Batista and Triple H were instrumental in drawing one of WWE's highest ever buyrates in 2005. WrestleMania 21 smashed expectations carried by a superlative programme between the warring former Evolution stablemates, even though it wasn't even on the whiteboard six months earlier. 'The Animal's spot belonged to Randy Orton before 'The Game' shovelled so much sh*t on the newly-minted babyface that it took several factory resets to remotely restore the 'Legend Killer's once-white hot aura.
The mistreatment just seemed too perfect not to be by design. Hunter's portrayal of a jealous psychopath when Randy scooped 'his' World Title in August 2004 (itself a premature push simply engineered to recent refugee Brock Lesnar didn't have the 'youngest champion' record) would have been so much better had it ended in his own tears rather than Orton's. Instead, Randy was violently ex-communicated from the group, literally chased out of the ring by the tougher heels and eventually beaten in his first shot under the proviso that he'd get his big win in the end.
Hunter and history rewrote that arc entirely, with 'The Apex Predator' falling foul of 'The King Of Kings' yet again in angles in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Triple H's babyface turn was just one more excuse to ensure Orton's routinely injured shoulders stayed down for the count.
It's presumably deep paranoia motivating such a lengthy and concentrated period of tacit and overt desecration. May John Cena's own Hollywood aspirations indicate why he's been so ruthlessly cruel to WWE's own 'A-Lister'?
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.