Before he became the MCU's Drax the Destroyer, Dave Bautista was best known to fans as "The Animal" Bautista, one of the most popular wrestlers on WWE. Bautista was not the first WWE superstar to make the jump to a movie career. But unlike, say, Dwayne Johnson and John Cena, who continue to appear in WWE sporadically despite having successful film careers, Bautista is completely certain his wrestling days are over.
Dave Bautista spoke during Justice Con about being completely satisfied with the way his storyline on WWE ended, and how making a return to the ring at this point would be a step back.
"It's hard to convince people that I'm actually retired. You have no idea how tough that discussion is. When professional wrestlers retire, they don't really retire. They kind of retire. But, you know, when the paycheck's big enough or the event's big enough, they come out of retirement. It's just not that way with me. I exited the business in such a storybook way, I'd never go back. I would never take away from that. I am just done, man. I really got to finish on my own terms and nothing is going to take away from that."
In the days following his exit from WWE, Bautista has proven through his movie choices that he is more interested in becoming known as a serious actor than cashing in on his action hero persona. In fact, the actor has often complained that his commanding physique gets in the way of the more meaty roles he truly desires to take on because filmmakers insist on using him in roles of the "bruiser" guy rather than the "sensitive" guy.
Still, while Bautista seems very decidedly against ever returning to WWE, he has not forgotten his time in the ring. According to the actor, the thrill of performing in front of a live audience, especially an audience of the size that WrestleMania attracts, is something that can never be experienced elsewhere.
"There's just nothing like it. You can understand...It's such a hard thing to step away from that. It's addictive. Man, I just couldn't imagine ever getting that feeling from anything else other than that live performance in front of that many people. Where people are just so ravenous for wrestling to just come from all over the world to witness this. There's nothing as big as WrestleMania. I've been to a lot of sporting events. I've never experienced anything as big as WrestleMania."
Bautista will next be seen playing the lead in the upcoming Netflix movie, Army of the Dead, where he will be seen guiding a group of mercenaries into the depths of a zombie-infested wasteland in search of a giant cache of money. Directed and co-written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead stars Dave Bautista, Garret Dillahunt, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Raul Castillo, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi, and Ana de la Reguera. The film arrives on Netflix on May 21.