By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Pro Wrestling Sheet interview with Batista
Interview conducted by Ryan Satin
Interview available at ProWrestlingSheet.com
On the Evolution reunion and teasing a match against Triple H: “The reason is, I said I want to go back and I want to tease the thing with me and Triple H because I want to know if people are still interested. Cause it had been so far removed and it has been so many years since our rivalry. I didn’t know if people would care anymore. We teased it and it went over great. As I was leaving, and Hunter knows I’ve wanted this match at Mania for years to end my career — I wouldn’t officially retire or even consider going into the Hall of Fame until I had this match to close out my career — but as I was leaving Hunter goes, ‘get in shape, motherf—er.’ And I was like ‘alright, it’s on!’”
On not rehearsing his WrestleMania 35 match before the show: “We were scheduled to train, and we did go to the training facility, but we didn’t train. Because he said ‘I can get in the ring, and I can work out and I can feel a little more confident,’ He said, ‘or I can get in the ring and I can re-tear my pec.’ He said, ‘let’s be safe about this, we’ve been in the ring enough, we know each other.’ So we did. We did not touch each other in the ring until we got to WrestleMania, that was it. So I am really proud of what we could accomplish. Because it could’ve been better, it could’ve been better, but it could’ve been a lot f—ing worse. Like, It could’ve been disastrous and I think, considering, I’m very proud of what we accomplished. ”
On having initial reservations about returning as a heel: “I did at first, but then it was weird. It was a weird spot to be in because I didn’t realize that Hunter had been getting so much love lately, and deservedly so for everything he had done with NXT. He was just getting a lot of love. He wasn’t the heel he’d always been. And then it got to the point where I just felt like people didn’t really care. They weren’t reading into the whole heel/babyface thing. They were reading into the nostalgic rivalry between us. And it was two guys that really just wanted to beat the hell out of each other. And they just wanted to see us beat the hell out of each other. So when I started kinda thinking more along those lines then it just became much easier. I mean, honestly, we’re both heels. People just wanted to see us go to war.”
On the pride he takes in closing out his WWE career the way he wanted: “I’m proud of that match. I was proud to close out my career that way with the guy I wanted to close it out with. That was personal for all kinds of reasons and now I just finally have closure on my career. Like that night. And I wanted to announce it [retirement], I didn’t want to make it a company thing. I didn’t want them to have me come on the show and do the big spot where I’m announcing my retirement. I just wanted to announce it and slowly just kinda fade away. That’s it. I’m done. I should’ve hung up my boots a long time ago, but I was very stubborn and adamant and I just wanted to do it on my terms. And I got the opportunity to do that.”
On WWE creative and performers not having freedom to flourish: “The creative process I still don’t get. It was a nightmare to me the last time I was there, which was 2014, and it seems like it’s become worse. I feel like they don’t have a clear vision, a long term vision, everything is very week-to-week. It doesn’t seem like they stick to a plan very much. [Chris] Jericho pointed out something to me that makes complete sense. He said that John Cena is the last guy who is gonna be over like he is and it’s because the performers now they’re limited. Their hands are tied. They can’t go to war like we used to. We used to go to war and beat the crap out of each other and it earned a level of respect from people. And it was just like a different level of respect, it was a different level of getting over. We had more freedom.”
On resenting people who haven’t wrestled having a say behind the scenes in WWE: “And I will say this openly … I resent there being so many people who have say-so who have never taken a bump in their life. That bothers me…. I get that they were successful outside of professional wrestling, but it also bothers me when someone has control over a professional wrestler, or someone who never paid their dues, to me they don’t deserve to be in that position. Take a few bumps. Know what we’re going through before you decide what our career is going to be.”
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Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...