It’s extremely debatable whether Batista’s 2014 stint with the WWE was a success. What’s not arguable is the fact that it did not go the way he, or anyone within the company, expected it to. Batista assures anyone and everyone that his life outside WWE is much better than in it, both from a health and financial standpoint as his stock continues to climb in Hollywood.
That movie career started out much like The Rock’s, without much fanfare or positive acclaim. In fact, four of his first five movies went straight to DVD. But his role as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy changed everything as far as how film executives viewed him and what the long-term outlook could be for Batista. That film was released, ironically, the same year he decided to have another run with WWE.
As a matter of fact, Batista’s stint was scheduled to run from January to May 2014, but he extended it another month because of how dissatisfied he was with his programs. What we might not have known before, and what Batista revealed during an interview with MLW Radio, is that he even wanted to come back for a SummerSlam program in a cross-promotional effort when Guardians was released in theaters. But Triple H of all people (as well as his wife Stephanie) didn’t have the same vision.
We’ll let The Animal take it from there, as transcribed by Wrestling Inc.
“When I left, and I haven’t talked to a lot of people about this, and I don’t care if they’re pissed about me saying something, but I wanted to come back and do SummerSlam. I wanted to come back around [the time of] the release of the film, around Guardians. And I said, ‘wouldn’t it be great if I was back and I was also in the number one movie in the world?’ And they kind of had a snicker and there was, you know, ‘yeah, well, we don’t know if the movie’s going to be that good.’ And it was one of those moments. Literally, and I swear I’m not exaggerating. It was that and it was a very uncomfortable moment where I think they were just kind of doubting me and laughing in my face. And I was like, ‘okay’. But it’s not that I wanted to leave. I even wanted to come back. It’s just that they’re really difficult to work with and they’re just not very flexible.”
To no surprise of Batista, the film went on to become the highest-grossing superhero film of 2014, as well as the third highest-grossing film in the country that year. He’s got enough on his upcoming calendar to never have to concern himself with a return to the WWE if he didn’t have the itch. Guardians did so well that a sequel is in post-production. Two Kickboxer movies, a role in the latest James Bond film, and four others should keep him plenty busy. But if he ever did decide to give sports entertainment another shot, he’d make sure the same mistakes didn’t happen twice.
“If I ever went back it would be a lot different, a lot different for sure. For one, I’d make sure even before I went back that I knew what I was getting into and they had a plan and stuck to it and I’d hold them accountable for what they promised me. The last time, I really didn’t and I’m really sorry about the way the whole thing went, man, still. I’m a little sour about it still.”
Part of Batista’s failures two years ago stemmed from the creative decision to put him over in the Royal Rumble. The groundswell of support for Daniel Bryan was like nothing people had ever seen before or since. It wasn’t as if the fans’ vitriol was directed solely at Batista. It was aimed for Vince McMahon and the decision-makers who were keeping Bryan down while letting a part-timer take his and CM Punk’s main-event spot. But even before that materialized, Batista felt his return was being done the wrong way.
“Right from before I went back, I was arguing with them. For one, Vince wanted me to come back as a babyface and I was like, ‘it’s not going to work, Vince. I’m a heel. [The fans] want me to be a heel. They like me as a heel. I’m a good heel!’ He was like, ‘no, they miss you. They love you.’ And I was like, ‘Vince, that’s going to last for like two seconds.’ And then, also, the first night I came back, they wanted me to come out and do this goofy thing with all these other people in the ring and I was like, ‘it’s my first night back! Give me five minutes alone, me and the fans. Let me just have the ring to myself for a night, my first night back.’ And they didn’t want to do that, so it was a real struggle from the very beginning.”
Batista’s claims, and how fans reacted to him, have become more and more similar to that of Roman Reigns. Further insight supports the similarities even more.
“I was just beating my head against a wall, struggling, fighting with them, arguing. Everyday I was standing outside of Vince’s office waiting to talk to him. Vince just wanted to push me, shove me down their throats, as a babyface. It just got worse and worse and the more they shoved me down people’s throats, the more they resented me for being there. And then, there was all this stuff with [CM] Punk leaving and somehow I was blamed for that. I don’t know. It was just really odd. It just wasn’t very good from the very beginning.”
Once the smoke cleared from WrestleMania 30 and fans finally got the champion in Daniel Bryan they wanted, Batista was supposedly in line for a singles match for the championship that he was supposedly promised when he came back. But according to Batista, he declined, saying it wouldn’t make sense anymore, but that he was fine with going in a different direction. That direction led to reuniting Evolution in a major program with The Shield. The Animal shared his feelings on that rivalry, as well, and what he would have ultimately done different, as transcribed by 411 Mania.
“And then, the whole thing with The Shield, like, I love that whole run, man. I loved working with those guys. The thing is, we put them over like a million bucks then they split them right up. They could have continued that run for at least year together. Those guys are great. The Shield was such a strong unit. Man, they could have milked that for everything that it’s worth. They should have had them running with the Wyatts till everybody was sick of seeing it, but they split them right up. And not only that, but we did this match where we literally, we all beat the s–t out of each other. And, of course, I don’t mind being the fall guy, take the fall, whatever, they can go over me. I’ll put them over like a million bucks, but the thing that pissed me off was that we busted our a– to get those f–king guys over and everybody walked away saying, ‘Batista wore blue. What an a–hole.’ f–king really? That’s what you got out of that f–king match, that I wore blue? That s–t pissed me off, man. It just pissed me off.”
[Image via WWE]