Dave Bautista (Batista) racked up six world championship reigns, two Royal Rumble wins, multiple WrestleMania main events and a future WWE Hall of Fame induction during his decorated tenure with the WWE. But "The Animal's" early days in the company were anything but easy, as he explained in a new interview with Men's Health. Bautista first started training at Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2000 and by mid-2002 he was on SmackDown as Deacon Batista alongside D-Von Dudley. His rise to stardom would slowly begin the following year when he joined Evolution, but he described the atmosphere within the company during those early years as "toxic."
"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," Bautista said.
"It was just a very toxic atmosphere," he added. "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."
Bautista officially retired from pro wrestling following his No Holds Barred match with Triple H back at WrestleMania 35. He was supposed to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this year when both the Class of 2020 and 2021 were brought in but then had his induction pushed to a later date.
"To the @WWEUniverse Unfortunately due to previous obligations I am unable to be a part of the @WWE #HOF this year. By my request they have agreed to induct me at a future ceremony where I'll be able to properly thank the fans and people who made my career possible #DreamChaser," he wrote back in March.
WWE returns to pay-per-view on Oct. 21 with the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. Check out the updated lineup for the show in the list below:
- WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
- WWE Championship: Big E vs. Drew McIntyre
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks
- Raw Tag Team Championships: RK-Bro vs. AJ Styles & Omos
- Goldberg vs. Big E (No Holds Barred)
- Edge vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell)
- King of the Ring Final (Sami Zayn/Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal/Xavier Woods)
- Queen's Crown Final (Zelina Vega/Carmella vs. Shayna Baszler/Doudrop)
- Mansoor vs. Mustafa Ali