Dave Bautista's pro wrestling career is over, and if you ask the man himself, he ended it exactly how he wanted to.
Bautista, better known to WWE fans as Batista, appeared on Lillian Garcia's podcast this week and talked about why he wanted to face Triple H in his last match, as well as why he felt his previous last run with WWE in 2014 was underwhelming.
"I felt like my career really got started when I started working with Triple H. I never have been around the bush about it, Hunter made me a star," said Batista. "He put a lot of stock into me. He invested a lot into me and put himself on the line physically for me. Not only did he put me over three times clean in the ring to make me a star, but also took the time to have me ride with him and have me pick his brain. He just groomed me to be a star in that company, so I wanted to finish out my career for him by just saying thank you to go out laying on my back for the guy.
"That is what I have always believed. It is the old school belief that I have, when you go out you go out on your back. If you go out and build a star do that, and obviously Hunter is already a star, but I wanted my last match to be with him on my back, because that is literally the only way that I can thank him."
Batista's last run with WWE was in late 2013 and 2014, highlighted by a triple threat match at WrestleMania 30 with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. WWE tried to cast him as a babyface during that run, despite the objects of Batista himself who knew he would not be cheered at the time. Famously, the crowd began chanting "Boo-tista" at him, largely in a revolt due to the fact that the WWE crowds at the time were heavily behind Daniel Bryan and didn't want to see him lose a spot in the title match at WrestleMania to Batista (WWE planned on Orton vs. Batista until the fans forced them to change it due to months of negative reaction).
"It was horrible (his 2013-2014 run). I tried not to take it personally but I really did and it hurt because it's hard to tell people that you want to be there for the right reasons, but they don't want to hear it," said Batista. "They just don't care why you are there; they just don't want you there. It was a hard thing for me to do, and it was harder for me to leave because I felt that I was starting to connect with the audience. I felt that I was where I wanted to be and we were pushing the personal stuff aside. I was kind of getting passed that, but I had to leave. I had to go promote Guardians of the Galaxy. I was obligated to go do that."
As it turns out, that film turned Batista into an internationally known movie star. As he now transitions away from wrestling permanently, you're likely to continue to see the former world champion in more and more movie roles in the future.
[H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript]