When WWE first started announcing the lineup for the WWE Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 its headliners included four members of the New World Order (all of whom have already been inducted once) and former WWE Champion Batista. "The Animal" declared his retirement following his match with Triple H at WrestleMania 35 and was unquestionably one of WWE's biggest stars of the Ruthless Aggression and PG Eras. However, without any announcement or explanation, Batista's name has been removed from this year's induction ceremony lineup. Both the 2020 and 2021 classes will be inducted in the same ceremony on April 6 after last year's induction was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The class now consists of Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman (as The New World Order), Eric Bischoff, Molly Holly, The Bella Twins, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, The British Bulldog, and Jushin "Thunder Liger. Neither WWE nor Batista have commented on the removal as of now.
It's entirely possible that the removal is a mistake on WWE.com's part, or that Batista's induction was pushed to the 2022 Class when fans will be able to attend. This year's ceremony will be held inside the WWE ThunderDome.
"To all the @wwe fans across the world that gave me the opportunity to suspend your disbelief, thank you," Batista wrote in his announcement back in 2019. "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."
"I don't think it's sunk in," the Guardians of the Galaxy star told WWE.com back when the announcement was first made official. "And I was thinking about it because I mean, it seems like a long journey, but it also feels like yesterday when I started my career. And it also feels ... because I'm still working so much, it doesn't feel like an end of a journey."
"And I said that at WrestleMania last year: It's the end of my in-ring journey, but it's not the end of my journey with the WWE," he added. "I will always be connected with them, I'll always be affiliated with them, I hope that I will always have a good relationship with them. So it doesn't really feel like an ending for me, it feels like, kind of, I'm right in the mix. ... All I can say is it feels good, it's just satisfying. I feel like I accomplished something. I feel like it was all worth it."