WWE can make stars, but it can crush them too. For every Dwayne Johnson, John Cena and Sasha Banks, there are plenty of other budding media celebrities who never transcend the wrestling ring. This was Dave Bautista’s experience when he entered the wrestling game at the age of 30 in search of a major lifestyle change. In a new interview with Men’s health, the Marvel’s star guardians of the galaxy franchise and the upcoming sci-fi show Dune reveals he lived in fear of being fired from WWE before he could make a name for himself.
“It was just a very toxic atmosphere,” he says of the wrestling industry he joined in the early 2000s. “Wrestling is very competitive. It’s very fierce. You’re in. a position where you have to stand all the time, and it’s exhausting. It’s just exhausting. ”
Bautista also confesses that he felt out of place during his early years in WWE, fearing that he would not gain fans inside or outside of Vince McMahon’s media goliath. “I couldn’t be 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. “
Bautista eventually found his place within the WWE pecking order, winning six World Heavyweight Championship titles during his in-ring career. But the toxicity he felt within the industry gradually crept into his personal life. Bautista admits her second marriage failed in large part because of the demanding commitments her career demands. “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 it, but it’s true that I chose my career because it was the only shot I had.”
By his own admission, Bautista made other “cliché mistakes” as well, including spending his large paychecks on “dumb stuff” including fancy cars and lavish homes. “I wasted all that money and I could have done a lot of good things with that money. I could have helped people, I could have helped animals. But honestly I was miserable and just trying. to buy happiness. “
This discontent led Bautista to part ways with WWE in 2010, citing a lack of opportunities to pursue career paths outside the company, including acting. (He returned to WWE in 2013 and again in 2018, finally formalizing his retirement on Twitter in April 2019.) In 2014, James Gunn personally selected Bautista to play Drax the Destroyer in guardians of the galaxy and after the film grossed nearly $ 800 million worldwide, he embarked on his acting career with clear eyes and a full heart, appearing in films as diverse as my spy, Blade Runner 2049 and Army of the dead.
And despite the toxicity he experienced in his old industry, he credits WWE for helping shape the types of roles he excels at playing on the big screen. “I discovered in wrestling that I like being the bad guy” he says Men’s health. “I don’t know why this is happening, but there is something about me that people like as a bad guy.”
In fact, Bautista’s personality is light years away from the “bad guy” roles he played in wrestling and in the movies. At the same time, he also doesn’t hesitate to voice his opinions, even when they may be unpopular. Case in point: Bautista sees himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment who is also strongly in favor of gun reform. After the Parkland, Florida shooting in 2018, he attempted to give his AR-15 to his local police department, believing that individuals should no longer own assault rifles.
“It’s one extreme or the other,” Bautista observes of the country’s increasingly polarized debate over gun rights versus gun control. “People think you should abolish the [right to carry arms], or people think you should be able to buy a bazooka. I don’t think it’s healthy. “
Bautista also says he has come to view social media – especially Twitter – as unhealthy, despite being an active user as well. “I wanted to get away from Twitter years ago, because it’s such a hostile place,” he explains of his inability to stop tweeting. “But I saw what a bad political environment we got into. I stayed because I want to be an opposing voice to all those assholes who are here to be racist and fanatic and polarize our country. So I stayed to upset them. .. “