In 2000, which now must seem like a lifetime ago, Dave Batista was an imposing bouncer in Washington, D.C., the site of this year’s SummerSlam.
Five long-and-improbable years later, Batista is just as imposing at his current job as the World Heavyweight Champion.
SummerSlam will certainly be an emotional night for Batista, who grew up in the D.C. area. At the age of 17, Batista was basically estranged from both his parents and living on his own, often getting in and out of trouble.
“You can’t understand how big a deal this is for me,” Batista said at the SummerSlam press conference in D.C. last week.
Batista eventually found steady work as a bouncer, only to be arrested one night after his short temper and heavy fists left two rowdy patrons badly hurt, with one lying in the street.
“Five years ago, I was throwing people out of a nightclub two blocks away,” Batista said. “Five years later, here I am as champion. Dreams do come true.”
A trial for assault and battery landed Batista one year’s probation. But it also motivated him to find a new way in life. A few months later he was enrolled in Wild Samoan Afa’s wrestling school in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The training finally gave Batista a purpose, and he made his WWE debut in 2002. Three years later, at WrestleMania 21 of all places, the former bouncer defeated Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Batista will defend the World Heavyweight Championship for a second time against JBL at SummerSlam. This encounter will be a No Holds Barred Match.
“I was born and raised in the streets of D.C.,” Batista said. “I’ll be damned if some loudmouth from Texas with a goofy hat is going to come to my house and push me around.”