Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista returned to WWE Raw to challenge Triple H for WrestleMania, and "The Game" accepted the match. While Bautista is quickly carving out a respectable acting career in Hollywood, the roots of his status as a celebrity will always trace back to WWE. Bautista got into the pro wrestling game a lot later in life than most athletes, not wrestling his first match until the age of 30, and not debuting in WWE until he was already 33-years-old. Still, that didn't stop Bautista from quickly becoming a top star in the business.
Bautista rose through the ranks as part of the heel faction Evolution, alongside Triple H, Ric Flair, and Randy Orton. By 2005, he had turned face and left the group, winning his first WWE world championship from HHH at WrestleMania XXI. He would go on to have several great matches with his former Evolution leader, and Triple H is definitely one of Bautista's greatest ever in-ring rivals.
Despite Bautista's legacy of success in WWE, he hasn't always gotten along well with company management, including Triple H. Bautista left WWE for the first time in 2010 over creative differences, returning in 2014 for another short run before once again departing due to backstage clashes over his character's storylines. However, a final confrontation between Bautista and HHH has been heavily rumored for months now for WrestleMania, and on tonight's episode of Raw, the two titans finally made the showdown official.
The seeds for this WrestleMania encounter were planted back in October on the 1000th episode of WWE SmackDown, which saw an Evolution reunion. During the segment, Bautista made reference to the fact that despite all their matches, Triple H had never beaten him. Things got awkward, but cooler heads prevailed, and a group hug was had. There were no hugs two weeks ago on Raw when Bautista crashed Flair's 70th birthday party though, beating down the 16-time world champion backstage. This led HHH to demand Bautista meet him face to face this week, leading Bautista to lay down the challenge, and his old rival to accept.
This won't just be any normal match though, as Triple H quickly declared that he and Bautista will face off in a No Holds Barred match, meaning anything goes and weapons are not only legal but encouraged. Bautista also seemed to imply that the match might come with a "loser must retire" stipulation, but that particular wrinkle hasn't been confirmed by WWE yet. With this announcement, Bautista vs. HHH joins other high-profile WrestleMania matches like Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey.