Dave Batista enjoyed a decade-long career as one of the most powerful and often controversial figures in professional wrestling, claiming numerous championship titles while also earning the enmity of...
Washington D.C., USA
|Makes debut as mixed martial artist; wins first match by TKO in first round|
|Retires from WWE|
|Wins second World Heavyweight Champion title|
|Quits Evolution and defeats Triple H to take World Heavyweight Champion title|
|Promoted to WWE as Deacon Batista, enforcer for Rev. D-Von|
|Wins WWE Tag Team Champions title with Rey Mysterio|
|Named WWE Champion|
|Makes feature film debut in "Wrong Side of Town"|
|Signs with "Raw," assumes "Batista" as performing name|
|Professional wrestling debut as "Leviathan" with Ohio Valley Wrestling|
|Wins fourth and final World Heavyweight Champion title|
Born David Michael Bautista, Jr., on Jan. 18, 1969 in Washington, D.C., Dave Batista's early years bordered on the Dickensian: raised in poverty by his Greek and Filipino parents, he witnessed three homicides before he reached the age of 9, and took to stealing cars by the time he had reached his teenage years. By 17, Batista was estranged from his parents and working as a nightclub bouncer and lifeguard. But after receiving a year of probation for his involvement in a club brawl, he decided to shift his focus to bodybuilding, which added bulk and brawl to his already formidable 6-foot 6-inch frame. Batista then explored professional wrestling before training with the legendary Samoan grappler/manager Arthur "Afa" Anoa'I, leading to his debut as a "heel," or villainous character, called Leviathan with the Ohio Valley Wrestling circuit in 2000. After claiming the company's heavyweight championship title the following year, Batista was promoted to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he debuted in 2002 as Deacon Batista, an "enforcer" or bodyguard for the malevolent Reverend D-Von. He split from the team to sign with WWE's "Raw" program (USA Network/Spike TV, 1993-2000, 2005- /2000-2005), where he was billed as "Batista," the name he utilized throughout his tenure with the company.
From 2003 to 2005, Batista rose swiftly in the ranks of the WWE, first as a member of the scurrilous "stable," or team, known as Evolution, which featured Paul Levesque's "Triple H" persona along with Ric Flair and Randy Orton. The quartet became a juggernaut force within the WWE by capturing every major male championship featured on "Raw," with Batista and Flair taking the World Tag Team Champion title while Triple H and Orton were the World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champions, respectively. By the following year, Batista began to "go over," or gain acceptance from the fans as a "face," or heroic persona. The WWE writers concocted a 2005 storyline for his transition from good to evil that was outlandish even by the sport's standards: Batista caught wind that his former teammates were planning to run him down with a limousine in order to prevent him from entering the heavyweight competition and formally departed Evolution by delivering a brutal beating to Triple H at WrestleMania 21. More than 1 million viewers, the highest pay-per-view numbers for any non-boxing event, witnessed the defeat. Batista then spent the next five years defending the World Heavyweight Championship title while also establishing himself as an outspoken personality within the tightly controlled world of professional wrestling.
He twice fended off Triple H that same year, including a summer 2005 bout at the Vengeance pay-per-view event, which marked the beginning of a new contract with the WWE's other broadcast, "SmackDown" (UPN/The CW/MyNetworkTV /Syfy, 1999- ). But as Batista's star rose in the WWE, so did growing public perception of him as a loose cannon with the media. He gave a pair of interviews to the British tabloid The Sun which accused the "SmackDown" talent and management of poor performances and faulty management decisions. The comments drew fire from WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, among others within the organization. Batista was then forced to vacate the Heavyweight Championship title following an injury in January 2006, and pursued the belt in battles with Mark Henry, Mr. Kennedy and Big Show before finally regaining it in a brawl with King Booker at Survivor Series in the fall of that year.
After earning his fourth and final Heavyweight Championship title in 2008, a real-life injury took Batista out of competition for several months, after which he returned for a series of high-profile matches before "officially" quitting the WWE after a loss to John Cena at Extreme Rules in 2010. Batista would later credit his dissatisfaction with the company's direction as his reason for leaving the professional wrestling world, though a burgeoning career as an actor also seemed to be a deciding factor. Batista had been appearing in occasional acting roles since 2006, most notably as a predatory alien on "Smallville" (The WB/The CW, 2001-2011). Billed as Dave Bautista, he assumed his first co-starring turn in the low-budget action drama "Wrong Side of Town" (2010) before taking the lead in the crime drama "House of the Rising Sun" (2011), which was released to video the same year that he announced the beginning of his career as a mixed martial artist. His debut in October 2012 resulted in a win against journeyman fighter Vince Lucero, but Batista appeared to show more interest in acting with a turn as a 19th century fighter with the ability to turn his body into metal in "The Man with The Iron Fists" (2012) for rapper-turned-actor/director RZA. That same year, he suggested that a return to the WWE was imminent, but committed to supporting turns in "Riddick" (2013) and James Gunn's adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics' imprint "Guardians of the Galaxy," which cast him as the primary antagonist, Drax the Destroyer.
|Failed his audition for wrestler Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker at WCW Power Plant and was told that he had no future in professional wrestling|
|Suffered a real-life injury to his triceps during a match with Mark Henry in 2006; would blame Henry's "carelessness" in the ring for the incident, which forced him to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship title|
|Appeared with fellow WWE performers Shelton Benjamin, Josh Mathews and Candice Michelle at 2008 Democratic National Convention in an effort to encourage fans to vote|
|Accused of and denied use of anabolic steriod use in 2007 ESPN article focusing on Florida pharmacies filing prescription for illegal drugs|
|Avid collector of vintage lunchboxes|
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