Batista retired after WrestleMania 35, and even though he lost his match to Triple H, he went out on a high note unlike his previous WWE run. In 2014 Batista returned after a four-year absence and won the Royal Rumble. But he departed just a few months later and wouldn’t resurface for another five years.
He joined Lilian Garcia’s podcast to talk about that run and while he hated the way he went out.
“It was horrible. I tried not to take it personally but I really did and it hurt because it’s hard to tell people that you want to be there for the right reasons, but they don’t want to hear it,” said Batista. “They just don’t care why you are there; they just don’t want you there. It was a hard thing for me to do, and it was harder for me to leave because I felt that I was starting to connect with the audience. I felt that I was where I wanted to be and we were pushing the personal stuff aside. I was kind of getting passed that, but I had to leave. I had to go promote Guardians of the Galaxy. I was obligated to go do that.”
Batista knew that for his last WWE run and his last wrestling match, he wanted it to be with someone he was familiar with and had a backstory with. He also wanted to give back to the company and he thought Triple H was the perfect person for that.
“I felt like my career really got started when I started working with Triple H. I never have been around the bush about it, Hunter made me a star,” admitted Batista. “He put a lot of stock into me. He invested a lot into me and put himself on the line physically for me. Not only did he put me over three times clean in the ring to make me a star, but also took the time to have me ride with him and have me pick his brain. He just groomed me to be a star in that company, so I wanted to finish out my career for him by just saying thank you to go out laying on my back for the guy.
“That is what I have always believed. It is the old school belief that I have, when you go out you go out on your back. If you go out and build a star do that, and obviously Hunter is already a star, but I wanted my last match to be with him on my back, because that is literally the only way that I can thank him.”
The seeds for the match were planted at SmackDown 1000 in Batista’s hometown of Washington, D.C. However, just weeks after that Triple H tore his pec and it appeared the match was off. But the timing of Triple H’s recovery ended up working out and the match was back on again.
“When I was leaving [SmackDown 1000] and was leaving Washington D.C that night to go back to Toronto, Canada, Hunter told me ‘get in shape mother f***er’ and I knew it was going to happen,” revealed Batista. “He hit me up I believe a month later and said that he tore his pec, it was just meant not to be, and I just didn’t think it was going to happen. Not even a couple of months later, he told me that he was going to be healed up by WrestleMania and asked me if I still wanted to do it. I said that I did want to do it, but he was cutting it close. I think he was just cleared to start working out a couple of weeks ago. He put it all on the line to give me this.
“I am 50 now, he’s going to be 50 in a couple of months and I believe he is on the same page with me. He is starting to get injured here and there over simple things and we have evolved to do other things. And our careers have evolved and neither of us want to fall apart in front of the fans’ eyes. Nobody wants to see that.”
Batista left SmackDown 1000 to return to Toronto to continue filming My Spy. He says that many in the Hollywood industry question why he continues flirting with wrestling and Batista said he needed that closure with the industry.
“I have gotten a lot of that,” Batista said of Hollywood pushback. “I’m doing very well right now, it’s weird to say that at 50 years old I am having the most success in my career and it’s because my film career has just taken off, and more than a few people are like, what the hell are you thinking dude? Unless they have been there, I think it is hard for them to relate into why I would want to do this, but I love wrestling. I love it, and I just don’t feel like there was closure in my career and that’s hard for me. I don’t want to be 60 years old, 65 years old feeling that emptiness that there was no closure to my career. I really need this; personally I need this.
“You know how there would be an emptiness when someone died and you didn’t get to say goodbye, or when someone died and the last conversation you had was an argument? I felt that I left wrestling where we had an argument. I left and we never spoke again. I need to sit down and have a conversation with wrestling and make peace.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.