David Michael "Dave" Bautista Jr. (January 18, 1969), better known by his ring name Batista, a American actor professional wrestler, actor, mixed martial artist, and bodybuilder who performed in WWE.
Professional wrestling career
He began his WWE career on the May 9, 2002 episode of SmackDown! as Deacon Batista, a villainous enforcer for Reverend D-Von. He made his WWE in-ring debut in a tag team match teaming with D-Von against Faarooq and Randy Orton, pinning Orton. Over several weeks, Orton tried to beat D-Von and Batista with different partners, but ultimately lost each time. Batista suffered his first loss in a match against Rikishi after D-Von accidentally punched him, allowing Rikishi to take advantage and pin Batista. Batista and D-Von argued over the forthcoming weeks, with Batista eventually turning on D-Von. After splitting with D-Von, he signed with Raw and was renamed to Dave Batista (or simply Batista). He aligned himself with Ric Flair and feuded with Kane, whom he defeated at Armageddon.
In January 2003, Batista joined Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton to form the villainous stable Evolution. Batista, however, was sidelined for much of 2003 after he tore his right triceps muscle at a Raw live event in a tag team match against the Dudley Boyz. While training after the injury, Batista re-tore his triceps, extending his stay on the sidelines. Batista made his return on the October 20 episode of Raw, interfering in a match between Bill Goldberg and Shawn Michaels and "shattering" Goldberg's ankle with a chair. After the interference, Evolution came out, and Triple H rewarded Batista with $100,000. On the November 10 edition of Raw, Goldberg defeated Batista by disqualification when Triple H interfered.
At Armageddon, Batista took part in two matches; losing to Shawn Michaels in a singles match, and winning a tag team turmoil match along with Ric Flair to become one-half of the World Tag Team Champions. By the end of the event, all four members of Evolution held every male championship on Raw, with Triple H winning the World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. They held the title until the February 16, 2004 episode of Raw, when they were defeated by Booker T and Rob Van Dam. They later regained the title for a short period.
At Survivor Series, Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky, and Edge were defeated by Maven, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Randy Orton in an eight-man elimination tag team match for control of Raw over the following month; the members of the winning team would each be the Raw general manager for a week. Throughout the next two months, the relationship between Batista and Triple H began to deteriorate. After a loss to Chris Jericho, Triple H verbally insulted Batista. Batista teased leaving Evolution that night, but declared that he was still part of Evolution and that they tricked everyone. Despite this ploy, Batista began behaving more like a fan favorite over the next few weeks in comparison to Evolution's villainous tactics. One particular moment saw Batista express disgust as Triple H and Ric Flair boasted about how they had intimidated and/or beat up Jim Ross, Danny Hodge, and Stacy Keibler. Regardless, he continued to show his loyalty to Triple H and Evolution by running down to the ring and assisting them in matches.
As 2005 began, Triple H realized the possibility of Batista becoming a threat to his World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H suggested that he not enter the Royal Rumble, claiming that it would be selfish of him to do so, and to simply focus on Triple H retaining the title. Batista entered anyway and went on to win the Rumble earning the right to participate in the main event of WrestleMania 21 against the World Champion of his choice. In an attempt to persuade Batista to challenge WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield rather than him, Triple H concocted a scheme to have Batista run over in a limousine resembling the one used by Layfield. Initially, Dave did not want help from Evolution and wanted to confront JBL by himself. Triple H insisted that Evolution stick together and accompanied Dave anyway, saving him from the oncoming vehicle. Batista became aware of the plot while sneakily eavesdropping on fellow Evolution members and signed a contract guaranteeing him a match with the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H at WrestleMania 21, thus leaving Evolution and officially turning into a fan favorite. Batista initially pretended that he would sign with SmackDown!, giving Triple H and Flair the "thumbs up", but turned it into a "thumbs down" before attacking the pair. He emphasized his departure by powerbombing Triple H through the table used for the contract signing.
Batista won the World Heavyweight Championship on April 3 at WrestleMania 21. Batista won a rematch with Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash. After Batista retained his title against Edge, he was betrayed by Ric Flair, who helped Triple H viciously attack the champion as Triple H challenged Batista to a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance. Batista won the match at Vengeance, retaining his title yet again. With this win, Batista became the first wrestler to pin Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.
On June 30, Batista was revealed as the last pick in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery; he made a surprise appearance while JBL was celebrating his victory in a six-man elimination match to win the new SmackDown! Championship. JBL defeated Batista at The Great American Bash by disqualification after the referee saw Batista use a steel chair. They had a rematch at SummerSlam in a No Holds Barred match in which Batista pinned JBL. The feud culminated in a Bull Rope match with Batista retaining his championship. Soon after retaining the title in a feud with Eddie Guerrero, WWE.com reported that Batista suffered a muscle tear in his back at the taping for the November 11 edition of SmackDown! due to a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane. Plans had been made for Batista to defend the title in a Triple Threat match with Eddie Guerrero and Randy Orton on the November 18 episode, but the match did not take place due to the unexpected death of Guerrero on November 13, the date of the taping. Batista paid homage to Guerrero during the SmackDown! and Raw tribute shows dedicated to Guerrero's memory.
Batista led Team SmackDown! against Team Raw in an inter-brand feud before Survivor Series. The feud saw Big Show and Kane chokeslamming Batista several more times in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series in an on-camera explanation for Batista's injury. Batista ultimately helped his team win the match. After Batista saved Rey Mysterio from Big Show and Kane, it was announced that Mysterio would team with Batista to face the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon.
On the December 16 edition of SmackDown!, Batista and Mysterio defeated WWE Tag Team Champions MNM to win the titles in a match they dedicated to Eddie Guerrero, and thus Batista became a double champion. and the clash with Big Show and Kane at Armageddon turned into a Champions vs. Champions encounter. Batista and Mysterio lost to Kane and Big Show at Armageddon. Two weeks later on SmackDown!, MNM defeated Batista and Mysterio after help from the returning Mark Henry to regain the WWE Tag Team Championships. During the interference, Henry attacked Batista, and performed his World's Strongest Slam. The teams met again in a steel cage match that Henry also became involved in, and Batista and Rey were defeated again. On January 9, WWE.com announced that Batista tore his right triceps during a match with Mark Henry at a live event on January 6. Due to his injury, Batista was forced to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship at the SmackDown! tapings on January 13, two days after surpassing Triple H's previous mark of 280 days for longest reigning champion. In his book, Batista Unleashed, Batista said that he believed that Henry was "careless" during their match as he never gave Batista any warning that the move was coming. Batista went on to have successful surgery on his arm on January 12.
Batista made an appearance at No Way Out and told the crowd that once his arm had healed he would return to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 22, he interrupted a Randy Orton interview, putting SmackDown! on notice; the World Heavyweight Championship would return to him by WrestleMania 23. Batista made his official return during the July 7 edition of SmackDown! immediately calling out and entering into a feud with Mark Henry. At Saturday Night's Main Event, Batista won a six man tag match with Rey Mysterio and Bobby Lashley taking on King Booker, Finlay, and Mark Henry. Henry was legitimately injured and was ruled out of the scheduled match between the two at The Great American Bash, thus further delaying a potential feud between the two after being delayed by Batista's initial injury.
Batista put out an open challenge to replace the injured Henry, which was answered by Mr. Kennedy. Batista lost this match via disqualification for failing to stop choking Mr. Kennedy into the turnbuckle with his boot, but continued to attack Kennedy resulting in a laceration on his forehead so severe that it exposed his cranium and required more than 20 stitches to close. Batista lost another match with Kennedy via count out in a rematch on SmackDown! before finally defeating Kennedy by pinfall on the August 4 edition of SmackDown!.
During this time, Batista tried to regain a world title, facing both Big Show for his ECW World Championship on ECW, and King Booker for his World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam and on SmackDown!. Batista won the SummerSlam match, but not the title as the contests ended via disqualification meaning Booker retained the title. In the SmackDown! about a few weeks later, Booker retained with help from his Court. Batista remained a top contender to the World Championship, competing against King Booker on several occasions while feuding with Finlay, before finally defeating Booker to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. Ironically, the win occurred at the same arena where he surrendered the title in January.
At WrestleMania 23, Batista lost the championship to the winner of the Royal Rumble match, The Undertaker. They continued to battle over the title to a stalemate in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash and a Steel Cage Match on the May 11 episode of SmackDown!. Following the latter, Edge took advantage and won the title from The Undertaker by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Afterward, Batista challenged Edge unsuccessfully for the World Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day, One Night Stand (in a Steel Cage Match), and Vengeance: Night of Champions (in a Last Chance match). The loss at Vengeance stipulated that Batista could no longer get another chance at the World Heavyweight Championship while Edge remained champion.
Batista accepted an open challenge from The Great Khali at The Great American Bash. Edge relinquished the title due to an injury the week before the pay-per-view, and Khali became the new World Heavyweight Champion, winning a Battle Royal and eliminating Batista. Batista and Kane, Edge's title opponent, faced Khali at The Great American Bash in a Triple Threat match where Khali retained the title. Batista received a disqualification victory against Khali at SummerSlam after Khali used a steel chair, thus retaining the title again. Batista finally claimed his third World Heavyweight Championship after eight consecutive attempts, by defeating Khali in a match that included Rey Mysterio at Unforgiven. His first challenge was from The Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match at No Mercy where Batista retained his title. He won the match by leaping from the inner bamboo structure to the outer one, shortening his escape route and beating Khali to the floor.
After the return of The Undertaker at Unforgiven, the duo reignited their feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose Stone Cold Steve Austin as the Special Guest Referee. Batista pinned The Undertaker after two Batista Bombs. The feud continued with a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series. During the match, Edge returned and interfered by giving The Undertaker a con-chair-to. He then pulled an unconscious Batista on top of The Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. At Armageddon, Edge won a Triple Threat Match, alongside The Undertaker for Batista's World Heavyweight Championship
Batista appeared in the Royal Rumble and was eliminated by Triple H. At No Way Out, he was part of the SmackDown Elimination Chamber Match and eliminated Big Daddy V, but was last eliminated by The Undertaker. At WrestleMania XXIV, he defeated Umaga in an interpromotional match. After Shawn Michaels defeated Ric Flair at the same event, Batista began a feud with Michaels, calling him selfish and egotistical. The two faced off at Backlash with Chris Jericho as the Special Guest referee. Michaels won after faking a knee injury and performing Sweet Chin Music. Batista then defeated Michaels at One Night Stand in a stretcher match, thus ending their feud.
On June 23, Batista was drafted from Smackdown to the Raw brand during the 2008 WWE Draft. Batista became a World Tag Team Champion for a third time on the August 4 edition of Raw when he teamed up with John Cena to defeat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase for the title, but they failed to retain the titles against the former champions on the next episode of Raw. Batista narrowly defeated Cena at SummerSlam.
On October 26 at Cyber Sunday, Batista defeated Chris Jericho for his fourth World Heavyweight Championship in a match in which Stone Cold Steve Austin was voted in as the special guest referee. Batista's reign, however, only lasted eight days when Jericho won back the title in a Steel Cage match on a three-hour special episode of Raw.
Batista then entered a feud with former Evolution partner, Randy Orton; at Survivor Series, Batista led a team of himself, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and R-Truth to face the team of Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, and Mark Henry. Batista was pinned by Orton, winning the match for his team. His feud with Orton continued up to Armageddon where Batista defeated Orton. On the December 15 edition of Raw, Batista was put into a handicap match against The Legacy with John Cena as his partner. During the match, Orton struck Batista with a punt to the head. Batista was knocked out and put out of action indefinitely due to a (kayfabe) head injury. WWE.com later reported that Batista elected to undergo surgery to repair a hamstring tear. The hamstring was injured at SummerSlam, in the same match that former World Heavyweight Champion John Cena was forced out of action with a neck injury. He was expected to be out of action for six to eight months.
Batista returned on the April 6 episode of Raw, to save Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon from The Legacy. Vince McMahon, then announced that Batista would take his place at Backlash, where he would team up with WWE Champion Triple H, and Shane McMahon, to face The Legacy. During the match, Batista had brought out a chair, but Triple H tried to stop him, so they would not get disqualified. This distraction however, cost Triple H his championship, after he lost it to Orton. The following night on Raw, Batista won a singles match against Big Show due to a distraction by John Cena, to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship at Judgment Day. Batista went on to defeat Orton in a rematch at Extreme Rules in a Steel Cage match to capture the WWE Championship. However, on the June 8th edition of Raw, Batista was to vacate the title due to a staged brutal attack by Orton and the Legacy. It was later revealed that Batista had suffered a legitimate torn left biceps. Legacy was given on-screen credit for his injury.
It was announced a few weeks before the Trish Stratus-hosted Raw that Batista would be making a career-altering announcement come that show. Batista returned on the September 14 episode with his arm still in a vice and began his announcement. Randy Orton, assuming Batista was announcing his retirement, then came out and stated that it was he who ended the career of Batista. Batista then went on to remove his arm vice, as it was a fake just to lure out Orton, and proceeded to attack Orton. He then announced that he will not be retiring, but moving to SmackDown instead. Later that night, he defeated Orton in a no-holds barred match which was to be his last match on the Raw brand.
Batista defeated Chris Jericho in his return match to SmackDown on September 18; the following week, he defeated Jericho's tag team partner The Big Show. These two victories culminated in a tag team match against the duo with his partner Rey Mysterio at WWE Hell in a Cell for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship, in which he would lose alongside Mysterio. After winning a slot in a World Heavyweight Championship Fatal-four way match for WWE Bragging Rights, Batista turned heel by attacking Mysterio, who was in the match, after Batista blamed him for not being able to win the match. After several encounters with Mysterio throughout December, Batista would become the number one contender for The Undertaker's World Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. At the event, Batista would win the match as a result of an illegal maneuver, which resulted in SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long reversing the result of the match. The Undertaker would win and retain the championship in the restarted match.
Batista then became involved in WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Bret Hart's rivalry in February 2010 by assisting McMahon in attacking Hart. John Cena would attempt to help Hart, only to end up being attacked by Batista. At WWE Elimination Chamber, as payment for Batista attacking Hart, McMahon allowed Batista to face Cena for the WWE Championship right after Cena won the title in an Elimination Chamber match. Batista would win the match and his second WWE Championship, which resulted in Batista moving back to Raw. At WrestleMania XXVI Batista lost the WWE Championship in a re-match against John Cena after he had held the title for 35 days. Batista had a Last Man Standing rematch against John Cena at Extreme Rules once again for the WWE Championship, however he lost the match by having his feet duct-taped around the ring post by John Cena and could not physically stand. Later he once again became number one contender for the title and at WWE Over The Limit he lost his final match to Cena in an "I Quit" match. On the May 24 edition of Raw he opened the show in a wheelchair and quit the company, with his profile subsequently being moved to the WWE.com alumni page.
Return to WWE (2013–2014, 2018)
On the December 23, 2013 episode of Raw, a vignette aired announcing the return of Batista on the January 20, 2014 episode of Raw. On the January 6 edition of Raw, it was announced that Batista would be participating in the Royal Rumble Match at the 2014 Royal Rumble. On the January 20 edition of Raw, Batista came out to confront Randy Orton while he was talking to the Authority. He then revealed his plans to go after the WWE World Heavyweight Championship starting with him winning the upcoming Royal Rumble Match. On the same night, after Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Batista confronted Del Rio after weeks of trash talk. He gave Del Rio the first Batista bomb since his return. Batista entered the 2014 Royal Rumble match coming in at number 28. He eliminated Roman Reigns to win the Rumble, becoming the fifth wrestler (after Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena) to win multiple Rumble matches. On the February 3 episode of Raw, Batista was confronted and was ultimately assaulted by Del Rio before chasing him off. Batista retaliated the following week, powerbombing Del Rio through the announce table.At the Elimination Chamber event and on the following Raw, he was heavily booed by the fans during matches against Del Rio. Batista won the match at Elimination Chamber but lost to Del Rio in a rematch the next night on Raw, after being distracted by Orton, who mocked his poor reception with the audience. Batista responded to the audience on the February 28 SmackDown, saying he didn't come back to be liked and promising to be the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He then squashed Dolph Ziggler after he called him out. Bryan was added to the WrestleMania main event after defeating Triple H in the opening match of the show. Bryan would ultimately win the triple threat match at WrestleMania, forcing Batista to tap out and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the process.
Evolution reunion and departure
The next night on Raw, Batista and Orton teamed together to face The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships, but the match ended in a no contest due to both teams being counted out. Later that night, Batista and Orton, along with Kane, attacked Bryan before he was set to defend his title against Triple H. Before Triple H could defeat Bryan, The Shield interrupted by spearing Triple H and taking out Batista, Orton and Kane, causing Bryan to retain his title via disqualification. On the April 14 edition of Raw, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton came down to the ring to attack The Shield after their 11-on-3 handicap match, using the name and the theme of Evolution. At Extreme Rules, Evolution lost to The Shield. At Payback, Evolution lost to The Shield again. On June 2 edition of Raw, Batista (kayfabe) quit WWE after Triple H denied him a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but eventually left the company for a second time after creative differences.