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Dave Bautista set for 2020 WWE Hall of Fame class

By Dave Meltzer and Joseph Currier

WWE is getting an early start on 2020's Hall of Fame announcements.

In addition to the nWo (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Sean "X-Pac" Waltman) being inducted, WWE has announced that Dave Bautista is going into their Hall of Fame during WrestleMania week in April.

“Vince [McMahon] called me personally to ask me, I was just … I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy," Bautista told People. "It’s a good feeling, it’s a really great feeling.”

Bautista spent his entire career with WWE. He wasn't picked up after a WCW tryout, which, given his look, tells you about their talent judgment. He was signed for OVW and became an immediate favorite of Jim Cornette, who booked him as the monster Leviathan. As it turned out, his WWE run was completely different. After a failed debut as Deacon Batista, he became "The Animal" Batista, handpicked to be part of Evolution, with Ric Flair, Triple H, and Randy Orton. Essentially the idea was that Flair was a legend from the prior generation, Triple H was a current legend, and Batista and Orton were groomed to carry the company in the future.

While Orton was the original pick to be the breakout future star to first feud with Triple H, Batista had the more immediate success. In particular, the Batista vs. Triple H WrestleMania 21 match drew what was the most money of any pro wrestling event in history up to that point in time and is still the fourth biggest PPV event in pro wrestling history. For several years, it was Batista and John Cena who were the top full-time stars until Batista left the company to go into Hollywood.

He made two comebacks, both of which led to major WrestleMania matches and announced his retirement after last year's show when he put over Triple H.

He's become a successful actor, appearing in leading roles of a number of movies, and is best known for Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The 2020 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is taking place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, April 2. The ceremony has been moved to Thursday due to SmackDown now being on Friday.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame ceremony are going on sale to the general public this Friday (December 13).