December 2, 2009
I Walk Alone tells Batista's tale
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Watching Dave Batista's bio DVD, I Walk Alone, you really can't help but feel that he is a lot more special a wrestler than most fans give him credit for.
After all, like most other big men, Batista's power game hasn't jived with the at-times harsh 'net-based fans as much as the high-flyers or submission specialists.
After viewing this DVD, however, I think I'm safe in saying that those minds will change, because what you get is a complete look at a wrestler whose dedication to his personal betterment and the struggle he had growing up is one of the most incredible stories we've seen WWE document.
The DVD begins back in Batista's hometown of Washington, DC, and we indeed start with Dave taking a trip back to his old neighbourhood. Here, and throughout the DVD, we see interviews with his mom, childhood friends and his now ex-wife (who I'll give additional props to for being incredibly professional). I won't ruin the story of Batista's life and will instead say that the flow of this DVD is not stilted at all as we transition through Dave's upbringing.
Of course, it certainly helps that WWE and the Wild Samoans are on good terms, because we get Afa on the documentary talking about Dave's development. There's also discussion about his time in OVW (plus a match!). The really cool part here, to me, is that WWE allows Batista to talk about one James. E. Cornette without censoring his positiveness about the outspoken former Titan Towers employee. It's unfortunate, though, that there was no canned footage of Cornette talking about Dave to use in the DVD. Same goes for Brother Devon, whom as Dave points out, was very instrumental in helping the then Deacon Batista adapt to life in WWE.
Another extremely positive part, and one I was genuinely shocked to see, was Batista openly talking about the problems that he had with Booker T. Now, granted, Booker is not with WWE (at the moment) so we only get one side of the story, but it's still one of those things that you wouldn't necessarily expect WWE to pull the curtain on.
Now with those positives, there are a couple things that are kept hidden from the viewer, such as the circumstances behind Batista's breakup with his wife and the much rumoured interactions with Melina; however, I'm not completely upset about this, when you consider, for example, that in the Bret Hart DVD, Hitman's marital woes are kept out of that recording as well. It's hard sometimes to know where to draw the line between business and personal when making a DVD like this, but I'm glad that there's still that professionalism here.
Of course, no Batista documentary would be complete without interviews from Ric Flair and Triple H about the time spent in Evolution (though notably Randy Orton, who's DVD-less by the way, is not included), discussion about Eddie Guerrero and the time Batista's spent on the shelf.
So if, after all of that, fans still haven't felt more respect for Batista, then the matches selected assuredly will. Despite seeing Batista on a near weekly basis wrestling on WWE TV, I really started to appreciate how agile Dave is for a bigger wrestler more after seeing the sample of his body of work included in the DVD. Of course, the highlight for me is the rare OVW match included (and I wish there were others too), but there are some great bouts here. Sadly, Batista's Royal Rumble victory is only highlighted rather than played out in full (we know why that is, but still...).
Overall, I Walk Alone is going to turn more heads than any other DVD WWE has done. Some have had larger fanbases going in, but in my opinion none will have a more positive effect on the outlook of one of the Fed's biggest names.
Jon Waldman, co-editor of SLAM! Wrestling, Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle, has been with SLAM! since 2000.