Dave Bautista says he struggled to ‘slot in’ on the WWE: ‘It was only a very poisonous environment’

American actor Dave Bautista at the 78 Venice International Film Festival 2021. Dune red carpet. Venice (Italy), September 3rd, 2021 (Photo by Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Dave Bautista attends the Dune crimson carpet premiere on the 78th Venice International Film Festival (Photo by Rocco Spaziani/Archivio Spaziani/Mondadori Portfolio through Getty Images)

The WWE could make stars — however it will probably additionally grind them down. For each Dwayne Johnson, John Cena and Sasha Banks, there are quite a few different aspiring multimedia celebrities who by no means transcend the wrestling ring. That was Dave Bautista’s expertise when he bought into the wrestling sport as a 30-year-old seeking a serious way of life change. In a brand new interview with Men’s Health, the breakout star of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and the upcoming sci-fi spectacle Dune reveals that he lived in fear of getting fired from the WWE earlier than he may make a reputation for himself. 

“It was just a very toxic atmosphere,” he says of the wrestling business that he joined within the early 2000s. “Wrestling is very competitive. It’s very cutthroat. You’re put in a position where you have to posture up all the time, and it’s exhausting. It’s just exhausting.” 

Bautista additionally confesses that he felt misplaced throughout his first years within the WWE, apprehensive that he wasn’t successful followers both inside or outdoors of Vince McMahon’s media goliath. “I couldn’t get comfortable, people didn’t like me, I was doing something wrong, the company wasn’t going to do anything with me, they didn’t know what to do with me, they didn’t know where I fit in.”

Dave Bautista attends the WrestleMania 30 press convention on the Hard Rock Cafe New York in April 2014 (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Bautista did in the end discover his place amidst the WWE hierarchy, incomes six World Heavyweight Champion titles throughout the course of his in-ring profession. But the toxicity he felt throughout the business steadily seeped into his private life. Bautista admits that his second marriage failed largely due to the demanding commitments required by his profession. “She wanted a husband who was going to be home, and I was like, ‘Make a choice,’” he admits. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to say, but admittedly, I chose my career, because it was the only shot I had.”

By his personal admission, Bautista made different “cliché mistakes” as properly, together with spending his sizable paychecks on “stupid stuff” together with fancy vehicles and lavish houses. “I wasted all that money, and I could’ve done a lot of good things with that money. I could’ve helped people; I could’ve helped animals. But honestly, I was miserable and I was just trying to buy happiness.”

Dave Bautista flexes his performing muscular tissues as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Photo: ©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection)

That unhappiness led Bautista to half methods with the WWE in 2010, citing a scarcity of alternatives to pursue profession paths outdoors of the corporate, together with performing. (He returned to the WWE in 2013 and once more in 2018, lastly making his retirement Twitter-official in April 2019.) In 2014, James Gunn personally handpicked Bautista to play Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy and after the film grossed nearly $800 million worldwide he jumped into his performing profession with clear eyes and a full coronary heart, showing in such diversified films as My Spy, Blade Runner 2049 and Army of the Dead.

And regardless of the toxicity he skilled in his former business, he does credit score the WWE with serving to to form the sorts of roles he excels at enjoying on the large display. “I found out in wrestling that I like being the bad guy,” he tells Men’s Health. “I don’t know why this happens, but there’s something about me that people like as a bad guy.”

Dave Bautista as Scott Ward in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead (Photo: Netflix)

In actuality, Bautista’s character is mild years faraway from the “bad guy” elements he is performed in wrestling and in films. At the identical time, he is additionally not shy about expressing his opinions, even once they is perhaps unpopular. Case in level: Bautista considers himself a Second Amendment supporter who can be strongly in favor of gun reform. After the 2018 Parkland, Fla., taking pictures, he tried to present his AR-15 to his native police division, believing that personal residents ought to not personal assault rifles. 

“It’s one extreme or the other,” Bautista observes of the nation’s more and more polarized debate over gun rights vs. gun management. “People think you should abolish the [right to carry arms], or people think that you should be able to buy a bazooka. I don’t think that’s healthy.”

Bautista additionally says that he is come to view social media — particularly Twitter — as unhealthy, even if he is additionally an lively consumer. “I wanted to walk away from Twitter years ago, because it’s just such a hostile place ,” he explains of his incapacity to give up tweeting. ” But I saw what a bad political environment we’ve come into. I stayed on because I want to be an opposing voice to all those assholes who are out here being racists and bigots and polarizing our country. So I stayed on to spite them.”