Anytime someone leaves a profession, they want to do it on their terms. Many do not get that opportunity. However, when one does, it can be a very special and memorable moment. For Dave Batista, his final professional wrestling match was the way he wanted to go out. Batista spoke with Ryan Satin and Pro Wrestling Sheet on his WrestleMania match with Triple H, that started with a reunion of Evolution.
"The reason is, I said I want to go back, and I want to tease the thing with me and Triple H," Batista said. "Because I want to know if people are still interested. Because it had been so far removed and it has been so many years since our rivalry. I didn't know if people would care anymore."
The 'tease' happened at the 1000th episode of SmackDown. The tease had people talking and once it happened both men knew they had something to work with.
"We teased it and it went over great," Batista recalled. "As I was leaving, and Hunter knows I've wanted this match at Mania for years to end my career — I wouldn't officially retire or even consider going into the Hall of Fame until I had this match to close out my career — but as I was leaving Hunter goes, 'get in shape, motherf*cker.' And I was like 'alright, it's on!'"
Because of a busy movie schedule, Batista did not know that Triple H was on the babyface side of things. Because of this, he had to go to a 'heel' role. Although against it at first, it made sense to 'the Animal' during the build-up.
"I did at first, but then it was weird," Batista admitted. "It was a weird spot to be in because I didn't realize that Hunter had been getting so much love lately, and deservedly so for everything he had done with NXT. He was just getting a lot of love. He wasn't the heel he'd always been.
"Then it got to the point where I just felt like people didn't really care. They weren't reading into the whole heel/babyface thing. They were reading into the nostalgic rivalry between us. And it was two guys that really just wanted to beat the hell out of each other. And they just wanted to see us beat the hell out of each other. So when I started kinda thinking more along those lines then it just became much easier. I mean, honestly, we're both heels. People just wanted to see us go to war."
Because of how he felt the last run went, Batista was more involved with the creative process this time around. His influence led to his infamous attack on Ric Flair during the Nature Boy's 70th birthday celebration.
"I was completely involved," Batista stated. "I didn't want to go back as early as I did. They wanted me to come back to Atlanta for Ric's 70th (birthday celebration). I thought it was too early. I said, 'If I come back this early, what are we going to do?' The last time I came back, they had all these weeks where they didn't know what they wanted me to do, sent me out and I just regurgitated the same old crap. Then the people booed and they just s--t all over it. And it deserved that because it was horrible.
"I said, 'if I come back early, we got to have a plan.' It wasn't the plan we ended up using. They wanted us to have a beef in the ring. It was between Hunter and I. I felt if I was out there, it would be watered down. We ended up doing what we did. The whole time I'm thinking 'God, I just hope Ric is okay.'
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Pro Wrestling Sheet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.