In 2005, WWE decided to expand their annual pay per view series by having two in the month of January. In addition to the traditional Royal Rumble event, Eric Bischoff conspired an event named New Year's Revolution to determine the World Heavyweight Champion.
Back in 2004, Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit at SummerSlam to become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history. During this time, he was also a member of the elite group named Evolution. Benoit had an opportunity to regain the title on an episode of Raw, but was unsuccessful due to interference from Evolution. After the match, a celebration was conducted for Randy Orton with Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista.
So he thought.
During the celebration, Batista hoisted Orton up in what he thought was a gesture of celebration, but what truly turned out to be an electric chair drop. Orton was kicked out of Evolution, and he lost the title to Triple H at the following PPV, Unforgiven.
Orton was unable to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship, but did become General Manager for one week after winning the elimination match at Survivor Series. During his run as GM, he scheduled a Triple Threat match on Raw, pitting Triple H defending his title against Edge and Chris Benoit. The end of that match saw Chris Benoit getting pinned and Edge tapping out simultaneously, which eventually caused the title to be vacant.
This led to the Elimination Chamber match, at the inaugural New Year's Revolution pay-per-view event, held on January 9, 2005. Orton sought to get revenge from his former Evolution members; however, the three-man group were showing a crack in the formation, as Batista started showing signs of vying for the title. The end of the match saw Triple H victorious, but it was the start of Batista becoming a top guy for the company.
Later that month, Batista won the Royal Rumble, and had an opportunity to chose between World Heavyweight Champion Triple and WWE Champion JBL to compete against at WrestleMania 21. In a surprising turn of events, Batista chose Triple H, powerbombed him through a table, turned babyface, and eventually won the match at WrestleMania to become the next World Heavyweight Champion.
2005 was unquestionably the year that Batista became a star in the WWE.
Happy New Year! I'd love to chat with you all more personally in 2014. Follow @cravewrestling; I can talk wrestling all day.