Written by: J. Johnson
Among the men in the WWE, there has only been a handful who has come out of the sports entertainment world to become a completely new individuals; the extension of themselves, but in reality. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, & Adam Copeland (Edge) have transitioned from wrestling to acting/hosting very well. Out of them all Dwayne Johnson is the most successful of them all which can go without saying given the exposure he’s getting from multiple platforms. However none would have guessed Dave Bautista (Batista) would be one to come out in the acting world and have a steadily incline with acting.
After the success of being the intelligent brute, Drax the Destroyer (Guardians of the Galaxy; 2014) and the near silent henchman, Mr. Hinx (SPECTRE; 2015) it seems that Hollywood has embraced the former 6 time World Champion/former MMA fighter. In August 2012, Bautista signed a contract with Classic Entertainment & Sports to fight in mixed martial arts. He won his MMA debut on October 6, 2012, and defeating Vince Lucero via TKO in the first round. He was representing the Philippines. As an actor, Bautista has also starred in The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Riddick (2013), and will appear in the Kickboxer reboot in 2016.
Dave Bautista appearance in a World Wrestling Entertainment ring was on May 26, 2010. The previous night Bautista had engaged in what was one of finest performances against John Cena, before ultimately losing an “I Quit” match at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
It was the apex of his showmanship, a quality that Batista had struggled to cultivate when his run in World Wrestling Entertainment began in 2002. With improved microphone skills, Batista had become the company’s ultimate heel, or bad guy, with his pompous Hollywood star act and underhanded assaults on crowd favorites gaining him heat unrivaled by anyone on the roster.
After being walked out to the ring with the assistance of referees, Bautista took a seat in a wheelchair, right arm in a sling and sunglasses hiding “bruises,” as he whined about Cena’s brutality the night before. When WWE legend Bret Hart interrupted his gripe session and was announced as the new Monday Night Raw general manager, Bautista demanded a rematch with Cena. But when Hart refused to cave to his demands, Bautista repeated the words that had ended his final WWE match: “I quit.”
Bautista was wheeled out of the arena to a chorus of boos, never to be seen again.
Though his career often had gaps due to injuries, Bautista was unquestionably one of the leading WWE performers of the millennium’s first decade. He is a six-time world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice. He is the longest-reigning consecutive days World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history, and has 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 Rumblematch and went on to headline WrestleMania 21, one of the top five highest-grossing pay-per-view events in pro wrestling history. Batista returned to WWE and won the 2014 Royal Rumble match, after which he headlined WrestleMania XXX.
In 2010, he left that business to focus on MMA and will make his debut later this year.
While being muscular in professional wrestling may have been beneficial for Batista, it didn’t help with his MMA aspirations.
“I think the biggest transition, for me, was to go from being so muscle bound to being more agile because throughout most of my wrestling career I was about 280 to 290 [pounds], I just couldn’t do it cardio wise and wasn’t agile enough to fight, so I kept dropping weight and I did it throughout the years with help through my diet to help me get more acclimated. It’s been hard for me to completely get away from that. At one point I couldn’t bring my elbows to my head because they were so far out there and I was getting nailed in the face constantly. It’s just one of those things where I had to change my training and body type to drop weight and focus on cardio.”
Bautista on Brawl Call TV
The changing of his physical appearance wasn’t easy, but Bautista felt it had to be done. Bautista figured he would be able to go from wrestler to MMA fighter with no problem, but that wasn’t the case. Even given the fact that his mind was set to leave the wrestling business for mixed martial arts. Bautista would go onto his first fight two years after his initial exit from pro-wrestling and other factors that pushed is debut. Vince Luerco a 40-fight veteran was the first opponent, but Bautista would win by TKO at 4:05 in the first round.
(Continue to page 2; The Actor, & The Evolution)