Two of the most notable acts to come out of professional wrestling, Dave Bautista and The nWo, will be inducted into WWE’s 2020 Hall of Fame Class. Relaunched in 2004 to coincide with Wrestlemania, the ceremony resumed its purpose of honoring professional wrestlers. Beginning with the 2005, festivities aired on USA Network. When WWE kicked off its streaming service in 2014, the ceremony went live on a regular, annual basis. Given these changes, the one-time lowkey event grew in relevance. It has been routine for major publications to break news regarding the performers which will make up the next set of inductees. The class is usually a mix of underappreciated athletes, famous WWE fans, and megastars. The first two announcements this year naturally fall into the latter category.

In the case of Bautista, the vast majority of moviegoers will recognize him as Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even beyond that iconic role, however, the former superstar has managed to carve out a reliable space for himself in big blockbuster movies. Prior to his run in Hollywood though, he was known as simply ‘Batista.’ Under the moniker, he became one of WWE’s top stars. Bautista was either a champion, or challenging for a championship, so often that it became a running joke with viewers. Since his big break in the MCU, Bautista has competed in the ring for short stints at a time. He officially retired following Wrestlemania 35, after a match with his archnemesis Triple H.

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According to People, Bautista will lead WWE’s 2020 Hall of Fame Class. He will be joined, per ESPN, by four core members of the nWo: Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman. Universally regarded as one of the main draws during an era (the 1990s) when professional wrestling was at the peak of its mainstream popularity, the influence of the foursome is still felt today.

Most crucial to the act’s enduring significance was that it stood as a symbol of WWE’s war with WCW. In effect, the group had turned WCW into a real competitor for WWE; serving as one of the most important ingredients for a ratings battle which is still debated today. WWE eventually won the war, buying WCW and turning the purchase into a storyline. But, unarguably, the nWo is a key reason why the competition between the two companies was so compelling in the first place.

It will be the second time each of the nWo’s four core members receive recognition from WWE. Hulk Hogan has been inducted in the Hall of Fame for his success as a singles competitor, as have Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. In the case of Sean Waltman, he was honored as part of the D-Generation X faction this past year.

Given the contentious history the nWo had with WWE, emblematic of WCW’s wider rivalry between the two promotions, it’s a moment which would have been unimaginable decades ago. For Bautista, he might just find his induction a little ironic. The actor has spoken in the past of how WWE seemed reluctant to promote his role in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise because they weren’t sure if the comic book adaptation would be successful. Now however, WWE will have a Hollywood heavyweight at the top of their Hall of Fame class on April 2, 2020.

More: Dave Bautista’s 10 Best Movies, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Source: People, ESPN

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