WWE has announced its first inductees for its 2020 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
As first reported by People magazine, Batista (David Bautista) enters the WWE Hall of Fame for the first time.
A former six-time WWE World Champion, Batista made his on-screen debut in May of 2002, becoming a top star in the promotion before departing for a brief stint in MMA and a highly-successful acting career in 2010. After a brief comeback in 2013-2014, Batista last wrestled for the company at this year’s WrestleMania 35, losing to Triple H in a No Holds Barred match that resulted in his storyline-exit from in-ring competition.
Bautista told People, “Vince [McMahon] called me personally to ask me, I was just … I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy. It’s a good feeling, it’s a really great feeling.”
Also to be inducted, as first reported by ESPN, will be the New World Order (nWo), represented by “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean “Syxx” Waltman, each receiving their second inductions.
The group infamously made its debut at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 with the then-shocking heel turn of longtime crowd-favourite Hogan, joining Nash and Hall following a series of surprise appearances on WCW Nitro that hinted at an impending invasion from their former employer, WWF. WCW would later distance Nash and Hall’s inferred association with WWF following a trademark infringement lawsuit from Titan Sports. Sean Waltman would join the group as “Syxx” (partially as a reference to him being the group’s sixth member) two months later. The group’s popularity would spearhead WCW’s dominance over the WWF in the late-90’s.
“You’ve got four guys that were basically going at Vince as a shoot, pushing hard to actually try to take over,” Hogan told ESPN’s Marc Raimondi. “Not put him out of business but basically take his spot and be the No. 1 company. All of a sudden, you’re inducting four guys in the Hall of Fame that 20 years ago were trying to stab you in the back. It’s like Vince says: In the WWE, never say never.”
Hogan was first inducted in 2005, Hall (as “Razor Ramon”) in 2014, Nash in 2015, and Waltman (as part of D-Generation X) last year.
The 2020 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is set to take place on Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.