In recent months wrestling fans have been singing 'He's got the whole world in his hands' but for Dave Bautista (Batista) that is quite literally the case. As 'Drax the Destroyer' in Marvel's new epic picture Guardians of the Galaxy, he plays an integral part of the team that does battle to save the universe. Having been treated to an early glimpse of the film, we urge readers not to walk, but to run and get a ticket when it comes out on 31 July. You do not want to miss this film - it is the best in the Marvel series to date and we can attest to Guardians being the most wonderful cinematic entertainment. An immersive visual feast which we wholeheartedly recommend to wrestling and non-wrestling fan alike. If in doubt, just click through to the official trailer and prepare to be wowed by humour and action alike.
Batista, In the UK to promote the film, sat down with the Royal Ramblings team to answer some of our questions about the film and wrestling.
Having seen Guardians of the Galaxy, we were struck by the emotional depth that you displayed - contrition, compassion, humour, rage - will people be seeing a different side to Batista and is that what drew you to the character?
It completely drew me to the character. You know, Drax has got such a range of emotions and I think it painted me in a different light. That's something that I not only wanted for my career, but I really needed for my career - because it wasn't going anywhere and because people were still slapping that WWE label on me. So that's what I loved about him, he's just so quirky, and weird and multi-layered that I thought it made Drax really interesting. Not your typical muscle head!
The make-up you wore was so intricate - how long did you spend in the chair and how did you pass the time?!
Oh - with all kinds of stuff. I got really close to my make-up team! It was a team of five people - and it took them about four hours to put it all on every day. We had a routine and we'd just talk for hours, listening to music and if you can imagine hanging out with your friends for that amount of time, it just kind of flies by. It wasn't a big deal, it was just hanging out in the morning and doing our usual routine. It wasn't so much the hours of sitting in the chair but rather the consecutive days when it became a little hard. I don't remember ever being unhappy about it though.
We recently interviewed Al Snow who told us that the change from projecting your personality to 20,000 people in a wrestling show to doing it for a camera is hard. Have you found that?
That has been the challenge. People tend to assume that because I'm involved in wrestling it must have been easy to transition, but it couldn't be any more different because wrestling is so big and doing a film is just so intimate. It's claustrophobic and you almost feel paranoid. I still dry heave before every match and I still get nervous when I wrestle, but its even more intense on films. For me it takes a while to just get into the groove and feel at ease but it couldn't be any more different. That's the challenge and that's what I love about it. The first film I did - which was a favour to a friend - I thought was going to be easy but when I went I was just so stinking rotten at it. I could feel how bad I was and I was embarrassed but that was when I made the decision that I wanted to pursue this and I wanted to be better at it.
For those wrestling fans or others that haven't yet seen a marvel film, how would you place Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel Universe - and will we see the Guardians join the Avengers?
I'd like to see that! I think it would be cool! I think it would definitely shake things up a little bit. Even when the Avengers were doing their individual movies, everybody was excited and wondering when they were going to get to see the Avengers team up and when it finally happened it was pretty awesome. I like when worlds collide and I like the suspense of waiting but I hope they do. I want to see where the story's going to go. So far as where the Guardians fit, I think they're top of the heap. I'm a marvel fan but after watching the film and watching it as a fan boy, I have to say its my favourite Marvel film. I think it's way more fun, I think the characters are way more interesting, I think they're easier to relate to and I think the story is more inspiring. So I think that's where we fit in right now, I think we're at the top of the heap.
Moving to wrestling, what's the best rib [practical joke] that's been played on you?
I'm not the biggest ribber, so this is not so much of a rib but as you know, I made my WWE debut alongside Devon. I was a rookie and - I learned this the hard way - sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut. I made a bet with him when we were somewhere in New Mexico, because Devon was notoriously late, I told him that if he beat me to the show that I'd run around the building naked. Even though I hadn't really meant it, he picked up on it and ran with it. So he ended up winning the bet, of course, and I was going to keep to my word and run around the building naked. One of the WWE producers vetoed the idea but I was the rookie and obligated to suck it up. So I was at his mercy and the trade for the naked run was that I had to do 25 individual push-ups whenever and wherever he told me to. After each push up I had to scream out "I'm Devon's b***h". I did them - I think he let me out of about five of them because he eventually just felt so bad. But I did them in random places - it was on planes, it was in restaurants.....
It's not so long since you visited WWE's developmental territory, NXT - who should we be looking out for?
Well I didn't get to see all the talent at NXT but they've certainly got some down there. Some big boys down there too! The person I'd really like to see come up and I hope she changes things around for the women's division which has gotten so fluff, is Ashley Fleihr or Miss Charlotte as she's known there. I really hope that she does well. I watched her in a match with Nattie Neidhart recently and it was a really good match. I think that was mostly down to Nattie because Ashley is still learning, she's still super green but I'm hopeful that she's got a big part of her dad (Ric Flair) in her and that she can change things around because she's very athletic. That division used to have girls who could go and now it's rubbish. Think of Lita, you know, that's when the women's division was respectable.
Sting has just appeared on a WWE panel at a comic convention. Will we see him wrestling in the WWE soon?
I don't know - you know, they've been talking about that for years. I've never even met him. But I hope so. I think he's got a place there. But they need to do it soon because the audience is changing so much that if they wait any longer, the audience is going to be a bunch of kids and when he comes out they're going to chant CM Punk!
You were booed when you returned to the WWE but Mick Foley suggested that the fans weren't anti-Batista but rather frustrated Daniel Bryan supporters. Do you agree?
You could have fooled the hell out of me! They channelled their rage right in my direction. I can't put my finger on it, it was crazy. I don't get wrestling now. I've kind of completely taken my finger off the pulse. It's a different audience which I don't understand. It's strange though, it's really just the TV audience because when we get into the live events it's a completely different audience and they come just to watch the show. It's weird, the TV crowd seems like they come to be the show rather than to watch and interact with the show. It's like they want to steal the show, so I'm just totally confused.
What are your thoughts on Jeff Jarrett's new GFW promotion - is it good for business?
Any competition is good for business, the problem is they're just not going to be any competition. They'll never beat the production of the WWE. It's a huge production, they're just so good at what they do and they're on top of the world for a reason. It's a first class production and I don't see anybody being a threat. WCW was the closest thing and I think it's a shame they went under because I think competition is a good thing but that promotion or any other promotion is just not competition.
You're in the UK and British stars appear to be taking centre stage in the WWE. With Paige, Wade Barrett and Adrian Neville - is British wrestling in the ascendency?
You know I love Bad News Barrett. I think he's really talented across the board. He's having a string of bad luck with injuries but he's a good worker. He's believable, he's credible and he's great on the mic - he keeps my interest when he's talking. He's great, man! It's just a shame about his injuries. As for the British, they're definitely more in the spotlight but it seems like we've always had Brits on the roster and there's always been more than a few guys who are very talented. I guess they're just moving more into the forefront but remember that WWE is really smart and they realise that they've got an international audience. That's probably the biggest reason why the company is pushing international superstars rather than keeping it generically American.
What did you think of the Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak being broken?
It sucked! Honestly, I thought it sucked. I haven't really talked much about it but I think it was a bad decision, a horrible decision. I don't have any say in the matter but to me, watching as a fan, it made me sick. Brock Lesnar beating him didn't seem to work and it really wasn't good that Brock left the day after. I just don't see how that made sense at all. I don't think anyone wanted to see the streak broken and it just didn't make sense to me.
When you left WWE, the Shield broke up - what did you think about that and their individual efforts?
It's similar to my take on the Undertaker. I guess there comes a point where you have to send them their separate ways but - and it's just my opinion - I don't think they were ready. I don't think they're ready to fly solo. I realise where they're going and that WWE will push Roman Reigns straight to the top. However for me, Dean Ambrose is by far the most talented in that group and I think eventually if they just give him the spotlight then he's going to shine. As soon as he touches a mic everyone else can just sit down as he's magic on it. So It remains to be seen, I think they're all talented but to me Dean was the star of that group. I think Roman looks like the star of that group but I don't think he's nearly as talented as Dean.
Finally, you have a Mixed Martial Arts winning streak of 1 and 0. Will we see you fight again?
Yeah, I'm undefeated! I've always said that I would like to get back in the ring because my experience wasn't what I had hoped it would be. I lost my opponent a week before the fight and I was disappointed in myself because whilst I didn't think I was going to be nervous, I was man! It was weird. I was OK right up until they closed the cage door, where I just got nervous. I had really worked hard on a few things and I didn't get the chance to spotlight them and so I was disappointed with it and with myself. At the same time, I got into it 15 or 20 years too late to begin with but that seems like it's the story of my life! For me to put aside another three months and not make any money out of it, just to get my head beat in would be a little crazy. I still love it though, so maybe, you never know!