In the November Men’s Health cover story, Dave Bautista discusses his life’s jarring transition during his late twenties, when he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and first blew up.
Bautista had previously struggled to stay financially stable, he says. After a tumultuous childhood that saw him estranged from his parents during adolescence, Bautista worked as nightclub bouncer, then as a bodybuilder, then as a wrestler. In 2000, he signed with the WWF (latter named WWE) and would become a main fixture in the sport, capturing six world championships under the name “Batista.”
The ascent was meteoric, so steep, Bautista says, he was unequipped to handle the consequences:
“I was a guy who was super shy, and I didn’t talk to girls. I didn’t know how to talk to girls. And I didn’t have any money. I was always poor, I was always broke, and people were buying me drinks or buying my food. […] I went from that to making a ton of money and girls throwing themselves at me, and I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t know how to deal with it. So I made all the bad cliche mistakes.”
Bautista bought “stupid stuff,” he says: Lamborghinis and Mercedes and Bentleys. But the stupid stuff made Bautista feel worse about himself. “I just lived in an ocean of shame for years, because when I was making all that money and buying all that stupid stuff, I never bought my mom a house,” he tells Men’s Health.
“I wasted all that money, and I could’ve done a lot of good things with that money. I could’ve helped people; I could’ve helped animals. But honestly, I was miserable and I was just trying to buy happiness.”
Since those early years, Bautista did buy his mother a house. He also started buying the things that actually bring him joy, like lunch boxes. It’s a bit less costly than buying cars.
Josh St. Clair
Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine.
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