Batista was one of the biggest stars in WWE in 2010 when he shocking walked (well, wheeled) away from the company. After defeat to John Cena at Over the Limit 2010, he left the company to the shock of many to pursue other interests. He moved into MMA and also acting, before returning again to the company in 2014 to win the Royal Rumble match in controversial fashion.
His exit was rather perplexing at the time. He was doing probably the best work of his career. The heel Batista character had finally been unleashed and breathed new life into the former World Heavyweight Champion. He held the WWE Championship during this time and had an all-time great feud with John Cena, in which he exposed The Champ’s flaws and showed just how good The Animal truly was.
Him leaving left a huge hole in the main event in WWE. Vince McMahon tried to fill it with the likes of Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and Christian, but none of them ever exuded the star power that Batista did. There is a reason he has gone on to bigger and better things in Hollywood, clearly showing how the WWE was holding him back from his true potential as a movie star.
In this article we’ll look at the reason why Batista left WWE – both in 2010 and again when he returned in 2014. let us know what you thought about his reasoning and whether or not you’d like to see The Animal return for one final match in the WWE.
Why Batista Left WWE
Batista left WWE in 2010 after losing an I Quit match to John Cena at Over the Limit 2010. The match was infamously followed the next night on Raw by Batista, sat in a wheelchair and confronted by Bret Hart, quitting the company and walking away from a potential match with Randy Orton.
He was soon removed from any promotional material and was released from his contract soon after. He revealed in an interview with Talksport, prior to his last match in 2018, that he left out of “spite”, due to WWE not allowing him to take on outside projects and become a better actor. He bet on himself and followed his dream to become an actor, which came to fruition as he was cast as one of the stars of Marvels “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Speaking to TalkSports’ Hawksbee and Jacobs, Batista said about leaving in 2010;
It came about out of spite. First of all, it came from me discovering I was a horrible actor and I wanted to become a better actor. And I wanted to do it while I was still with WWE. They would not give me the opportunity to do it within the company. so I said, ‘I should be given the opportunity to do it outside of the company.’ They said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going to let my contract run out, and I’m gonna leave.’ So that’s exactly what I did – I set out to be an actor. It was brave and maybe a little stupid. [laughs] It was three years of me barely working. You know, it was a nice thing with the WWE. I made a very good living there. I was very comfortable and I could have stuck with that, but I wanted to do something else.
He Returned In 2014 But Left After Wrestlemania
Batista came back to WWE in 2014, his appearance at the 2014 Royal Rumble being leaked beforehand, forcing WWE to bring him back weeks earlier. During an appearance on Raw, the former World Heavyweight Champion returned to confirm the fans worst fears – he was going to win the Royal Rumble.
This may seen strange, but it was the one year where Batista was NOT the right man. 2014 was made for one man, and that was Daniel Bryan. The American Dragon had lit on fire throughout 2013, becoming the most popular man in wrestling during the long storyline where he battled Triple H and The Authority.
As the months went on, it became clear WWE had no intention of paying off the months of anticipation. It was rumoured that he would be facing Sheamus at Wrestlemania 30, even though the natural conclusion (which the fans BEGGED for) was for him to defeat the Authority and regain the WWE Championship.
The fans wanted Daniel Bryan to win so badly that they booed literally everybody in the Royal Rumble, Even Rey Mysterio. When it was clear he wouldn’t even be in the match, the crowd completely ruined the rest of the bout and booed everyone, most of all the eventually winner Batista. This forced the company to turn him heel and take away his promised victory at Wrestlemania XXX, instead allowing Daniel Bryan to achieve his dream by making Batista tap out in the main event to win the WWE Championship.
Batista would join up with Evolution teammates Triple H and Randy Orton over the next few months. They would feud with The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose) and face them twice in consecutive months.
Both matches ended in victories for The Shield, which saw dissension in Evolution. After Triple H denied Batista’s request for a shot at Daniel Bryan’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he quit the company live on Raw, leaving the lasting image of him giving the Royal Wave to the crowd before walking off.
There were reports that Batista refused to “put over” (lose to) Daniel Bryan at Payback 2014. While Bryan would not wrestle at the event and soon vacated his title, those reports were false. Those close to Batista’s camp claimed that he “would do five jobs for Bryan” and that was no the reason why he left.
Batista left WWE in 2014 because WWE lied to him about his money, his booking, his schedule and promoting his projects outside of WWE. He had just starred in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and WWE did not believe it would be a success. Triple H openly mocked the movie before release and WWE did not mention his role in the movie at all. It went on to make $773 million that Summer, and Batista went to star in the various sequels and Avengers movies.
The Inquisitor reported the following about Batista leaving WWE in 2014;
“WWE wants that story out, but it’s all twisted. (Batista) would do five jobs for Bryan. They’ve f-ed him in money, booking, broken promises (relating to his) schedule, and promoting his (outside projects). Had that not happened, he would be around until late June, but because Vince (McMahon) f-ed him, he’s not, so they dragged Daniel Bryan into this to vilify Batista. Daniel is beloved and a martyr so he benefits, but it has nothing to do with jobbing. They’ve twisted. It’s classic Vince. Look at Ultimate Warrior and SummerSlam, Bret Hart in Montreal. (Vince) puts out his narrative. There are always two sides.”
He returned to the company in 2019 for one final match at Wrestlemania 35. He lost to Triple H in his retirement match, which would also be Triple H’s last match in wrestling too. He was announced as part of the 2020 class in the WWE Hall of Fame, but had to postpone his induction due to scheduling conflicts.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.