Batista recently made an appearance on Michael Rosenbaum’s “Inside Of You” podcast in which he discussed his rough upbringing and overcoming his struggles. Below are the highlights, courtesy of WrestleZone.
On seeing a dead body near his house, and how he left the rough neighborhood he grew up in:
"It wasn’t technically our front lawn. There was an alley right next to our house, and this guy got killed right in the alley. He was kind of sitting there on the gate. Everyone saw him, it was the whole neighborhood that was there, seeing this guy. It’s weird; my mother and I have completely different recollections of it. My mom says she was freaked out, but she was more freaked out that we weren’t bothered by it. It was really late at night—everyone had come outside and gathered around—we took advantage and went out and played with our friends at night. We thought it was cool to be out at night and playing with our friends. We weren’t at all bothered by this dead guy next to our house. It was soon after that that my mom packed us up and we took off and headed to San Francisco. There was a lot of violence; [Washington] D.C. was a very violent city. As far as I can remember, up until the ‘90s it was very violent, and it was not uncommon to wake up and somebody’s been shot, somebody’s been killed over their shoes."
On a close call after a fight inside a restaurant, also telling Rosenbaum he’s never told anyone this story before:
"No, but I’ve had a few rough ones. I got into a fight with this kid, I didn’t want to—it happened so fast—it escalated so fast that I didn’t even know I was going to be in a fight. He hit me with this wet floor sign [laughs] that knocked me so silly. We got into this fight in a Fuddrucker’s [fast food restaurant]. This guy was looking at my girlfriend, and I looked over at him. This was 199…5-6ish? Around there, but this kid’s looking at my girlfriend and I look over at him, and like ‘why is he being so disrespectful?’ and his friend says something to him [about how] I’m looking at him. And he goes ‘I don’t give a shit. I’ll punch him in his face three times before he hits me once.’ He was much smaller than me. And I was like, ‘what’d you say?’ and he walks up to me all aggressive and he said ‘you heard what the fuck I said’ so I just pushed him. He flies back and he goes ‘oh hell no! hell no!’ and he goes and picks up this wet floor sign, and I didn’t think he was going to do it, he whacks me on the head with it. Not only did I stumble, but he tackles me and we go flying back into the salad bar—I swear to God—we break the salad bar. We start fighting and I beat this kid’s ass, we end up outside and I’m choking him, and he finally goes ‘alright, alright, alright!’ So I let him go, and I’m just a disaster, my girlfriend’s crying, I’m going ‘what the hell’s going on?’ The restaurant is a disaster and I’m like ‘let’s just go.’ Later the police came and arrested me. Apparently because I pushed him, I started it. They ended up dropping all of the charges, but they did arrest me for it, also because we left, we left the scene of a crime."
On overcoming his limitations on the mic early in his wrestling career:
"That was one of the things that I really struggled with with wrestling to begin with, is to speak at all. It was a natural—it was a phobia of mine—public speaking, I was terrified of it. I was always a physical person and I knew that I could rely on my physicality. I thought that I really wanted that to carry me through. There came a point where, again—if I really wanted to move up, if I wanted to progress in my career—I had to be a well-rounded professional wrestler. Which means you have to start speaking and acting; it was my nightmare. My pacifiers were—and people always ask me why I wore sunglasses and hats and stuff when I was doing promos in the ring—that was my pacifier, hiding behind those things."