenge for JBL's WWE Title.
  • Putting the Band Back Together:
    • In 2007 on Raw's 15th Anniversary Episode, although only for that night, and with Flair, Triple H and Batista all faces at that point while Orton was a heel and didn't trust them.
    • Seems to be heading this way in Triple H's war with Daniel Bryan, only with an odd combination of Kane and Stephanie replacing Ric Flair.
    • Officially went this way with the ending of the 4/14/14 episode of RAW, when they came out to finish off The Shield after setting up the Hounds of Justice to be mugged by 11 heel mid-carders.
    • In the 4/28/14 edition of RAW, it seemed that Ric Flair would reunite with the others, thus making the faction complete. Unfortunately for them, he gave The Shield his personal endorsement.
    • On SmackDown's 1000th episode, Batista acknowledged all of his stablemates' accomplishments before coming down to the one Triple H never accomplished: Beat Batista.
  • Red Baron: "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, "The Game" Triple H, "The Animal" Batista, "The Legend Killer" Randy Orton.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Batista walked out of the 2014 run of the group after being told he wouldn't be given any singles title shots (specifically the WWE World Heavyweight Title) until Triple H said so.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: All four of them.
  • Spanner in the Works: Eugene once accidentally cost Triple H a match against Chris Benoit. This then led to him interfering and helping Benoit at a later time to retain his title. The latter turned out to be due to William Regal, who had let Eugene in the building after Triple H had beaten him for the previous offense.
  • Start My Own: Orton would later form Legacy, with Evolution as a blueprint. It was taken as proof that even four years later, he hadn't gotten over the stable's betrayal.
  • Start of Darkness: Randy's ousting from Evolution is widely agreed upon to be the starting point of his descent from the suave "Legend Killer" to the cold and sadistic "Viper." Evolution left its mark on Randy through his insanity, his hatred of Triple H (and to a lesser extent, Batista), and his own power stable: the Legacy. Through this, one can argue that Evolution turning on him is what defined Randy's entire career. Only with The Authority's run and fallout has he managed to get over it.
  • Student–Master Team: The main essence of the group. Batista and Flair deserves special mention, winning the World Tag team tiles twice.
  • Tagalong Kid: Eugene, who was an Unwitting Pawn for Triple H who was taking advantage of Eugene being a fanboy. There's also a case of Irony in that Trips himself was once accused of being this to his buddies in The Kliq.
  • Too Many Belts: For a span of several months, Evolution had a monopoly on all of Raw's non-diva belts. Triple H was World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton was Intercontinental Champion, and Batista and Ric Flair held the World Tag Team titles. One would imagine that had any of the divas joined them, they'd probably would have had the Women's Title as well.
  • Underwear of Power: All members wear the traditional trunks.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • After months of being an Unwitting Pawn to his idol Triple H, Eugene was swiftly disposed of when he accidentally cost the Game a match with Chris Benoit.
    • Orton was kicked out of the group after he won the World Heavyweight Title and refused to hand it to Triple H.
      • Green-Eyed Monster: Naturally, Trips wasn't happy about the fact that Orton won the title by beating Chris Benoit, whom Triple H had failed to beat for that same title on several occasions.
    • Notably inverted with Batista, after he won the 2005 Royal Rumble - Triple H & Flair spent over a month trying to sway him to challenge for the WWE championship instead of Triple H's coveted World Heavyweight Championship, under the pretense of Evolution holding both World titles; only for Batista to pull this on them by announcing his intent to face Triple H at WrestleMania.