|Intro||American actor and professional wrestler|
|A.K.A.||Batista, David Michael Bautista, Jr.|
|Is||Actor Film actor Screenwriter Wrestler Athlete Film producer Mixed martial artist|
|From||United States of America Brazil|
|Birth||18 January 1969, Arlington County, USA|
David Michael Bautista Jr. (born January 18, 1969) is an American actor, retired professional wrestler, former mixed martial artist and bodybuilder.
Bautista began his wrestling career in 1999, and signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 2000. From 2002 to 2010, he gained fame under the ring name Batista and became a six-time world champion by winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice. He holds the record for the longest reign as World Heavyweight Champion at 282 days and has also won the World Tag Team Championship three times (twice with Ric Flair and once with John Cena) and the WWE Tag Team Championship once (with Rey Mysterio). He was the winner of the 2005 Royal Rumble match and went on to headline WrestleMania 21, one of the top five highest-grossing pay-per-view events in professional wrestling history. Bautista re-signed with WWE in 2013, going on to win the 2014 Royal Rumble match and headline WrestleMania XXX before again departing that June. In October 2018, Batista made his second return to WWE and faced Triple H at WrestleMania 35 in April 2019, before retiring from wrestling.
Bautista began acting in 2006 and has starred in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Riddick (2013), the James Bond film Spectre (2015), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has played the role of Drax the Destroyer in the films Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). He has also appeared in several direct-to-video films since 2009.
In August 2012, Bautista signed a contract with Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight in mixed martial arts (MMA). He won his lone MMA fight on October 6, 2012, defeating Vince Lucero via TKO in the first round.
David Michael Bautista Jr. was born on January 18, 1969, in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia, the son of Donna Raye (née Mullins) and hairdresser David Michael Bautista. His mother is of Greek descent, while his father is the son of Filipino immigrants. His paternal grandfather served in the Philippine military, worked as a taxi driver and barber, and held other jobs to feed the family. Bautista has said that he lived in poverty, and that he had a hard life—before he reached the age of nine, three murders had occurred on his front lawn. As young as age 13, he was stealing cars. By age 17, Bautista was estranged from his parents and lived on his own. He later admitted, "I am proud of my parents. They are good, honest, hard-working folks. They taught me the values of working hard." He was a nightclub bouncer until he was arrested after a fight that left two patrons injured, one of whom was rendered unconscious. After a trial, he was sentenced to one year of probation. He also worked as a lifeguard before pursuing a career in bodybuilding, crediting the latter with saving his life.
During his wrestling career, Bautista went by the moniker "Batista" with a modified spelling. When he went into acting, he reverted to the original spelling of his last name, billed as Dave Bautista in all film credits.
Professional wrestling career
Training and early career (1999–2000)
Bautista tried out at the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Power Plant, but was told he would never make it in the wrestling business by Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. He then went to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), who advised him to train with Afa Anoaʻi in the Wild Samoan Training Center wrestling school, where he went to train and compete in Anoa'i's World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) promotion. He had his debut match as Khan on October 30, 1999. Bautista also trained with Marrese Crump in Muay Thai and Eskrima. Most recently, he trained at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar Gracie and has become a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
Ohio Valley Wrestling (2000–2002)
Upon signing with the WWF in 2000, Bautista was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), a WWF developmental territory. He made his OVW debut later that year under the ring name Leviathan, where he immediately joined forces with Synn. As a member of the Disciples of Synn stable, he went undefeated until being beaten at Christmas Chaos by Kane with help from Stone Cold Steve Austin. He later won the OVW Heavyweight Championship from "The Machine" Doug Basham before losing the belt to The Prototype. A few months later, Bautista left OVW after he was promoted to WWE's main roster.
Early storylines (2002–2003)
While still in OVW, Bautista began appearing on non-televised WWE events. He began his televised WWE career on May 9, 2002 on an episode of SmackDown! as Deacon Batista, a villainous enforcer for Reverend D-Von. He made his WWE in-ring debut in a tag team match teaming with D-Von against Faarooq and Randy Orton, pinning Orton. Over several weeks, Orton tried to beat D-Von and Batista with different partners, but ultimately lost each time. Batista suffered his first loss in a match against Rikishi after D-Von accidentally punched him, allowing Rikishi to take advantage and pin Batista. Batista and D-Von argued over the forthcoming weeks, with Batista eventually turning on D-Von. On the November 14 episode of SmackDown!, Batista defeated D-Von to end their feud. After splitting with D'Von, he was assigned to the Raw brand and was renamed Batista. He aligned himself with Ric Flair and feuded with Kane, whom he defeated at Armageddon.
In January 2003, Batista joined Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton to form the villainous stable Evolution. Batista, however, was sidelined for much of 2003 after he tore his right triceps muscle at a Raw live event in a tag team match alongside Randy Orton against The Dudley Boyz. While training after the injury, Batista re-tore his triceps, extending his stay on the sidelines. Batista made his return on October 20 episode of Raw, interfering in a match between Goldberg and Shawn Michaels and "shattering" Goldberg's ankle with a chair. After the interference, Evolution came out, and Triple H rewarded Batista with $100,000. On November 10 episode of Raw, Goldberg defeated Batista by disqualification when Triple H interfered.
At Armageddon, Batista took part in two matches; losing to Shawn Michaels in a singles match, and winning a tag team turmoil match along with Ric Flair to become one-half of the World Tag Team Champions. By the end of the event, all four members of Evolution held every male championship on Raw, with Triple H winning the World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton winning the Intercontinental Championship. They held the title until February 16, 2004 episode of Raw, when they were defeated by Booker T and Rob Van Dam. They later regained the title for a short period.
At Survivor Series, Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky and Edge were defeated by Maven, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Randy Orton in an eight-man elimination tag team match for control of Raw over the following month; the members of the winning team would each be the Raw general manager for a week. Throughout the next two months, the relationship between Batista and Triple H began to deteriorate. After a loss to Chris Jericho, Triple H verbally insulted Batista. Batista teased leaving Evolution that night, but declared that he was still part of Evolution and that they tricked everyone. Despite this ploy, Batista began behaving more like a fan favorite over the next few weeks in comparison to Evolution's villainous tactics. One particular moment saw Batista express disgust as Triple H and Ric Flair boasted about how they had intimidated and/or beat up Jim Ross, Danny Hodge, and Stacy Keibler. Regardless, he continued to show his loyalty to Triple H and Evolution by running down to the ring and assisting them in matches.
As 2005 began, Triple H realized the possibility of Batista becoming a threat to his World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H suggested that he not enter the Royal Rumble, claiming that it would be selfish of him to do so, and to simply focus on Triple H retaining the title. Batista entered anyway and went on to win the Rumble earning the right to participate in the main event of WrestleMania 21 against the World Champion of his choice. In an attempt to persuade Batista to challenge WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield and challenger John Cena in a triple-threat match rather than him, Triple H concocted a scheme to have Batista run over in a limousine resembling the one used by Layfield. Initially, Dave did not want help from Evolution and wanted to confront JBL by himself. Triple H insisted that Evolution stick together and accompanied Dave anyway, saving him from the oncoming vehicle. Batista became aware of the plot while sneakily eavesdropping on fellow Evolution members and signed a contract guaranteeing him a match with the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H at WrestleMania 21, thus leaving Evolution and officially turning into a fan favorite. Batista initially pretended that he would sign with SmackDown!, giving Triple H and Flair the "thumbs up", but turned it into a "thumbs down" before attacking the pair. He emphasized his departure by powerbombing Triple H through the table used for the contract signing.
World Heavyweight Champion (2005–2008)
Batista won the World Heavyweight Championship on April 3 in the main event of WrestleMania 21. WrestleMania 21 received 1.09 million pay-per-view buys worldwide – the then-highest ever number of buys for any non-boxing pay-per-view. Batista's match with Triple H was described by sports journalist Dave Meltzer as "the peak of one of [WWE's] best storylines in years". Batista won a rematch with Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash. After Batista retained his title against Edge, he was betrayed by Ric Flair, who helped Triple H viciously attack the champion as Triple H challenged Batista to a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance. Batista won the match at Vengeance, retaining his title yet again. With this win, Batista became the first wrestler to pin Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.
On June 30, Batista was drafted to SmackDown! as the last pick in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery, making a surprise appearance to attack JBL, who was celebrating his victory in a six-man elimination match to crown the inaugural "SmackDown! Champion". JBL defeated Batista at The Great American Bash by disqualification after the referee saw Batista use a steel chair. They had a rematch at SummerSlam in a No Holds Barred match in which Batista pinned JBL. The feud culminated in a Bull Rope match with Batista retaining his championship. Soon after retaining the title in a feud with Eddie Guerrero, WWE.com reported that Batista suffered a muscle tear in his back at the taping for November 11 episode of SmackDown! due to a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane. Plans had been made for Batista to defend the title in a Triple Threat match with Eddie Guerrero and Randy Orton on November 18 episode, but the match did not take place due to the unexpected death of Guerrero on November 13, the date of the taping. Batista paid homage to Guerrero during the SmackDown! and Raw tribute shows dedicated to Guerrero's memory.
Batista led Team SmackDown! against Team Raw in an inter-brand feud before Survivor Series. The feud saw Big Show and Kane chokeslamming Batista several more times in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series in an on-camera explanation for Batista's injury. Batista ultimately helped his team win the match. After Batista saved Rey Mysterio from Big Show and Kane, Mysterio teamed with Batista to face the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon.
On December 16 episode of SmackDown!, Batista and Mysterio defeated WWE Tag Team Champions MNM to win the titles in a match they dedicated to Eddie Guerrero, and thus Batista became a double champion. After this, the clash with Big Show and Kane at Armageddon turned into a Champions vs. Champions encounter. Batista and Mysterio lost to Big Show and Kane at Armageddon. Two weeks later on SmackDown!, MNM defeated Batista and Mysterio after help from the returning Mark Henry to regain the WWE Tag Team Championships. During the interference, Henry attacked Batista, and performed his World's Strongest Slam. The teams met again in a steel cage match that Henry also became involved in, and Batista and Mysterio were defeated again. Batista tore his right triceps during a match with Mark Henry at a house show on January 6, forcing him to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship at the SmackDown! tapings on January 13, two days after surpassing Triple H's previous mark of 280 days for longest reigning champion. In his book, Batista Unleashed, Batista said that he believed that Henry was "careless" during their match as he never gave Batista any warning that the move was coming. Batista went on to have successful surgery on his arm on January 12.
Batista made an appearance at No Way Out and told the crowd that once his arm had healed he would return to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 22, he interrupted a Randy Orton interview, putting SmackDown! on notice that the World Heavyweight Championship would return to him by WrestleMania 23.
Batista made his official return during July 7 episode of SmackDown! immediately calling out and entering into a feud with Mark Henry. At Saturday Night's Main Event XXXIII, Batista won a six-man tag match with teammates Rey Mysterio and Bobby Lashley, defeating World Heavyweight Champion King Booker, Finlay, and Mark Henry. Henry was legitimately injured and was ruled out of the scheduled match between the two at The Great American Bash, thus further delaying a potential feud between the two after being delayed by Batista's initial injury.
Batista put out an open challenge to replace the injured Henry, which was answered by Mr. Kennedy. Batista lost this match via disqualification for failing to stop choking Mr. Kennedy into the turnbuckle with his boot, but continued to attack Kennedy resulting in a laceration on his forehead so severe that it exposed his cranium and required more than 20 stitches to close. Batista lost another match with Kennedy via count out in a rematch on SmackDown! before finally defeating Kennedy by pinfall on August 4 episode of SmackDown!.
Batista faced Big Show for the ECW World Championship on the August 1 episode of ECW, winning the match by disqualification but failing to win the championship as titles cannot change hands by disqualification. He then set his sights on King Booker's World Heavyweight Championship, with the two facing in a match for the title at SummerSlam on August 20. However, Batista also won this match by disqualification. Batista continued his pursuit of the championship, failing to capture it once again in a fatal-four way at No Mercy in October also involving Finlay and Bobby Lashley, before finally defeating Booker to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series on November 26. The following month at Armageddon, Batista teamed with John Cena to defeat King Booker and Finlay, putting an end to the rivalry.
Going into 2007, Batista began a short feud with Mr. Kennedy over the championship. Batista retained the championship over Kennedy at the Royal Rumble on January 28. Batista's next challenger was The Undertaker, the winner of the Royal Rumble match. The two formed a reluctant alliance to face John Cena and Shawn Michaels for the World Tag Team Championship at No Way Out in February, which they lost after Undertaker turned on Batista midway through the match. At WrestleMania 23 on April 1, Batista lost the World Heavyweight Championship to The Undertaker. They continued their feud with a Last Man Standing match at Backlash later that month, which ended in a draw. The two wrestled again in a Steel Cage Match on the May 11 episode of SmackDown!, which also ended in draw. Following the match, Edge took advantage and won the title from The Undertaker by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Afterward, Batista challenged Edge unsuccessfully for the World Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day, One Night Stand (in a Steel Cage Match), and Vengeance: Night of Champions (in a Last Chance match). The loss at Vengeance stipulated that Batista could no longer get another chance at the World Heavyweight Championship while Edge remained champion.
Batista accepted an open challenge from The Great Khali at The Great American Bash. Edge relinquished the title due to an injury the week before the pay-per-view, and Khali became the new World Heavyweight Champion, winning a Battle Royal and eliminating Batista. Batista and Kane, Edge's title opponent, faced Khali at The Great American Bash in a Triple Threat match where Khali retained the title. Batista received a disqualification victory against Khali at SummerSlam after Khali used a steel chair, thus retaining the title again. Batista finally claimed his third World Heavyweight Championship after eight consecutive attempts, by defeating Khali in a match that included Rey Mysterio at Unforgiven. His first challenge was from The Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match at No Mercy where Batista retained his title. He won the match by leaping from the inner bamboo structure to the outer one, shortening his escape route and beating Khali to the floor.
After the return of The Undertaker at Unforgiven, the duo reignited their feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose Stone Cold Steve Austin as the Special Guest Referee. Batista pinned The Undertaker after two Batista Bombs. The feud continued with a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series. During the match, Edge returned and interfered by giving The Undertaker a con-chair-to. He then pulled an unconscious Batista on top of The Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. At Armageddon, Edge won a Triple Threat match, alongside The Undertaker for Batista's World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista appeared in the Royal Rumble and was eliminated by Triple H. At No Way Out, he was part of the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match and eliminated Big Daddy V, but was last eliminated by The Undertaker. At WrestleMania XXIV, he defeated Umaga in an interpromotional match. After Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair at the same event, Batista began a feud with Michaels, calling him selfish and egotistical. The two faced off at Backlash with Chris Jericho as the Special Guest referee. Michaels won after faking a knee injury and performing Sweet Chin Music. Batista then defeated Michaels at One Night Stand in a stretcher match, thus ending their feud.
On June 23, Batista was drafted from SmackDown to the Raw brand during the 2008 WWE Draft. Batista became a World Tag Team Champion for a third time on August 4 episode of Raw when he teamed up with John Cena to defeat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase for the title, but they failed to retain the titles against the former champions on the next episode of Raw. Batista defeated Cena at SummerSlam.
On October 26 at Cyber Sunday, Batista defeated Chris Jericho for his fourth World Heavyweight Championship in a match in which Stone Cold Steve Austin was voted in as the special guest referee. Batista's reign, however, only lasted eight days when Jericho won the title back in a Steel Cage match on a three-hour special episode of Raw.
Batista then entered a feud with former Evolution partner, Randy Orton; at Survivor Series, Batista led a team of himself, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and R-Truth to face the team of Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, and Mark Henry. Orton's team won with Orton pinning Batista, winning the match for his team. His feud with Orton continued up to Armageddon where Batista defeated Orton. On December 15 episode of Raw, Batista was put into a handicap match against The Legacy with John Cena as his partner. During the match, Orton struck Batista with a punt to the head. Batista was knocked out and put out of action indefinitely due to a storyline head injury. WWE.com later reported that Batista elected to undergo surgery to repair a hamstring tear. His hamstring was injured at SummerSlam, in the same match that John Cena was forced out of action with a neck injury. He was expected to be out of action for six to eight months.
WWE Champion (2009–2010)
Batista returned on the Raw after WrestleMania XXV, to save Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon from The Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr.). Vince McMahon then scheduled Batista to team up with WWE Champion Triple H and Shane McMahon to face The Legacy at Backlash. During the match, Batista had brought out a chair, but Triple H tried to stop him, so they would not get disqualified. This distraction however, cost Triple H his championship, after he lost it to Orton. The following night on Raw, Batista won a singles match against Big Show due to a distraction by John Cena, to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship at Judgment Day, which he won by disqualification. Batista went on to defeat Orton in a rematch at Extreme Rules in a Steel Cage match to capture the WWE Championship. However, on June 8 episode of Raw, Batista was to vacate the title due to a staged brutal attack by Orton and the Legacy. It was later revealed that Batista had suffered a legitimate torn left biceps similar to what he suffered in 2006. Legacy was given on-screen credit for his injury.
Batista returned on the September 14 episode of Raw with his arm still in a vice. Randy Orton, assuming Batista was retiring, claimed that he ended Batista's career. Batista then removed his arm vice, which turned to be fake, and attacked Orton. He then stated that he would not retire, but move to SmackDown instead. Later that night, he defeated Orton in a no-holds barred match which was to be his last match on Raw.
Following his return to SmackDown, Batista defeated Unified Tag Team Champions Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and The Big Show) in singles competition. These two victories culminated in a tag team title match against Jeri-Show with his partner Rey Mysterio on October 4 at Hell in a Cell, which Jeri-Show won. That same month at Bragging Rights, Batista was unsuccessful in winning the World Heavyweight Championship in a Fatal Four-Way match including CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, and champion and event winner The Undertaker. During the match, Mysterio broke up Batista's pin on Undertaker possibly costing him the match and the title. After the match, Batista and Mysterio appeared to patch things up, but Batista said he was tired of coming so close only to be stabbed in the back and told Mysterio he was going to rip his head off. Batista proceeded to brutally attack Mysterio, turning heel in the process. Batista faced Mysterio on November 22 at Survivor Series, where Batista won via referee stoppage after delivering three Batista Bombs to Mysterio. Batista defeated Mysterio again in a street fight on the December 11 episode of SmackDown. A few weeks later, Batista lost to Mysterio in a number one contenders match for the World Heavyweight Championship; Mysterio's title match against The Undertaker ended as a no-contest after interference from Batista. On December 13 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Batista faced Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Chairs match. Batista initially won the match and the title, but SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long reversed the decision because Batista had hit Undertaker with a low blow behind the referee's back. The match was restarted with The Undertaker winning and retaining the championship.
At the Royal Rumble in January 2010, Batista entered the titular match at number thirty, but failed to win as he was eliminated by John Cena. Batista then became involved in WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Bret Hart's rivalry by assisting McMahon in attacking Hart; John Cena attempted to save Hart, but was assaulted by Batista. On February 21 at Elimination Chamber, as payment for Batista attacking Hart, McMahon allowed Batista to face Cena for the WWE Championship immediately after Cena won the title in an Elimination Chamber match. Batista won the match and thus his second WWE Championship, which resulted in Batista moving back to Raw. On March 28 at WrestleMania XXVI, Batista lost the WWE Championship to John Cena in a rematch, ending his reign at 35 days. Batista received his rematch for the title in a Last Man Standing match on April 25 at Extreme Rules, but was defeated by Cena after Cena duct-taped his legs around a ring post, preventing him from standing up. Batista and Cena faced off once again for the WWE Championship on May 23 at Over the Limit, but he failed again to regain the title from Cena in an "I Quit" match, quitting as Cena threatened to give him the Attitude Adjustment off the roof of a car. Cena did so anyway, throwing Batista off of the car and through the stage below.
The following night on Raw, Batista opened the show in a wheelchair and claimed that he would be pursuing legal action against Cena and WWE for his injuries (which he revealed in 2014 to be a legitimate compression fracture of his L1 spine). His promo was interrupted by new Raw General Manager Bret Hart, who ordered he face an injured Randy Orton to qualify for a shot at WWE Championship against Cena again at the new Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view. Batista refused and quit the company after Hart named Orton winner by forfeit. His profile was subsequently moved to the alumni page on WWE's website. He later said in an interview that he left WWE because he "did not like the direction the company was going in".
Return to WWE (2013–2014)
On the December 23, 2013 episode of Raw, a vignette advertised the return of Batista on January 20, 2014 episode of Raw. Batista returned as a face to confront WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton on the January 20 Raw, and vowed to win the 2014 Royal Rumble match and become champion at WrestleMania XXX. Later that night, Batista confronted Alberto Del Rio, who had been trash talking him for several weeks, and eventually attacked him with a Batista Bomb. Six days later at the Royal Rumble, Batista entered the Rumble match at number 28 and last eliminated Roman Reigns to win the match, becoming the fifth wrestler to win multiple Rumble matches, and the first, and so far only multi-time Royal Rumble winner to win from the same entrant number (28). The live crowd reacted negatively towards Batista's win, as Daniel Bryan did not take part in the match. Despite a positive reaction originally, the crowd began to boo Batista after Reigns was eliminated. After the show went off the air, Batista mocked Bryan and gestured his middle finger at the crowd. According to Batista, he thought a return as a face was a bad idea because of the fans being so invested in Daniel Bryan's "Yes Movement". On the February 3 Raw, Batista was confronted and was ultimately assaulted by Del Rio before chasing him off. Batista retaliated the following week, powerbombing Del Rio through the broadcast table.
At the Elimination Chamber event and on the following Raw, Batista was heavily booed by the fans during matches against Del Rio. Batista won the match at Elimination Chamber, but continued to suffer a torrid fan reaction with "Boo-tista" chants. Batista responded to the audience on the February 28 episode of SmackDown, saying that he did not come back to be liked, then mocked the other wrestlers by stating that they were not "real men" and promised to be the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, thus turning heel. After Orton retained his title at the Elimination Chamber, the scheduled WrestleMania XXX main event was Batista vs. Orton, however Bryan was added to the match after defeating Triple H in the opening contest of the show. Batista ultimately lost the triple threat match at WrestleMania after Bryan forced him to submit to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The next night on Raw, Batista and Orton teamed together to face The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but the match ended in a double count out. Later that night, Batista and Orton, along with Kane, attacked Bryan before he was set to defend his title against Triple H. Before Triple H could defeat Bryan, The Shield interrupted by spearing Triple H and taking out Batista, Orton and Kane, causing Bryan to retain his title via disqualification. On the April 14 episode of Raw, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton came down to the ring to attack The Shield after their 11-on-3 handicap match, using the name and the theme of Evolution. At both Extreme Rules and Payback, Evolution lost to The Shield. On the June 2 episode of Raw, Batista quit WWE after Triple H denied him a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Batista legitimately quit the WWE due to creative differences soon after.
In April 2015, Batista said that he would be interested in returning to WWE, but only at non-televised events. He was contacted to appear at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, but turned down the offer. Regarding his last tenure in professional wrestling, he said that his greatest achievement was "putting guys over" and "repaying favors".
Second return to WWE
Feud with Triple H and retirement (2018–2019)
On October 16, 2018, Batista reunited with the rest of Evolution for an appearance on SmackDown's 1000th episode, where Batista teased a match with Triple H, as Triple H had never beaten Batista in singles competition. On February 25, 2019, Batista returned to Raw and attacked Ric Flair backstage as Flair was about to make an appearance for his 70th birthday celebration as well as subsequently calling out Triple H. On the March 11 episode of Raw, Batista and Triple H had a face-to-face confrontation, in which Batista challenged Triple H to a match at WrestleMania 35 in order to end his career in his own terms, while also vowing to end Triple H's, in which Triple H accepted, while also adding the match would be a No Holds Barred match. On the March 25 episode of Raw, Triple H put his career on the line against Batista, per the order's of Batista's lawyers. At the event on April 7, Batista lost to Triple H after interference from Ric Flair. On April 8, 2019, Batista announced his retirement from professional wrestling.
WWE Hall of Fame (2019–present)
On December 9, 2019, WWE officially announced that Batista will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a part of WrestleMania 36 week.
Professional wrestling style and persona
Upon his return to WWE in 2014, Batista was heavily booed by the crowd after winning the Royal Rumble, despite playing a face character. In an interview with WWE.com, Batista said regarding the crowd reaction that "it was weird. It wasn’t like a normal response. It was almost like a personal attack. It had to do with factors that were not in my control, factors and things that were going on in the company with other people, stuff that really had nothing to do with me. To me, it was a little frustrating, a little confusing, and, you know, I don’t want to say I completely took it personal, but I did somewhat." The fan reaction caused Batista to turn prematurely heel. He was declared as the 50th greatest wrestling villain of all time by a WWE article in 2012. WWE has also ranked him as the second best World Heavyweight Champion of all time.
Mixed martial arts career
After leaving WWE, Bautista attended Strikeforce: Los Angeles on June 16, 2010, having previously registered an interest in competing in mixed martial arts. On June 21, 2010, Bautista stated that he would be embarking on an MMA career. He also became a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of Cesar Gracie. Bautista and Strikeforce agreed on a price and were negotiating a contract. However, in April 2011, Batista stated that negotiating a contract with Strikeforce fell through when the organization was bought by Zuffa.
Bautista was expected to make his MMA debut against Rashid Evans (not Rashad Evans) on October 6, 2012 at Classic Entertainment and Sports: Real Pain in Providence, Rhode Island. However, on October 1, 2012, Evans was forced out of the bout after a probation violation landed him back in jail. With Bautista's MMA debut still on for the event, Evans was replaced by journeyman and 40-fight veteran Vince Lucero. Batista would go on to win the fight by TKO at 4:05 in the first round.
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|1 match||1 win||0 losses|
|Win||1–0||Vince Lucero||TKO (punches)||CES MMA: Real Pain||October 6, 2012||1||4:05||Providence, Rhode Island, United States|
Bautista has acted and guest-starred in several television shows as both himself and in-character as Batista. He guest-starred in the eighth episode of season 6 of the American drama action/adventure television series Smallville; he played an extraterrestrial alien named Aldar that escaped from the Phantom Zone, who sucks the bones out of people for nourishment. In June 2009, Bautista made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of the Australian soap opera Neighbours. In 2010, he made an appearance on an episode of Chuck. He has also made a cameo appearance in Relative Strangers. Bautista worked alongside Rob Van Dam, Marrese Crump and Ja Rule on the 2010 action film Wrong Side of Town.
Bautista appeared as the villainous Brass Body in the Universal Studios film The Man with the Iron Fists. He played Drax the Destroyer in the 2014 Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, which was a critical and commercial success. He played Mr. Hinx in the James Bond film, Spectre (2015), and starred as the villain Tong Po in the reboot of the 1989 martial arts film Kickboxer, opposite Georges St-Pierre. Bautista joined the cast of Blade Runner 2049 as Sapper Morton, which was released on October 6, 2017. He reprised his role as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, released in May 2017, Avengers: Infinity War, released in April 2018 and Avengers: Endgame, released in April 2019. In January 2019, Bautista was cast in the upcoming Denis Villeneuve adaptation of Dune.
In 2018, Bautista joined his castmates in support of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn after his firing for old tweets joking about pedophilia and rape. Bautista declared that if Disney (parent company of Marvel Studios) did not use Gunn's script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, that he would ask to be recast, calling Gunn's firing "nauseating". Ultimately, Gunn was reinstated as director for the film in March 2019.
Bautista appeared on the covers of the April 2005 Flex, and Muscle & Fitness for September 2008. Along with John Cena and Ashley Massaro, Bautista appeared representing WWE on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in January 2007, giving the kids of the family whose house was renovated WWE merchandise and eight tickets to WrestleMania 23. During the week of November 5, 2007, he appeared on Family Feud with several other WWE wrestlers. On September 7, 2008, he appeared on an episode of Iron Chef America as one of the judges, with snails as the theme ingredient. Bautista, along with Candice Michelle, Shelton Benjamin, and Josh Mathews, represented the WWE at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in an effort to persuade fans to register to vote in the 2008 presidential election. Batista has also appeared on MTV Cribs showing his house and his cars. Bautista had his first biographical DVD released through WWE Productions entitled Batista: I Walk Alone. It was released October 20, 2009. A second biographical DVD was released which continued his life story from walking away from WWE back in 2010 and then making his journey back to WWE in 2014 was released entitled WWE Batista: The Animal Unleashed, which was released in June 2014.
Incident with Booker T
During a commercial shoot for the 2006 SummerSlam pay-per-view, Batista got into a legitimate fistfight with Booker T. The incident was reported on WWE.com, with both men telling their sides of the story. Booker T believed that Batista considered himself to be better than the rest of the roster due to his main event status and relatively quick climb to achieve it. Wrestlers backstage were praising Booker for speaking his mind to Batista about his attitude.
In August 2007, ESPN incorrectly included Batista on a list of names that they claimed were clients of Signature Pharmacy of Orlando, Florida, one of many pharmacies under investigation for illicitly providing anabolic steroids. Batista released a statement denying ESPN's allegations and was furious over the report. He denied ever being a customer of Signature and stated that he has been "tested regularly by the WWE, and I am in full compliance with the WWE Wellness Program". WWE suspended ten wrestlers named in the statement; Batista was not one of them.
Bautista married his first wife, Glenda, in 1990. They have two daughters together, Keilani (born 1990) and Athena (born 1992), before divorcing in 1998. Bautista married his second wife, Angie, on October 13, 1998. They have a son together, Oliver, after divorcing in 2006. Before the age of 40, Bautista already had two grandsons through Keilani. During his marriage to Angie, he became an avid collector of vintage metal lunchboxes. His favorite is the 1967 Green Hornet lunchbox as it has Bruce Lee on it. This collection started when he bought Angie an E.T. lunchbox and she did not want to break it, so he bought a second one. In October 2015, he married competitive pole dancer Sarah Jade. The couple separated in early 2019.
On October 16, 2007, Bautista's autobiography, Batista Unleashed, was released. In an interview about the book, he claimed, "I didn't want to tell my story unless it was honest... you have to go through three sets of lawyers: Simon & Schuster lawyers, WWE lawyers, my lawyers. Everything now being the way it is, you can be sued for the simplest thing." One source of controversy was the book's mentioning of Chris Benoit, who was almost completely removed. Bautista responded, "I loved the guy. I despise what he did, but that doesn't erase him from my life. I fought to keep him in there and glad they did." When asked about his ex-wife, Angie, he says, "[We] have really become close again, which we really haven't been in years. I really learned a lot about her, and she learned a lot about me from reading the book. She actually saw things from a different perspective from reading the book. So that was definitely therapeutic."
He has numerous tattoos, including a large dragon on his back, red Kanji lettering on his upper left biceps which says "Angel" in tribute to Angie, a signature design on his upper right biceps, and a small sun on his abdomen which encircles his belly button. He also has a tattoo on his arm of the flags of Greece and the Philippines. While taking time off due to injury in 2009, he had both upper arms covered in large, tribal style tattoos, including the phrase "DC soldier" on his right biceps.
Bautista supported Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.
Championships and accomplishments
- Ohio Valley Wrestling
- OVW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (2005)
- Wrestler of the Year (2005)
- Ranked No. 1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2005
- World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
- World Xtreme Wrestling
- WXW Hall of Fame (Class of 2013)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter