Batista says WWE was a very toxic atmosphere.
The former WWE Champion turned Hollywood heavyweight was recently profiled by Lauren Larson of Men’s Health for a piece that looks at how he went from pro wrestling to the big screen, and how he has found success in acting at a later point in his life.
Regarding his time with WWE when he first started, Batista noted how he worried every day that he was going to get fired.
“I couldn’t get comfortable, people didn’t like me, I was doing something wrong, the company wasn’t going to do anything with me, they didn’t know what to do with me, they didn’t know where I fit in,” said Batista, who still loved wrestling, despite the mental cost. He added, “It was just a very toxic atmosphere. Wrestling is very competitive. It’s very cutthroat. You’re put in a position where you have to posture up all the time, and it’s exhausting. It’s just exhausting.”
After a successful career in pro wrestling, Batista got into acting and has managed to show audiences that he’s more than just a powerful physique. He still acknowledges that sometimes his body is what gets him noticed or helps people see him in certain parts, but he didn’t want to be seen as the guy coming from pro wrestling, taking the typical roles.
“I didn’t want to be the guy coming from wrestling, taking these easy action roles and just kind of pumping up and putting baby oil on my arms,” he said, adding, “I really fell in love with acting.”
The Animal returned to WWE for one final run in 2019 and then retired after losing the No Holds Barred match to Triple H at WrestleMania 35. He was scheduled to be the headliner of the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame Class, but the ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then announced that the 2020 and 2021 classes would be inducted at the same time this past April, but Batista was not inducted. He announced that he was unable to attend the ceremony due to previous obligations, and that WWE honored his request to be inducted at a future ceremony. Batista now says he likes how he left things with pro wrestling.
“I’m not trying to separate myself from professional wrestling because I’m embarrassed or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just, I needed to make a name for myself and start all over and kind of just get people to see me in a different light. Because if people always see me as a pro wrestler turned actor, then they’re going to put me in a box for roles.”
Batista added that his experience playing a heel in WWE set him up particularly well for villainous roles in Hollywood, which he enjoys.
“I found out in wrestling that I like being the bad guy,” he said. “And I don’t know why this happens, but there’s something about me that people like as a bad guy.”
Batista also revealed to Men’s Health that he has a new “bougie tattoo shop” opening up in Tampa, Florida soon. He’s calling it D.C. Society, a reference to his Dream Chaser moniker, and where he grew up, Washington, DC.
Batista currently has several acting projects in the works as well. He stars as the villainous Glossu “Beast” Rabban in the sci-fi epic Dune, which hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22, and just wrapped filming in Serbia for the Knives Out 2 movie. He also stars as Edo Voss in the ongoing second season of See, the Apple TV+ series where most of the characters are blind. He will reprise his role as Drax The Destroyer in 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and will also reprise his role as Scott Ward for the Army of the Dead “Lost Vegas” TV series that premieres in 2022. Batista has also been confirmed for the Groove Tails movie that is filming now, the Universe’s Most Wanted movie that is in pre-production, and has also been announced for In The Lost Lands, where he will star as Boyce.
Stay tuned for more.