Former UFC Star Ronda Rousey is set to team with Kurt Angle to take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon on Sunday in a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania 34. However, according to recent reports, that match came close to looking a lot different.
Both the Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Sheet confirmed this week that former world champion and Hollywood action star Dave Bautista was in talks with the company to team up with Rousey for the match prior to Angle being selected. The Observer's Dave Meltzer went so far as to say there were multiple talks between "The Animal" and Hunter.
The Sheet's Ryan Satin reports that the match was going to set the seeds for a singles match between Bautista and Triple H at WrestleMania 35, a rematch of their iconic bout for the World Heavyweight Championship back at WrestleMania 21. However the talks suddenly stopped in January.
"We're told the last conversation they had was in January and the actor had a strong feeling he was booked for Mania, but then he never heard from Triple H or anyone in WWE again," Satin reported. "Two months later, Angle was announced as Rousey's partner — without so much as a courtesy call to say they were going in a different direction or an update when Bautista reached out to them."
Bautista has said in interviews as recently as March that he'd like to come back to the company, and claimed to be very vocal about it to the WWE staff.
Why WWE chose Angle over the Guardians of the Galaxy actor is unknown.
Bautista first signed with the WWE in 2000, and reached main event status five years later after leaving the Evolution faction and becoming a world champion. He went on to be a six-time world champ, feuding with the likes of The Undertaker, John Cena, Edge and Rey Mysterio before leaving the company in 2010.
He initially returned to wrestling as a babyface in 2013 and won the 2014 Royal Rumble match, but quickly flipped to heel as Daniel Bryan was inserted into the main event WWE Championship scene for WrestleMania XXX. He stuck around for several months after as Evolution reunited to feud with The Shield, but by June he was gone once again.
Bautista has gone on to find great success in his acting career, playing Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise (as well as the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War film releasing on April 27) and starring in films like Blade Runner 2049 and Spectre.