He may be a hero in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but Dave Bautista’s most recent stint in WWE cast him as one of the company’s most hated villains. That might not have been the original plan, but it’s definitely the way he prefers it.
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at the “Guardians of the Galaxy” junket, Bautista also had some very interesting things to say returning to WWE in January. “They wanted me to be this big baby face, this big good guy, and I was like, ‘That’s not going to work. That’s not going to work.’ Because [the audience] really hate[s] me, or they love to hate me,” Bautista says.
Still, WWE insisted he be presented as a returning hero. He adds, “[WWE] said, ‘No, they miss you so much. They’re going to cheer for you. You’re going to be this huge baby face, they’re going to love you,’ and I was like, ‘Watch, not going to work.'”
He wasn’t wrong. It took no time at all for the cheers to turn into boos, earning him the nickname “Bootista” from the fans. “Sure enough, they flipped on me. It was maybe my second week back, and they flipped, they started to turn on me,” he says. “And I was like, ‘I’m telling you, let it go,’ and they fought it, the creative team, like, ‘No, no, no, this will work, let’s stick with it.'”
Eventually, WWE had no choice but to embrace the vitriol from the fans and let Bautista (who drops the “u” from his name for his wrestling persona) do what he does best. “I like being the bad guy,” he explains. “I like being the smarta**.” From there he went on to main event “Wrestlemania 30.”
Though Bautista left WWE again in June to promote “Guardians of the Galaxy,” he still plans to get in the ring again. “If I go back, it will just be moments that I pick and choose,” he says. “But I want to go back. I want to wrestle some more.”
However, at this point he’s focused on making a name for himself in the acting world. “It’s that new challenge in my life; it’s the kind of stuff that keeps you young,” Bautista says. “I’m just really falling in love with it.”
He doesn’t necessarily believe the wrestling audience will follow him to movies, though. “The WWE universe, for the most part, could really give a rat’s a** of what you do outside of wrestling,” he says. “It’s like tunnel vision; it’s like their own little cult world, and that’s all they care about.”
Of course, all bets are off when you land a starring role in a Marvel movie. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is in theaters Friday (Aug. 1).