REAL NAME: Dave Bautista
BORN: January 18, 1969 in Washington, D.C.
6' 6", 325 pounds
ALIASES/NICKNAMES: Kahn, Leviathan, Demon of the Deep, Deacon Batista
In a relatively short period of time, Bautista has gone from simply being the fourth member of Evolution to being one of the biggest stars in the WWE and, with his victory at Wrestlemania, the WWE Champion.
Dave Bautista grew up in Washington, D.C. and worked as a bouncer in local bars and clubs. A meeting with Road Warrior Animal and Curt Hennig at a bodybuilding show in Minneapolis turned Bautista towards a career in wrestling.
In early 1999, he began training at the Wild Samoans Training Camp in Allentown, Pennsylvania, led by Samoan Afa. A few months later, on October 30, 1999, Bautista debuted in Afa's WXW as Kahn, defeating Southtown Joe. He quickly rose to the top of the organization. At some point in his early career, Bautista was given a try out by World Championship Wrestling but WCW chose not to sign him.
Instead, Bautista headed to Ohio Valley Wrestling in July 2000 where he was dubbed the Demon of the Deep Leviathan (or just Leviathan for short) and became a member of the Disciples of Synn, which would also include the future Mordecai and Tyson Tomko.
After defeating WWE stars such as Kane, Val Venis and the Big Show, Leviathan won the OVW Heavyweight Championship from Doug Basham on November 28, 2001 in Jefferson, Indiana. After several months of defending the title, Bautista lost the championship to the Prototype (John Cena). Bautista demanded a rematch, but was soon on his way to the WWE.
He initially wrestled in the WWE during a dark match in February 2002. Wrestling as Leviathan, Batista (the WWE losing the "U" in his name) teamed with Brock Lesnar and the pair defeated Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin. His first on-screen appearance in the WWE came in May 2002 as Deacon Batista, the bodyguard to D-Von Dudley who was working with the Reverend D-Von gimmick. Batista remained with D-Von for much of the spring and summer of 2002, before turning against the Reverend and striking out on his own.
The break from Dudley also meant his departure from Smackdown. After several weeks of vignettes heralding a "Genetic Revolution", Dave Batista appeared on Raw, defeating Justin Credible. Batista soon earned the attention of legendary Ric Flair, who helped Batista in his battles with Kane, including a victory at Armageddon 2002.
Evolution was formed in early 2003 when Batista joined Flair, Randy Orton and Triple H in a new super group that many people compared to the Four Horsemen. Evolution quickly made a name for themselves when they beat down Scott Steiner and later ripped off Kane's mask.
However, Batista was soon sidelined with a torn bicep in March 2003 during a house show match against the Dudley Boyz. Two months later, he re-tore his triceps muscle when he fell while jogging. It would be October before Batista returned to action, attacking Bill Goldberg to earn Triple H's bounty on the then-World Champion.
In addition to aiding Triple H in his feud with Goldberg, Batista also had earned the ire of Shawn Michaels. Batista lost to Michaels at Armageddon 2003 but at the end of the night, he and Flair had won the WWE Tagteam Championship, as a last-minute entry into the Tag team Turmoil match.
After losing the tag team titles to Rob Van Dam and Booker T, Batista and Flair turned their attention to helping Randy Orton in his feud against Mick Foley. The three members of Evolution joined forces to take on Foley and The Rock in a victorious effort at Wrestlemania XX.
Batista and Flair regained the Tag team titles the night after Wrestlemania but the title reign lasted only a couple of weeks before a loss to Chris Benoit and Edge cost Evolution the belts. After the loss, Batista began feuding with Chris Jericho, defeating Y2J at Vengeance. Jericho and Batista would also clash again, in a Triple Threat match involving Edge at SummerSlam, with the Intercontinental Championship in the balance. Despite Batista's best efforts, it was Edge who walked out with the title.
With Randy Orton ejected from Evolution the next night, Batista was now seen as the future of the group. Meanwhile, he and Flair would battle Chris Benoit and William Regal in tag team action. As a solid member of Evolution, Batista defeated Randy Orton on a September 2004 edition of Raw to cost Orton his chance at becoming WWE World Champion while Triple H held the title.
As the Survivor Series approached, Batista began to look towards a possible shot at the WWE title if his team were to win the main event. However, the team of Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Maven and Chris Benoit won, which was the beginning of tension between Batista and Triple H.
That tension escalated on a weekly basis, with Batista accidentally eliminating Ric Flair during a battle royale and Triple H's mistimed chair shot knocking out Batista during a tag team match against Benoit and Jericho. When the combatants were announced for the Elimination Chamber with the vacant World title on the line, both Triple H and Batista were included and things began to escalate, especially when Batista defeated Rhyno during a "Beat the Clock Match" and earned the right to enter the match last, rather than Triple H.
At New Year's Revolution, Batista lost when he was eliminated by Randy Orton, although it appeared that Triple H could have helped save Batista from elimination, but chose not to. Triple H also did little to endear himself to his fellow Evolution member when he interfered in a Number One contender's match between Batista and Orton, causing Batista to be defeated.
No matter, Batista defeated WWE Tag team Champions La Resistance to earn a spot in the Royal Rumble. On January 23, 2005 at the Rumble, Batista eliminated John Cena and won the right to compete in the main event at Wrestlemania 21. After several weeks of uncertainty, Batista decided to stay on Raw and face Triple H, leaving Evolution behind.
Batista would walk into the main event at Wrestlemania the challenger, and walk out the World Champion. A month later, Batista defeated Triple H in a rematch at Backlash and then followed it up with a victory over the Game in a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance. It appeared that Batista would rule the roost on Raw for some time to come.
Instead, he would be the very last draft pick to move from Raw to Smackdown, surprising everyone, most notably JBL, by appearing at the end of the June 30th, 2005 edition of Smackdown. JBL, upset at not being named the new champion after John Cena left for Raw, immediately targetted Batista.Batista was more than up for the challenge, defeated JBL at the Great American Bash, SummerSlam and in a bullrope match on the September 9th edition of Smackdown.
With JBL dealt with, Eddie Guerrero was named the new number one contender. Guerrero feigned friendship even after Batista defeated Guerrero at No Mercy and most assumed that Batista and Guerrero would clash again.
Eddie Guerrero's tragic death changed all that, and Batista led Smackdown in mourning the loss of Guerrero.
As the Raw and Smackdown rosters clashed, it was also Batista who led the charge, coming to Rey Mysterio's aide and even teaming with Mysterio, first against the Big Show and Kane and later, agaisnt MNM. Mysterio and Batista even defeated MNM, only to fall victim to sexual harassment charges from Melina and outside interference from Mark Henry.
Sadly, it would be injury and not an in-ring challenger that would end Batista's reign as World Champion. Suffering a torn triceps, Batista was forced to relinquish the title in January and undergo surgery to repair the injury. After extensive surgery and rehabilitation for the injury, Batista was due back on Smackdown in early July 2006.
Upon his return to the ring, Batista would reignite his feud with Mark Henry and was set to meet him at the Great American Bash. But with Henry needing knee surgery to repair a legitimate torn patella tendon, Mr. Kennedy would take over as Batista’s opponent. Kennedy would win by DQ at Bash after Batista "went nuts" and the two would begin a brief feud.
Batista would fail to reclaim his belt against King Booker before entering into a long feud with Fit Finlay in singles and tag matches. Batista finally got back his belt defeating King Booker at Survivor Series but would lose it to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 23. They’d meet again at Backlash in a Last Man Standing match that ended in a draw.
Batista would also unsuccessfully chase Edge for the belt and then go after champion The Great Khali. Khali would retain the title by DQ at SummerSlam and Smackdown before Batista defeated him at Unforgiven.
In October 2007, his autobiography, Batista Unleashed, written with Jeremy Roberts, was released by WWE Books. Batista, already no stranger to controversy for having called some of the SmackDown and Raw talent lazy in interviews during 2005, again raised eyebrows with comments he made in his book about his marriage. He criticized his cancer-stricken wife for not cleaning their home, and also seemed to use her illness to justify his philandering.
Nonetheless, his popularity among the fans continued unabated. He retained his belt in matches against Undertaker at Cyber Sunday and at Survivor Series. Edge's interference in the latter Hell in Cell match led to a feud between he and Batista. At Armageddon, Edge, with the help of the Major Brothers, would beat both Batista and the Undertaker to win the title.
Batista's next major feud would be with Shawn Michaels. Unhappy Michaels retired Ric Flair, and goaded by Chris Jericho, Batista would take on Michaels at Backlash. There, Michaels would seemingly suffer a knee injury, and as Batista dropped his guard, Michaels dropped him with a super-kick to get the duke. Upon learning Michaels faked his injury, an enraged Batista threatened to hurt Michaels the next time they met. Two Batista-bombs and a spinebuster on the steps in the aisle at One Night Stand felled Michaels and gave Batista the revenge he sought.
A few weeks later and Batista was drafted to Raw. He still got a title shot against Edge, but with La Familia distracting the challenger and Chavo Guerrero acting as referee, Edge beat Batista at Night of Champions.
Batista moved on to take on John Cena, and the two met in a supposed "first time ever" match at a fateful SummerSlam. Batista would win, but both he and Cena would have to undergo surgeries in the months ahead for injuries they suffered wrestling each other.
Following relatively short feuds with Kane and JBL, Batista was back in the title hunt. He would defeat Jericho for the World Heavyweight belt at Cyber Sunday, but lose it only days later in a rematch on Raw. Not even two months later, Batista would sustain a kayfabe concussion, going down to one of Randy Orton's infamous kicks to the head. Batista in fact required surgery to repair a hamstring tear he suffered in his SummerSlam match against Cena.
Upon his return to Raw in early April, Batista erupted like a house on fire. During Orton's Raw match against Vince McMahon, which disintegrated into Orton and his Legacy crew of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. fighting Shane McMahon and Triple H, (who arrived to save a prone Vince from getting Orton's boot to the head), Batista showed up and cleared the ring. That set up a confrontation for Backlash, where Orton and Legacy met and defeated Batista, WWE Champion Triple H, and Shane. With the victory, Orton became the new title holder.
The feud continued, leading up to a title match against Orton at Judgment Day. Orton intentionally got himself disqualified by slapping the referee, and he and Legacy proceeded to stomp Batista, which brought out Ric Flair to save the day. Flair, apparently out of retirement and back in action, helped fuel the feud, as he challenged Orton to a parking lot brawl. That eventually drew Legacy, who beat down Flair and threw him inside a steel cage. With Batista on the outside looking in but unable to do anything, Orton punted Flair in the head.
Batista met Orton once again, this time at Extreme Rules. The Steel Cage match was a short one as a result of a bicep tear Batista suffered in April. Still, he was able to get the pinfall over Orton after hitting him with a Batista Bomb. The next day on Raw, Orton and Legacy attacked The Animal, and Orton "broke" Batista's arm, stomping it after locking it in a chair. Orton later challenged Batista to a rematch and General Manager Vickie Guerrero said if Batista couldn't answer the bell, he would forfeit the title. But when the match began and Orton waited in the ring for the ref to count-out Batista, Triple H arrived and eventually Pedigreed him onto a chair.
The next day, Batista underwent surgery on his left bicep, and WWE announced he would be out for four months recovering. Some, however, have speculated he could be out until next year.
Jan. 1, 2014: Will Batista’s WWE return be a boon or a bust?
March 27, 2012: The Streak: Batista bows down
Dec. 2, 2009: I Walk Alone tells Batista's tale
Nov. 25, 2009: Batista talks I Walk Alone
Aug. 11, 2008: Batista holds court in Montreal
June 22, 2008: Batista opens up
Aug. 17, 2005: A Summerslam homecoming for Batista
Aug. 10, 2005: Hogan, Batista get cheers at SummerSlam confab
May 1, 2005: Batista puts fight in perspective
March 22, 2005: Batista an atypical "animal"
March 16, 2005: Batista, Benoit entertain fans at press conference
-- compiled by John Milner and Richard Kamchen
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