Dave Bautista has made the successful transition from professional wrestler to Hollywood action star. While wrestling fans know him as WWE Superstar Batista, his most famous role might be that of Drax the Destroyer, one of the characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
Batista's Start in the Wrestling Business
David Michael Bautista was born on January 18, 1969. He is a former bouncer that met Curt Hennig and Road Warrior Animal in Minneapolis. He went to the WCW Power Plant for a tryout but the company decided that he would never make it as a wrestler. He was then trained by Wild Samoan Afa and made his wrestling debut in 1997. Batista started off his career working for Afa's WXW promotion under the name Kahn. Shortly after, he signed a WWE developmental deal and wrestled in Ohio Valley Wrestling. While there, he was known as Leviathan and Demon of the Deep. He would debut for WWE in May 2002.
Batista made his WWE debut on the May 9, 2002, edition of SmackDown! He was the bodyguard for Reverend D-Von Dudley and held his collection plate. After a few months, he left D-Von and SmackDown! He made his RAW debut on November 4, 2002, and quickly aligned himself with Ric Flair. On the January 27, 2003, edition of RAW, Evolution was formed. The group featured Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista.
Batista missed eight months in 2003 due to a tear in his biceps muscle. Several months after his return, Randy Orton was kicked out of Evolution. With Orton gone from the group, Batista started to become a superstar. He went on to win the 2005 Royal Rumble which guaranteed him a title match at WrestleMania 22.
World Heavyweight Champion
At WrestleMania 22, Batista won the World Heavyweight Championship from former Evolution leader, Triple H. Batista went on to defeat Triple H at Backlash and in a Hell in a Cell Match at Vengeance. The next night he was drafted to SmackDown.
Batista took his title to SmackDown! and immediately got into a feud with JBL which he dominated. In the summer of 2005, he signed a 5 year deal with WWE. After defeating JBL, he faced and teamed with Eddie Guerrero shortly before his death in the fall of 2005.
An Injured Champion
After tearing a lat muscle, Batista continued to wrestle. During this time, he briefly held the tag team titles with Rey Mysterio. While wrestling with this injury, he tore his triceps muscle and had to vacate the World Heavyweight Title on the January 13, 2006, edition of SmackDown!. Batista regained the title on November 26, 2006, at the Survivor Series.
Losing and Regaining the Title
Batista lost the title to the Undertaker at WrestleMania 23. He regained the title a few months later when he beat the Great Khali and Rey Mysterio at Unforgiven 2007. In December, he lost the title to Edge in a triple-threat match that also included the Undertaker.
Regaining the Title on RAW
In 2008, Batista was drafted back to RAW. Batista won the World Heavyweight for the fourth time when he beat Chris Jericho at Cyber Sunday 2008. He won his first WWE Championship at Extreme Rules 2009 by beating Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match. He was stripped of the title following an injury. That fall he returned to SmackDown and turned on the fans and his friend Rey Mysterio. His new friendship with Vince McMahon resulted in gold as he beat an exhausted John Cena who just fought in an Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber 2010.
"I Quit" Wrestling & Join MMA
Batista tapped out to John Cena at WrestleMania XXVI. After losing a Last Man Standing Match to John Cena at Extreme Rules '10, he would go on to lose his third straight match to John Cena at Over the Limit. That was an "I Quit" Match. Feeling disrespected by the WWE, he decided to quit the WWE the following night. Two years later, Batista won his first and only MMA fight against Frank Lucero. In 2014, Batista returned to WWE.
Guardian of the Galaxy
During his absence from WWE, he filmed several action movies but none were really successful. While he was supposed to be treated as a returning hero, WWE fans refused to accept him as such and booed his triumphant victory at Royal Rumble 2014. A strange set of circumstances caused by the fans love and Daniel Bryan and loathing of Batista for taking their hero's spot in the main event of WrestleMania led to a change of booking plans with Daniel Bryan being added to the main event of WrestleMania XXX. Batista left the company a few months later to promote a movie he had previously filmed, Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie was a monster hit and he then reprised his role of Drax the Destroyer in a sequel as well as other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One can only wonder how different fans would have acted to his return to WWE if he had done so after that movie was released. As it stands now, the odds of Batista returning to the ring again are very slim.
World Heavyweight Championship
1. 4/3/05 WrestleMania 21 - beat Triple H
2. 11/26/06 Survivor Series - beat King Booker
3. 9/16/07 Unforgiven - beat Champion The Great Khali & Rey Mysterio
4. 10/26/08 Cyber Sunday - beat Chris Jericho
1. 6/7/09 Extreme Rules - beat Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match
2. 2/21/10 Elimination Chamber - beat John Cena
World Tag Team Championship
1. 12/14/03 Armageddon - Tag Team Turmoil Match: Ric Flair & Batista won the Tag Team Titles in a match featuring champs the Dudley Boyz, Scott Steiner & Test, Rob Conway & Rene Dupree, the Hurricane & Rosey, Lance Storm & Val Venis, and Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade
2. 3/22/04 RAW - w/Ric Flair regained the World Tag Team Titles from Booker T & Rob Van Dam
3. 8/4/08 RAW - w/John Cena beat Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes
WWE Tag Team Championship
1. 12/16/05 SmackDown - w/Rey Mysterio won the WWE Tag Team Titles from MNM