OWW’s Wrestler of the Week!

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

Wrestler of the Week: Dave Batista

Our ringphilosopher Jay Shannon presents OWW’s Wrestler of the Week — The Animal Dave Batista!

In a Match of the Year candidate match, Batista used a Kokina Clutch, a Figure Four Leglock and a Batista Bomb to overcome John Cena at Summerslam. Batista’s survival of the STFU and other assorted assaults by John Cena made him a lock for this week’s Online World of Wrestling: Wrestler of the Week.

Over-coming rejection

David Bautista Jr. wanted to be a wrestler from early on. Bautista had a huge physique and a unique look. He applied to train at the WCW Power Plant. He was rejected by head trainer, Buddy Lee Parker. Parker felt that Bautista would never succeed in the world of wrestling. Parker said Bautista’s look would never be accepted by the fans. Bautista often laughs when he looks back at his early rejection, according to his biography.

Bautista refused to accept rejection for his chosen profession. He contacted the WWE about working for them. The WWE felt that Bautista could fit well with the company. Bautista was sent to Afa Anoi’a’s WXW promotion for training. His first character was Khan. With Bautista’s mix of Filipino and Greek parentage, it was easy to adjust his heritage to that of an Islander or Middle Eastern resident. Khan had a very successful run in WXW, and the WWE decided to move Bautista up to the next level of developmental training.

Leviathan

In 2000, Bautista moved to the OVW territory. He was converted to Leviathan, a beast that followed the orders of lady manager, Synn, under the stable name of the Disciples of Synn. Leviathan was from that mythical place known as Parts Unknown. He ran rough-shod over all opponents until finally losing to the WWE’s Kane. He would also feud with The Prototype (aka John Cena) and Doug Basham. After two years of working hard for OVW, Bautista got called up to the majors.

The Evolution of Batista

When Bautista first moved up to the WWE, he was sent to Smackdown. He played the bodyguard to D-Von Dudley, who was portraying a Man of the Cloth, Reverend D-Von. Bautista was brought in a Deacon Bautista. The alliance with D-Von only lasted a few weeks, as the union split after D-Von cost Bautista a match against Rikishi.

After leaving D-Von’s camp, Bautista was taken in by Ric Flair. Flair decided to further train Bautista. Bautista’s name was slightly adjusted to Dave Batista. Within a few weeks, the first name was basically ignored, and Batista was born. While a few wrestlers will occasionally refer to Batista as “Dave”, his first name is basically ignored by the WWE.

Flair wanted to create a new version the Four Horsemen. He brought in Batista as the Barry Windham/Sid Vicious-power member of the team. Randy Orton took the Blanchard spot, with Triple H stepping into Arn Anderson’s shoes. The group was called Evolution. The name was a nod to Flair’s world-famous clique. The full name of the group was supposed to be The Evolution of the Four Horsemen (and wrestling).

The group would lose Batista for several months after a torn tricep muscle and a re-tear of the same muscle, two months later, forced Batista into surgery. Evolution continued to battle all the faces in the WWE. Internal strife and jealously would eventually cause the group to splinter. Batista would remain close with Triple H and Ric Flair, but decided to push his solo career.

World title dreams

At the 2005 Royal Rumble, Batista eliminated John Cena to win a title shot at Wrestlemania XXI. Batista chose to battle his former Evolution partner, Triple H. Batista went through several challenges by Triple H, which were set up to eliminate Batista before the Wrestlemania match. Batista survived everything thrown at him and faced Triple H at the year’s biggest event. Batista took the strap from his former team-mate. Not long after, Batista signed a five-year contract with the company. At his age, the extended contract was seen as quite unusual.

Batista had been on Raw for some time. That would change during the WWE Draft. Batista began his Smackdown career with a nasty feud with John Bradshaw Layfield. JBL and his Cabinet tried, unsuccessfully, to wrest the gold from Batista. Batista then moved on to an on-again/off-again feud with Eddie Guerrero. The two made a fantastic team, but the World title would cause issues between the two. Many reports had Eddie set to take the gold from Batista, when tragedy struck. Eddie died of a sudden heart attack. Batista was deeply impacted by Eddie’s death. At the Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show, Batista drove Eddie’s Low Rider to the ring and placed the World title on the hood of the car. Batista could not hold back the tears as he talked about his dear friend.

Batista’s tricep would come back to haunt him in January of 2006. During a house show match against Mark Henry, Batista tore the same tricep that had taken him out of action in the past. Batista had no choice but to surrender the World title. Batista was forced to miss Wrestlemania 22, due to surgery.

The Animal Unleashed

After recovering from his surgery, Batista returned to the WWE. His first target was Mark Henry, the man who sidelined him. Henry, foolishly, had boasted that he would re-injure the former World Champion. Batista completely demolished Henry, often losing matches by DQ. Mr. Kennedy stepped in to replace Mark Henry in the feud. Batista lost a few matches to Kennedy, but caused Kennedy to need stitches, several times. Batista then declared that he wanted his World title back. He would have another hurdle to overcome, first.

(“Fit”) Finlay and William Regal took exception to Batista. They were members of King Booker’s Royal Court. They were sent after Batista to neutralize him as a threat to Booker’s title. Batista enlisted Bobby Lashley and Rey Mysterio (Jr.) to aid him in battling the Royal Forces. Their feud would culminate at Survivor Series, where Batista managed to take the World title from King Booker. His battles against Booker would pale, in comparison, to his next major opponent.

The Batista/Undertaker Wars

The Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble. Undertaker refused to reveal which of the three major championships that he wished to challenge for, at first. Batista cut several scathing promos on The Deadman. Finally, on an episode of Raw, Undertaker faced all three champions. Undertaker walked back and forth, before stopping in front of Batista. Undertaker did his Throat Slash move to indicate that he had chosen Batista.

The two men had an epic battle at Wrestlemania 23. Batista came closer than anyone had to ending Undertaker’s winning streak at Wrestlemania. In the end, Undertaker ended up taking the title from Batista to a standing ovation. Both men were celebrated by the fans and wrestlers for their show-stealing match. The two would have a rematch at Backlash. Their Last Man Standing match would end in a draw, after both men were knocked out. Their third match, held on Smackdown, was a Steel Cage Match that led to Undertaker being injured. Edge ran in, after their match, and used his Money in the Bank contract to take the title from the Undertaker. That would lead to a feud between Edge and Batista.

In search of gold, again

Edge and Batista had several brutal battles. The Injury Curse on the World title struck again, when Edge was side-lined and, like Batista had done in the past, Edge had to surrender the World title. Smackdown’s General Manager Teddy Long set up a Batle Royal to determine the new World champ. The Great Khali out-lasted all the other stars to claim the gold. Batista immediately focused on the Punjabi Punisher to try and regain the World title.

Batista failed in the first few attempt to gain the gold, usually due getting himself disqualified. At Unforgiven 2007, Batista won a Three Way battle against Khali and Rey Mysterio to take back the World title.

The Undertaker/Batista Wars, Part II

Following his battles with Khali, Batista found himself facing an old foe, yet again. Undertaker had returned after recovering from injury. Undertaker wanted back his World title. The two squared off at Cyber Sunday 2007. Batista managed to take the win. Batista suggested a re-match. Undertaker not only accepted, but demanded a Hell in the Cell match. Batista and Undertaker had a fairly equal match, until Edge cost ‘Taker the match.

Batista, Edge and Undertaker then began a triangle program where the three would face off in a series of matches. Edge would eventually upset Batista for the World title in a Three Way match at Armageddon 2007. Edge did have help from his Edgeheads (Ryder/Hawkins).

Wrestlemania and beyond

Batista wanted to challenge Edge for the World title at Wrestlemania 24. Instead, Batista was chosen to face Raw’s Umaga in a Battle for Supremacy. Batista struggled somewhat against the Samoan Bulldozer, but managed to defeat Raw’s representative.

Batista would invade Raw after Wrestlemania to seek revenge on Shawn Michaels. Shawn had sent Ric Flair into retirement at the annual PPV. Batista felt that Shawn should have done the job for Flair. The two squared off at Backlash to settle the score. Batista ended up on the losing end of their contest. Batista would get his revenge at One Night Stand. Batista won a Stretcher Match against Shawn.

After their battle, Batista decided to re-focus on his desire for the World title. Vickie Guerrero, in an effort to protect her love (Edge), put Batista in a battle with old foe, The Great Khali. If Batista had lost, he would have joined Undertaker in banishment for the WWE. Batista managed to spear Khali to save his career. Batista is now set to battle Edge for the World title at Night of Champions.

The Animal gets Raw

In the 2008 Draft, Batista was drafted to Raw. Batista helped C.M. Punk to take the World title from Edge. Batista wanted a shot at Punk, but he had a battle to fight, first. Batista and John Cena had never fought each other during their six years in the WWE. They were set to battle at Summerslam.

Before the two men could square off against each other, new Raw GM, Mike Adamle, paired the two men together to face Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes for the World tag team titles. Batista and Cena won the straps, but lost them back to Rhodes and DiBiase, one week later. Their pending battle at Summerslam caused friction between the two. They were unable to stay focused on defending their titles and Simply Priceless slipped in and took home the gold. Cena and Batista then attacked each other in the middle of the ring.

At Summerslam, both Cena and Batista gave their best performances, ever. Batista was trapped in the STFU for several minutes, before reaching the ropes. Cena F-U’d Batista over the ropes and to the floor. Cena also hit an F-U in the center of the ring. Batista would not give up. Batista paid tribute to his mentor and friend, Ric Flair, by slapping on a Figure Four Leglock. Batista also debuted his version of the Kokina Clutch (Rear Naked Choke). The end of the match finally came when Batista planted Cena with a brutal Batista Bomb. Batista showed his dominance in the match. Batista’s next target will likely be the World Champion, C.M. Punk.

In Conclusion:

Dave Batista had a solid training, thanks to the Wild Samoans and Ric Flair. He is a multiple time champion. He is also a lock to become a future WWE Hall of Fame member. Despite the voting of the WWE fans, Batista proved that he was a equal to, if not superior of, John Cena at Summerslam. Batista is likely headed towards a massive battle against WWE World Champion, C.M. Punk. It is likely that Batista may end up the next World Champion. He was the brightest shining star among a galaxy of stellar performers at Summerslam. I am proud to present the Online World of Wrestling: Wrestler of the Week award to Dave “The Animal” Batista.

–Jay Shannon
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(8/19/2008)