Superstar of the Year: Batista
Batista talks about months past, the months ahead and why a Punjabi Prison Match may be one of the best contests of 2007.
Looking back at 2007, how do you think it rates in terms of your career?
You know, it's been such a whirlwind. It's just really starting to hit me what a great year I've had. It's been incredibly amazing, especially since, with my comeback, I had to start all over. The beginning of the year was rough, as far as being in the ring and in the locker room. I had to earn the guys' respect back.
We know you have your differences with The Undertaker, but he must be your most satisfying challenge?
For me, wrestling 'Taker was a dream come true. I didn't think it was going to happen. We were both fan favorites. I don't mean to sound boastful, but at WrestleMania 23, I still believe we stole the show. I think I really wanted to earn The Deadman's respect, the fans' respect and the company's respect as well.
What was it like taking on that other WWE giant, The Great Khali?
The Great Khali is unlike anybody I've ever had to wrestle, so it was very challenging for me. I was proud of the matches we had together. I believe I brought out the best in him. For example, take the Punjabi Prison Match at No Mercy -- I think everyone expected it to be a horrible, horrible match. I believe we made it one of the best contests of that pay-per-view.
You also wrote a book, Batista Unleashed, in which you were pretty open about your career and personal life.
That was one of the conditions under which I wrote the book; I really wanted to be honest. Unfortunately, there were some things that were taken out that I really wish hadn't been.
Let's just say it's one of those instances where … well, it's so easy to sue somebody nowadays, so I didn't want to cause any trouble for the company or the publishers. But overall, I'm very proud of the book. A lot of it was heartbreaking for me to talk about, and I expect to be criticized a little bit, but what can I say?
Do you worry about the repercussions of being so brutally honest?
A little bit, you know, but at the same time I don't ever want to lie. I don't want people to have a false perception of me. So, I said, if I'm going to write a book, I want them to know who I am, where I come from, what I stand for and what my life is all about. I'm not just a guy you see on TV once a week. I have a life-story and it's not a simple rags-to-riches tale; I sacrificed a lot.
So what's ahead for The Animal in 2008?
Right now my goal is to go into WrestleMania strong and healthy. I haven't been able to achieve two WrestleManias in a row, so that's a big goal for me.