Biographies are not new to pro wrestling. World Wrestling Entertainment has put out biographies of their superstars since the late 1990’s when Mick Foley wrote the first of his three NY Times Bestsellers. Since then we have seen books from people deserving one like the Rock, Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and William Regal.) I have read all of them and never felt compelled to write about one, until now.
At an initial glance of the roster there is one superstar who I didn’t think deserved a book about them, that was until I read his book and truly believe he deserved it be published and receive the accolades that I hope will follow. That person is Dave Bautista AKA “the Animal” Batista the multi-time World Heavyweight champion. With the help of writer Jeremy Roberts, Bautista (the real spelling of his name according to the opening pages) give wrestling fans BATISTA UNLEASHED (WWE/Pocket Books, 305 pp, $26.00) one of the most honest books ever, not just in wrestling.
Think you had a tough childhood; try being Bautista who grew up in the not so glamorous Washington DC of the late 1970’s-early 1980’s where it was common to have dead people on your lawn when you got the morning newspaper. Bautista goes into his rough upbringing that led him to be in gangs and eventually group homes in addition to being moved around the country by his divorced parents. Think you might have changed professions too late in life; try being a thirty year old bodybuilder-night club bouncer who attended a defunct WCW Power Plant open call and being told you’re not good enough for wrestling. That’s exactly what happened to Bautista and a friend in 1999 before he found his way to the Pennsylvania based Wild Samoan’s training facility.
From there the fast road to superstardom begins. Going from the Samoan’s to OVW (WWE’s developmental Ohio Valley Wrestling) where Jim Cornette re-imagined him into Leviathan (where he met the Prototype AKA WWE Superstar John Cena) to his WWE debut as Deacon Batista with Reverend Devon (Brother Devon of Team 3D.) Next thing you know you are reading about Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and the forming of the Evolution group that got Batista title reigns and main events on PPV’s. Mixed in are stories of traveling around the globe as part of the WWE and the fun times wrestling the top stars like The Undertaker, Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Edge and later on his own Evolution running mates. My personal favorite is a funny story of a bad trip with Bobby Lashley and Ken sorry…Mr. Kennedy.
During the trip to the top we also find out the pitfalls that nearly stopped Bautista in his tracks like being a parent before he got out of high school, failed marriages, infidelity with co-workers (the internet rumors are true and Bautista hates the internet) and his own teenage daughter being a parent. As I mentioned Bautista has nothing to hide but doesn’t go into great details in certain topics. You come away from reading this book hoping Bautista and his family is happy and healthy and he competes for many years to come.
BATISTA UNLEASHED is available in national bookstores or logging onto www.wwe.com