WM30 Orton v Batista

At WrestleMania 30 on Sunday, April 6, six-time World Champion Batista returns to The Grandest Stage of Them All to challenge The Face of WWE, Randy Orton, for the most prestigious title in all of sports-entertainment, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The championship battle will etch not only a new chapter in The Show of Shows’ already illustrious history, but also the latest development in the years-long competition between The Animal and The Viper, former Evolution cohorts.

Batista punched his ticket to a WrestleMania main event in New Orleans by overcoming 29 other Superstars to win the Royal Rumble Match in January. The contest was his first match back after a nearly four-year absence from the ring. Upon returning to WWE, the always-candid Batista made his objective perfectly clear: to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title in the main event of WrestleMania 30.

Although Orton has knowingly eyed Batista as his No. 1 contender since Royal Rumble, The Viper’s path to the main event of The Showcase of the Immortals was anything but guaranteed. To ensure his spot, Orton had to first survive a supremely competitive Elimination Chamber Match lineup on Feb. 23 with his championship reign intact. Thanks in part to interference by Bray Wyatt and Kane — each of whom took John Cena and Daniel Bryan out of the championship picture, respectively — WWE’s Apex Predator slithered out of the Chamber with the title still his.

Now, The Face of WWE is set on a collision course with a Superstar who is all too familiar with his ruthless mindset.

Orton and Batista spent their formative years together as the two junior members of Evolution — one of the most powerful factions in wrestling history, guided by Triple H and WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. Although they spent many months fighting side-by-side, Batista and Orton’s subsequent ring wars are also well documented. Batista even dethroned Orton to win his first WWE Championship in June 2009 – in New Orleans, no less.

Both Superstars have grown by leaps and bounds since their nascent days as mere pupils of The Game and “The Nature Boy.” Despite his hiatus from the ring, Batista — newly empowered by his Jiu-Jitsu studies — has proven in his comeback to be every bit as destructive as he was years ago. Former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio found that out the hard way at Elimination Chamber, when Batista downed him with an explosive Batista Bomb. And even though Orton’s merit to be called The Face of WWE has been called into question, there is no denying The Viper has found ways to hold onto the WWE World Heavyweight Title in even the direst of straits.

With the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight Titles last December, this year marks the first time in more than a decade that there has been a single World Champion at WrestleMania, adding an even greater air of grandiosity to the proceedings. Will The Viper slither out of New Orleans and continue his historic title reign? Or, will Batista complete his stated goal and stand alone as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion?

WrestleMania 30 previews

Randy Orton v BatistaUndertaker v Brock LesnarJohn Cena v Brat WyattDaniel Bryan v Triple H
Battle RoyalTag Title MatchDivas Invitational6-Man Tag Match