Dave Bautista (known in the pro wrestling world as just Batista) had his final run with the WWE back in 2019 leading up to a No Holds Barred match with Triple H at WrestleMania 35. He promptly retired from the business after that, and besides a quick onscreen cameo at WrestleMania Backlash earlier this year he's hasn't dipped his toe back into the wrestling world. The former WWE Champion spoke with Men's Health this week and explained his reasoning behind it, stating that he doesn't want the label "pro wrestler turned actor" to pigeonhole him into certain acting roles.
"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."
He then mentioned how his acting career taught him how much he enjoys playing villainous roles, such as the one he'll play in the upcoming Dune film as Beast Rabban Harkonnen.
"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."
Bautista made headlines earlier this year when, while answering fan questions, he said he didn't want to work alongside fellow WWE alum John Cena and Dwayne Johnson over fear of being "lumped in" with them. Cena responded to those comments while speaking with Esquire.
"I'm super sad about that because Dave Bautista is an unbelievably gifted actor," Cena said. "He's done some amazing work. But I think when someone makes a statement like that, I think the important thing is to try to look at things from their perspective. Dave has worked so hard on his craft and he is so dedicated to his characters and really wants to put forth a body of work that gives him his own identity. I 100 percent understand that."
He continued, "Dave is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and one of the most generous guys you'll ever meet. I don't have any beef with Dave and I really genuinely think Dave doesn't have any beef with me. He really just wants to be identified and recognized for his work. And I cannot fault him for that. I applaud him for it. To be brave enough to say something like that kind of allows him to go forth on his own and I appreciate that."