Dave Bautista (WWE® Superstar Batista™)’s Saturday Schedule:
3:00PM - Photo Ops – VIP’s 1st then General Admission & Dual Ops with Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy)
3:45PM - Autographs – VIP’s 1st then General Admission
5:30PM - Q&A Panel
Taming wild animals is best left to trained professionals. Taming “The Animal” is another matter entirely.
If Batista always appeared in control of his meteoric rise through the ranks of WWE, that’s because you’re not counting his tempestuous formative years. That what would ultimately bring the six-foot-six, 290-pound brute to the top was his ability to avoid the perils and violence all around him in his troubled youth.
He didn’t ask to be born into a rougher part of Washington, D.C. that delivered three early reality checks in the form of homicides committed on his parents’ front lawn. He cannot undo becoming estranged from his parents by age 17, nor the assault charges he accrued and probation he served for unleashing his violent temper on two unruly patrons at a club where Batista worked as a bouncer.
But rather than let his past pull him down, Batista rose above it by setting a goal of becoming an athlete and entertainer. He trained under Afa at the Wild Samoan Training Centre in Allentown, Pa. and redoubled his efforts after a WCW scout told Batista he’d never make it – only to find himself thriving in the independent circuit shortly thereafter. Two years later, WWE finally came calling.
And in 2002, Batista answered that call in a beastly way. With a bit of refinement from Evolution colleagues Triple H and Ric Flair, The Animal developed from a self-described “muscleheaded goofball” to a six-time World Heavyweight Champion and four-time tag title holder. His first World Heavyweight Championship win came at the expense of Triple H at WrestleMania 21 and lasted 282 days, which still stands as a WWE record for longest single reign in that title’s history. His resume includes winning the 2005 Royal Rumble Match, handing Triple H his first loss in a Hell in a Cell Match at Vengeance in 2005, and wins over The Undertaker and Randy Orton as well as a strong effort against John Cena in Batista’s last WWE match.
Batista departed WWE in 2010, but returned on the Jan. 20, 2014, Raw where he made his intentions to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship clear. The Animal immediately pursued that goal when he won the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, and began his deliberate march to destiny at WrestleMania.
A strange thing happened along the way, though. Unimpressed with the reaction he’d received from the WWE Universe, Batista turned his back on WWE fans and revealed that he was, “everything that Randy Orton is pretending to be and more.” With a more aggressive attitude, The Animal mocked Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! Movement” on Raw and drove the fan favorite into the canvas with a devastating Batista Bomb.