Former WWE Champion and Hollywood star Batista returned to action for the first time in five years at WrestleMania 35, where he lost a vicious No Holds Barred bout to his longtime friend and rival Triple H. "The Animal" saw the match as the final chapter in his professional wrestling career, as he announced shortly afterwards that he was retiring for good.
"To all the WWE fans across the world that gave me the opportunity to suspend your disbelief, thank you," Batista wrote in his announcement post on Instagram. "From the biggest part of my heart thank you for letting me entertain you. Tonight was my story book ending and I wanted to leave you with all I had to give. I'll miss this theater of violence more than I can express in words but I am officially retiring from Sports Entertainment. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, I leave in great health, and without a doubt the show will go on. I had a hell of a run. Thank you for the journey."
With his retirement came speculation that he would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at some point down the road. In an interview on the Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia podcast days before WrestleMania 35, Batista explained that the induction will come sooner than later.
"I don't know if it'll be next year or the year after, eventually I will," Batista said, adding that he already knows who will induct him when the time comes. "Vince has talked to me about it years back. And the reason I said I wasn't interested (is) because I didn't feel like I had closure in my career. When I'm ready to hang up my boots is when I'll go into the Hall of Fame."
"It's an acknowledgement of the success you've had in your career," he added. "But to be honest, that formal night (where) people acknowledge it doesn't mean more to me than the fans in the arena and stadiums acknowledging it right there on the spot. That's what it's all about. Entertaining people right there on the spot. That's the acknowledgement."
Since making his WWE debut in 2002, Batista has been a six-time world champion, a four-time tag team champion and a two-time Royal Rumble winner. He competed in the main event of WrestleMania on two occasions, beating Triple H at WrestleMania 21 and losing to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX.
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