Recently on MLW Radio's Writers Room, actor and professional wrestler Dave Bautista, also known as Batista, talked about his most recent run with WWE. Batista talked about how he struggled with promos early in his professional wrestling career. Also, 'The Animal' discussed the impetus behind leaving professional wrestling's largest promotion for Hollywood in 2010.
According to Batista, he loves being a heel, but he needs to be booked as a strong heel to make it more meaningful when he puts over other performers. Also, Batista said he was disappointed that fans missing out on some good wrestling during his most recent WWE run, as they were preoccupied trying to hijack the show.
"I love being a heel. I feel confident as a heel. I feel comfortable as a heel. People like to see me as a heel. But I can't be a heel if they're constant beat me! I've got to be a strong heel, so when I put somebody over, it actually means something. I think a lot of people missed that point. I don't know how they missed it, but what really bothers me about that run as well is while people were so busying chanting 'CM Punk' or 'you suck' or 'Bootista' or Bluetista', they actually missed a lot of really good wrestling. Like Dolph [Ziggler] and I had some kick-ass matches we threw together at the last second and everybody missed it, man, because they were so busy wrapped up with their 'CM Punk' chants or 'Bluetista' chants. They missed out on a lot of good wrestling, man, a lot of good, old fashioned storytelling. It really hurt my feelings that people just missed out on that. It was just a shame."
Moreover, Batista claimed that booing him during his 2014 run with WWE was the trendy thing to do amongst fans.
"I think it was more the impression that they were just so anti me. It was almost the trendy thing to be anti me. So yeah, it wasn't like they were booing me because [I was] being the heel or whatever. They weren't booing it because it was a show. It's like a personal attack. It really wasn't something that was show related or entertainment based. It was really like a personal attack. It became everything I did. It was an internet thing. Everything I did, I came back and I demanded to come back at the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania and none of that s--t was my idea. I just wanted to come back. I didn't ask for a lot of money. I didn't ask for a lot of money. I didn't say I wasn't going to do house shows. I didn't say I won't put this guy over. I didn't say any of that. I just wanted to come back and wrestle." Batista continued, "the crowd, they don't really want to watch the show and they don't really want to participate in the show. They want to be the show and that really seemed true sometimes. They didn't even care what was going on in the ring sometimes. They wanted to be the show. They wanted to be the highlight of the show. Then, I always say, if you want to be the highlight of the show, go to f--king wrestling school, lace up your Goddamn boots, and get bumps just like everybody else."
During the interview, Batista acknowledged that he struggled with promos early on in his professional wrestling career because he is naturally shy and had trouble remembering scripted promos. It was not until he began to cut promos based on bullet points that he started to thrive.
"I struggled so much with promos early because people were writing them out for me and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't cut a promo until you gave me bullet points. If I had bullet points, then, I could just do that and make it conversational and I was okay. I still struggled to remember stuff word for word and when people were writing that stuff out for me, I was always so stressed about it, just remembering all that stuff and it was horrible and I struggled and struggled. It was later when they really just kind of let me do my own thing. Then, I'd go to Vince [McMahon] and say, 'Vince,' or Michael Hayes or whatever, 'what point do you want me to get across?' and they'd give me a point and I'd say, 'okay, I got it' and I'd go out and I'd kind of wing it, but I'd make the point and that's when I really came into my own as far as promos go. But I was always a very shy person, so public speaking was always terrifying to me." Batista added, "it's weird, man, because that's where all the sunglasses and all that stuff came from. They were my pacifiers. I was hiding behind them. I was trying to hide my fear, but it was a terrifying thing for me to go speak in front of people."
Batista indicated that professional wrestling was his sole focus before leaving WWE in 2010.
"I don't think people will ever get this or appreciate it about me, but when I was wrestling, all I wanted to do was wrestle. I didn't want to be an actor. I didn't want to do anything. I just loved entertaining people. I wanted to be there. I loved wrestling. I didn't want to sell them cheap t-shirts. I couldn't care less if they booed me or cheered me as long as I gave them a good match and they were happy with the match. I just wanted them to be entertained. I didn't need the accolades. I don't think people will ever f--king get that. I didn't come out with 25 f--king wristbands and a different t-shirt every week that I was trying to shove down their Goddamn throats. People will never appreciate that just because I really love the [professional wrestling] business. I love the storytelling and I love giving the fans their money's worth. 'This is what I paid to see - this is good s--t.' I mean, I was happy with that. I was more than content with that."
Interestingly, Batista claimed that he left WWE in 2010 because the company was not providing him with the same type of acting opportunities as John Cena.
"Basically, kind of mirror images of each other on our respective shows, but I'm getting afforded a lot less opportunities and that didn't sit well with me and I wasn't okay with that. I wasn't content with that. And so, when they said no, I wasn't going to be afforded those opportunities, I said, 'well, I'm going to leave then' and that was kind of it." Batista commented, "it's funny. I do a lot of things because I get pissed off and I really hate when people tell me I can't do stuff. And when WWE had started on films and commercials, and I noticed that everything more and more was going to Cena, but at the same time, he's main eventing one series of shows [and] I'm main eventing the others, but he's getting all these opportunities that I'm not getting. It just seemed a little unfair to me that I'm still out there busting my ass to do these shows while he's making movies and getting paid a butt load of money to make these movies. So I simply asked a question, 'is there any opportunity for me to do films?' and there wasn't. They had no interest in me doing that, so I said, 'well, if I'm not afforded the opportunity here, then I should be afforded the opportunity to go outside the company and audition.' And the answer was, 'you're our property - get dressed for the house shows and get to work'. I just thought it was unfair, so I thought it's just really unfair. It's unfair career wise and it's unfair to me financially."
Batista said that his 2010 departure was rather unceremonious and reinforced to him what little regard the company had for him.
"I gave them almost a year's notice and I did whatever they asked me to do and I busted my ass and till the day I left, they didn't think I was leaving and on the night that I left, I think a few people said 'goodbye' to me and said 'thank you', but it was like a very few. And then I walked out. Security, Muriel, I , Sassy, escorted me out the door by myself. No 'see you later, Dave', 'thanks for everything', 'keep in touch'. It was sad, man. It really put things in perspective on where I stood with them. I left there with a broken back. Not a lot of people realize that or appreciate that, but in my last match with Cena, I broke my back."
Click here to check out the interview. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit MLW Radio's Writers Room with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: MLW Radio’s Writers Room