Exclusive interview: Batista tells all on his wild return

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June 18, 2014

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Batista was cheered exactly twice during his much-anticipated return to WWE after a four-year absence: The night he came back, and the night he quit.

Bolstered by a series of circumstances nobody saw coming, the WWE Universe turned en masse against The Animal when he won the Royal Rumble Match, earning a main-event spot at WrestleMania that many WWE fans felt rightly belonged to the ascendant Daniel Bryan. While Batista soldiered on against an increasingly hostile audience, his return took on a life of its own, embarking on twists and turns that took The Animal from the main event of The Show of Shows to the bottom of a six-Superstar pileup before he finally quit on the June 2 episode of Raw, less than six months into his comeback.

WWE.com was able to catch up with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star and got the skinny on what, exactly, was going through “Bootista’s” mind over his half-year return, what he really thinks of the fans and why he might not be done with that pesky Daniel Bryan just yet. Love him or hate him, read what he has to say, because you might never boo him again.

WWE.COM: Can you talk to us about how your return came about? Who contacted who?

BATISTA: Well, actually, I’d wanted to come back the day I left! [Laughs] I always planned on coming back, and I always tell people I wanted to come back much sooner. It was just that when I left, I wanted to accomplish certain things, and it just honestly took me a lot longer than I had hoped. But I’d always stayed in touch with a few of the boys, and I stayed in constant touch with [Triple H]. When Hunter started being very involved in NXT, it was right here in Orlando, so I just started coming out, talking to him and we talked about me coming back after I wrapped on “Guardians.”

Warrior animal: Batista receives his Gracie purple belt

It's like they forgot about my pain and sacrifice.WWE.COM: So you felt like you had accomplished everything you needed to at that point?

BATISTA: After I wrapped the role of Drax on “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I really felt I accomplished, and then some, what I’d left to do. It was a struggle out there, man, auditioning to get movie roles and stuff, and I finally landed that big role that satisfied that craving to act.

WWE.COM: You came back with a lot of fanfare and a great reaction, but the fans, as we all know now, eventually turned against you. What were your thoughts on that sudden change in reception?

BATISTA: It was weird. It wasn’t like a normal response. It was almost like a personal attack. It had to do with factors that were not in my control, factors and things that were going on in the company with other people, stuff that really had nothing to do with me. To me, it was a little frustrating, a little confusing, and, you know, I don’t want to say I completely took it personal, but I did somewhat.

What I heard over and over was, “Batista doesn’t deserve this,” and that’s what I took personally, because it’s like they forgot about my 10 years of pain and suffering and sacrifice. When I left the company, I gave plenty of notice, I left the right way, I did everything right. And also, my very last match, I broke my back. So I literally broke my back for the fans. And for me to come back and for them to say that I didn’t deserve the spot that I was being put in? For one thing, I didn’t ask for that spot. And here’s my thing with wrestling, and I tell this to everybody: If you get an opportunity, take the opportunity, and if you pass it up, you’re a fool. And if you hate on a guy just because he’s taking advantage of an opportunity that’s given to him, then you’re an idiot.

Watch: Batista returns to Raw | The Animal mauls the Universe on SmackDown

WWE.COM: One such opportunity that presented itself — and may not have if the fans hadn’t reacted the way they did — was the revival of Evolution.

BATISTA: Yeah, we had not talked about that at all. Evolution was where I got my start. It’s my comfort zone. I love it, the fans love it. Everywhere I go across the world, people still talk about Evolution. So when [Triple H] started talking about it, I said, “That’s veeerrry interesting.” [Laughs] I loved that, and I got with that program real fast, because that’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. I knew it was going to be good.

NEXT: Batista returns to WrestleMania and explains why he wanted Daniel Bryan in the main event with him all along.

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