While Evolution is fondly remembered as one of the strongest factions in WWE in the 21st century, the group’s initial start was rocked with uncertainty, especially with Batista.
Batista was initially part of the quartet that included Triple H, Randy Orton and Ric Flair, but Batista was sidelined with an injury and out for months. During that period, there was a bit of a trial period behind-the-scenes of having Mark Jindrak replace Batista.
Ultimately, the idea never stuck and Batista remained with the group, but in the “Ruthless Aggression” docu-series on the WWE Network, Batista discussed Jindrak being in the faction.
“I started hearing rumors that said they might replace me and that they were looking at Mark Jindrak,” Batista said.
Jindrak was also a part of the documentary and talked about potentially being a permanent member. Jindrak, who was close friends with Orton in the early 2000s, said he didn’t fully appreciate what was presented to him when he was being considered as Batista’s replacement.
“So when I heard about this Evolution thing that I was going to be a part of it with Randy Orton, off-camera, we were boys. But being in a group with Ric Flair and Triple H, that was crazy, that was amazing,” Jindrak said. “But I was a little immature, I think. I knew I was receiving an opportunity, but I didn’t know how immense it was, or that I was too young or too stupid to understand what it really meant.”
After Triple H revealed in the documentary that he felt like Jindrak didn’t belong in the group and did not mesh well, Batista admitted that he was upset by the thought of him being replaced. Batista later said he knew he belonged in the faction when he returned and the four-man group was finally complete.
“Some people thought that [Jindrak] had been replaced with me, which irked the sh*t out of me because that was always my spot and they held out and passed on Mark Jindrak and waited for me to return and get that spot… They believed in me enough that they waited and knew that I belonged in that position and they waited for me to come back. That’s when Evolution really got strong,” Batista said.
The episode of “Ruthless Aggression” can be seen on the WWE Network.