Former WWE Superstar and current Hollywood movie star Dave Bautista was interviewed by Daily Dead at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. A good portion of the conversation focused on his much maligned 2014 return to WWE.
Bautista, who wrestled under the alternate spelling "Batista", made it know that he didn't really enjoy that 2014 run in WWE.
"It really sucked. It didn't have anything to do with me or anything, there was just a lot going on behind the scenes," explained Bautista. "It was the company, man. They really just screwed me over. I was banging my head against the wall every day. It's one of those things, I wish people knew how hard I fought to be there and how hard I fought to just give them the best matches and performances that I could. But it was an everyday struggle dealing with the company. It was such a f---ing nightmare."
Bautista said that contrary to popular belief, the run was actually longer than originally intended.
"What most fans don't realize is that I stayed an extra month. The reason I had to leave was because I had to go and do press for Marvel for 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' They were actually nice enough to let me stay an extra month."
However, Bautista explained, their plans for that extra month didn't make much sense to him. "They wanted me to stay that extra month and work with Daniel Bryan at another pay-per-view, but I just thought that didn't even make sense."
Don't panic, everyone. It has nothing to do any kind of disdain for Bryan. It was more of a disagreement with the creative. Batista explained, "We were just starting the Evolution thing, so why couldn't we run with that instead of me putting Daniel over again, which I just did at WrestleMania? We're not going to have a better match there than we did at Mania. Let's just work more with Evolution and build these guys up. So we did. Then right after we built the hell out of them and they were so strong as a unit, they broke them all up. I said, 'What is wrong with you guys?'
"But that was my struggle. I also think a lot of people thought that I really quit, that I really walked out, when in reality, I really stayed an extra month more than I was obligated to do just because I really wanted to be there. I felt like I finally hit my stride and I was so happy to be there again."
The bloom came off the rose, though, when Bautista suggested he come back for Summerslam.
"Here’s how messed up they are," Bautista began. "I said to them, because I wanted to come back for SummerSlam, 'Wouldn’t it be great if I came back right when I’m also in the biggest film in the world?' Literally, it was [Triple H] and Stephanie [McMahon] who laughed at me, and Hunter goes, 'We don’t even know if it’s going to be any good.' I swear to God."
For the record, Guardians of the Galaxy made $773 million at the box office and has a 91% Rotten Tomatoes score.
The final part of the interview deals with WWE brass completely mis-reading whether performers should be built as a heel or a babyface, something that continues to plague the creative to this day.
"Oh yeah, and the first night that I came back, I came out and it was somewhere in Ohio. They wanted me to come back and they wanted me to do this thing with Stephanie and Hunter in the ring. It was my first night back and I wanted to just be out there by myself so I could have five or ten minutes with the fans. They said, “No, we really want Steph out there, too, because we’re doing this thing,” and I had to just go along with it."
"Then, they were talking about me being a baby face. I was like, 'I’m not a baby face, I’m a heel.' I said, 'The fans want me to be a heel. They love me as a heel.' They said, 'No, they’re going to be so happy you’re back, so this is how we’re doing this.' I told them, 'It’s only going to last for about five minutes the first night I come back, because they want me to be a heel. I’m a good heel.' They just said, 'No, no. They’re going to love you.'
"Then, creative kept trying to push me down everybody’s throat as a baby face. It just kept getting worse every night because the fans kept booing me and booing me. Every night I’d come walking backstage, and I’d look at Vince [McMahon] and I kept telling him we had to change the way we were doing this.
"Then, there was one night that he got so frustrated, and this was after a couple months. I walked down the ramp, the fans are just booing me and booing me, so after, I walked right into Vince and I looked at him. He goes, 'You know what, you were right. We’re going to turn you into a heel, we’re going to shove it right down their throats.' I said, 'I’ve been telling you this for two months.'
"I think he just didn’t want to agree with me. It was like that the whole time I was there, and then I had to go for Guardians."
"It was such a horrible experience, and I wish I could have been the guy the fans wanted me to be when I was there. I took a lot of blame I didn’t deserve in that situation. ... I think they thought it was such a failure, that run, and it wasn’t a failure because of me."
You can read the entire interview by clicking this link.