Dave Bautista announced his retirement from pro wrestling on social media Sunday night following his WrestleMania 35 match against Triple H, where he lost in a brawl that took about 30 minutes.
Batista returned to WWE in the build-up to WrestleMania, attacking Ric Flair and challenging Triple H to a match at WrestleMania. At 50 years old (and Triple H is 49), the two brawled around the ringside area in a No Disqualification match at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Early in the match, Triple H took out a toolbox and ripped out Batista’s nose ring with a pair of pliers. Triple H also slammed Batista on the metal ring steps (inside the ring) and both men went through announce tables on the outside.
It was an impressive effort given the age of both wrestlers. Triple H wrestling at WrestleMania is almost a yearly event, even at his age, but he was recovering from a torn pectoral muscle suffered last fall. Batista, who is a legit Hollywood star and north of 50 years old, certainly didn’t have to wrestle one more match. He came back because he wanted to. Batista, who will star as Drax in the upcoming Avengers: End Game film, also has an action comedy due out this summer.
Both guys are old and they both moved slow, but they put on an impressive show, especially for Batista, who hasn’t wrestled since WrestleMania in 2014.
There’s something compelling about watching a guy go out in front of 80,000 people and put himself through hell simply because he loves to do it. Batista was a late-bloomer in pro wrestling — he didn’t debut until his mid-30’s — but he made his mark on the business and is surely a Hall of Famer.
Batista reportedly turned down a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame last year, citing his desire for one more match. Now that’s done, and he says he’s retired. Hopefully, he takes his rightful place among WWE’s immortals next year in Tampa, where he now makes his home. It would be the perfect ending for one of WWE’s most unique stars.