Hall of Fame
WWE Superstars - Smackdown
David Michael Bautista, Jr. (born January 18, 1969) better known onscreen as Dave Batista or simply by his ring name Batista, is an American professional wrestler. Batista is currently wrestling on the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he is the reigning World Heavyweight Champion.
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He began his WWE career on the May 9, 2002 episode of SmackDown! as Deacon Bautista, a heel enforcer for Reverend D-Von on the SmackDown! franchise. Batista made his WWE match debut in a tag match teaming with D-Von against Randy Orton and Faarooq with Batista pinning Orton after using his spinebuster. Over a sequence of weeks, Orton would try to beat D-Von and Batista with different partners, but ultimately losing each time to Batista's spinebuster. After splitting with D-Von (and defeating D-Von after a Batista Bomb), he went to RAW and was rebranded as Dave Batista (or simply Batista).
After establishing himself as a monster through a series of squash matches, including one where he maliciously and relentlessly attacked Tajiri, sending him to the hospital for a long recovery (kayfabe), he aligned himself with Ric Flair and feuded with Kane, getting a couple of wins over Kane. Batista's pay-per-view debut was at Armageddon 2002 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he defeated Kane, only after heavy interference from Flair.
On January 9, 2006, WWE.com announced that Batista had torn his right tricep following a match with Mark Henry at a live event on January 8, 2006 in Verona, New York. The following day, WWE.com announced that, due to his injury, Batista was forced to vacate the World Heavyweight Championship at the SmackDown! tapings in Philadelphia on January 10, 2006, two days after surpassing Triple H's previous mark of 280 days for longest reigning champion. Later that night, Kurt Angle defeated the final contestant, Mark Henry, to become the new World Heavyweight Champion after winning a battle royal. (These events were aired on the January 13, 2006 edition of SmackDown!.) Dave went on to have successful surgery on his arm on January 12, 2006.
On February 19, 2006, Batista made an appearance at No Way Out 2006 and told the crowd that once his arm had healed he would return to regain his World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 22, Batista once again made a brief appearance. This time he interrupted a Randy Orton interview, putting SmackDown! on notice; the World Heavyweight Championship would return to him by WrestleMania 23. Batista made his official return during the July 7, 2006 edition of SmackDown! in Philadelphia immediately jumping from behind and entering into a feud with the man who put him out with the arm injury, Mark Henry.
At Saturday Night's Main Event, Batista won his first televised match since his return, a six man tag match with Rey Mysterio and Lashley taking on King Booker, Finlay and Mark Henry. In a bizarre twist of fate, during the match Mark Henry was legitimately injured, and was ruled out of the scheduled match between the two at The Great American Bash (thus further delaying by at least eight months a potential feud between the two, which was already delayed by Batista's injury). Batista would put out an open challenge to replace the injured Henry which was answered by Mr. Kennedy. Batista would lose this match via DQ for failing to stop choking Mr. Kennedy into the turnbuckle with his boot, but continued to attack Kennedy which resulted in Mr. Kennedy suffering a laceration on his forehead so severe that it exposed his cranium and required 20 stitches to close. Batista would go on to lose another match with Kennedy via count out in a rematch on SmackDown! before finally defeating Kennedy by pinfall on the August 4, 2006 edition of SmackDown!.
During this time Batista would try to regain a world title, facing both Big Show for his ECW World Heavyweight Championship during an ECW show, and King Booker for his World Heavyweight Championship during SummerSlam and SmackDown!. Batista won these matches but not the titles as the contests ended via disqualification. Batista continued on as a top contender to the World Title; competing against King Booker on several occasions while feuding with Finlay, before finally defeating King Booker to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2006; in the same arena where he surrendered the title.