Feature image via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki
WWE Superstar Batista – interviewed in person (yip, I met Dave in the very muscly flesh) at
The Sebel in Auckland, March 2009; and as published in Groove Guide magazine, July 2009. Written under my maiden name. Sidenote: it’s cool to see how far the quality of my writing has come since 2009 and since studying as a mature aged student to improve that very skill. Read on for a bit of a journey back to 2009…Enjoy!
BREAKING BAD – By Kate Taylor (nee Foster)
Bodyslammin’ their way to Vector Arena, the muscularly superior superstars of the WWE, including wunderkind BATISTA, will perform in an explosive evening of sports entertainment for your viewing pleasure.
I know some readers will be guffawing into their lattes in regards to some of the aforementioned terms, such as ‘perform‘, or the phrase suggesting that the culture is an athletic, amusing and enjoyable voyeuristic pursuit. I know which side of the ‘it’s fake/it’s legitimate‘ fence I sit on. Check out doco Beyond the Mat to understand how any true wrestling fan feels.
Dave ‘The Animal’ Bautista, standing at six-foot six, weighing in at roughly 132 kilograms and freely admitting he is “kinda scary looking“, is the most sparkling jewel in the current WWE crown. Bautista, who is a normal kind of guy that currently likes listening to Run DMC or LL Cool J for training sessions and having a supply of TV Show Heroes on hand if he is ever fortunate enough to have some down time; used to be a bouncer in a former life.
While club kids can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this guy won’t be on the door anytime soon, Bautista can get on with some of the perks of the job; such as calling wrestling living legend Ric Flair a close personal friend. “Ric taught me more about life than he did about wrestling“; or his joy in cheering kids up on shows like Extreme Makeover, or at international events. “I love travelling and meeting people across the world, that’s all cool, but being able to put a smile, you know, on a kid’s face. Man, that’s awesome. That’s like the best feeling” he says humbly.
Nice or not, this guy can’t catch a break. Sure he’s won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship four times; but he’s constantly getting himself injured in what may appear to the fan and the casual observer as a campaign to prove the validity of the risks taken in the pursuit of wrestling glory. When I spoke with Bautista in March 2009, he was awaiting his triumphant return to the ring after being injured. He clawed his way back to his punishing best for a couple of months, even winning the WWE Championship belt on June 7 for the first time in his career (in a cage match against the guy that injured him in the first place); until the very next night, when his left bicep was snapped from the bone leaving him in need of four months recovery time after immediate surgery; the pictures of which featured on the WWE website showing a surgeon with his finger buried inside Bautista’s arm muscle (Ewwww).
The guy responsible for these horrific injuries is current all-purpose bad dude, Randy Orton. You know the kind of guy, not really all that talented and skating through on his father’s legacy as part of a new set of multi-generational superstars within the company. A real love-to-hate character. All of this feeds into the storytelling aspect of the sports phenomenon; a part which Bautista has a great deal of respect for, especially if he gets to be a figure of evil himself. “I would prefer to be a bad guy. I mean, it’s always fun being a hero, but I always took pride in being a bad guy cause a lot of times old school wrestlers like for the bad guys to lead the match, and I like being the Quarterback, you know? I felt just as much pride in having people boo me cause I really felt like I was doing my job there with people booing me. I’m in a grey area, I’m kind of a ‘tweener’. I’m a fan favourite but I still do a lot of, ah, bad guy things. You know?” Bautista chuckles.
Come July, Auckland fans will most probably not see Bautista in the squared circle trying to regain his cruelly stolen title or going for retribution against Orton; but rest assured he will have his comeuppance, “I don’t know where everyone’s going to end up, but ah, hopefully it’ll be me and Orton.” Viva la Revenge!
Get ready to rumble: WWE Raw LIVE Tour with John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Kane, Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly and more. Friday July 3rd 2009 at Vector Arena, Auckland.
Wasn’t that like a bit of a timewarp back to 2009? Yeah! Stay tuned for a post in coming weeks of the full transcription of the face-to-face interview I did with Dave Bautista in March 2009; where we chat about his late friends Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, jetlag, life on the road and heaps of other topics plus my thoughts on what it was like to meet Dave in person and how I faked him out…more soon.