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Newsletter Headline: Book Review - "Batista Unleashed"
Originally published: October 16, 2007
From Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #994
"The Animal" Dave Batista is the Smackdown World Heavyweight Champion, and his new autiobiography, ghost written by veteran author Jim "Jeremy Roberts" DeFelice, is hitting stores right before his scheduled WrestleMania rematch with The Undertaker at WWE Cyber Sunday. The book also arrives during the best year of Batista's career, at least as far as his in-ring wrestling is concerned.
Batista [artist Grant Gould (c) PWTorch]
The tome, published by Simon & Schuster under the "WWE Books" brand name, is 309 pages and contains plenty of pictures and white space around large, bold fonts. If you'd read other WWE-sanctioned books, you'd know to expect Batista to discuss his early life, his family, his teenage years, his struggles to break into the wrestling business, and the eventual surge to the top of the WWE ladder.
However, this book is surprisingly interesting. What makes the book interesting is Batista's bluntness and that the Washington D.C. native doesn't seem the slightest bit concerned what readers think of him. Sure, Dave Batista comes across like a jerk in portions of his life story, but he's a sincere jerk.
Longtime readers of this column how our literary reviews work. With that in mind, here are the Top Ten Things You Can Learn By Reading "Batista Unleashed":
10. Meet Batista's Mom. She's a Lesbian. David Bautista, Junior (the real spelling of his last name) grew up in the southeast section of Washington D.C. After his mother, Donna Mullins, separated from his father, Donna discovered that she liked other women. Donna was alienated from her family when they found out about her sexual orientation. Southeast D.C. in the late 1970's and early 1980's wasn't the best place to raise children, especially during the time when the District was the murder capital of the free world. Three murders took place in the front yard their home while Dave was growing up. Since Batista was half-Filipino, he fit in better with the Hispanic kids in the neighborhood, although it sounds as though everyone was united by the common bond of poverty. Donna worked nights, so Dave his sister were two of the original "latch-key kids" of that era.
9. Batista has a rap sheet. Dave was a big kid, and he grew up to be a legitimate six foot five. He admits to being directionless and often getting into trouble. Both his parents worried about him, and at one point neither parent wanted Dave living with them. The only school activity he enjoyed was being on his high school wrestling team. Batista wound up not graduating from his high school wrestling team, hanging out with a bad crowd, being arrested multiple times, getting charged with assault and weapons charges (charges which were dropped), an assault conviction that was later overturned, and another conviction on a count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. There is the implication that Big Dave worked as a bodyguard for a drug dealer in addition to working as a bouncer, which would explain how trouble seemed to find the big man. Batista sums up this portion of his young adult life by writing "Jesus Christ, what was I thinking?"
8. Batista was a bodybuilder. After dropping out of school, Batista spent some time working at a gym, adnd develop an interest in weight training. In the course of about a year, Batista went from 200 pounds to about 250 pounds, almost all of it solid muscle. Batista also entered some bodybuilding competitions, and admits to using diuretics to prepare for the events. The diuretics affected him so badly that he suffered severe cramps and was writhing around the backstage floor in pain, unable to stand. That experience, combined with the complete lack of sympathy from his fellow competitors, caused him to give up bodybuilding.
7. Dave Batista is a grandfather at the age of 38. In his early twenties, Batista had two daughters with his first wife. The marriage ended, and Batista was awarded custody of both children. His oldest daughter, Keilani, became pregnant at the age of sixteen, and had a child named Jacob. Keilani's boyfriend died in a car crash, and Keilani ran away from home, got married and had a second child. Batista and his ex-wife fought to get custody of Jacob, but were unsuccessful. Batista tells this story in a matter of fact manner. He's upset about his duaghter's actions, but not as upset at he is about the rumors that he's actually forty-two and has shaved a few years off his announced age.
6. Batista washed out of the WCW Power Plant. While Batista was living in Minneapolis, he met Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis at a gym, and the former Road Warrior encouraged Dave to take a shot at pro wrestling. Batista and a friend signed up for WCW's "Power Plant" training school in Atlanta. They lasted one day, as trainer Dwayne Bruce, aka Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, figured out the two gym rats didn't have strong cardio training. Sarge worked them until they got sick, then sent them both home. The experience infuriated Batista, who ended up moving to Pennsylvania so he could train under WWE Hall of Famer Afa Anoia at the Wild Samoan Wrestling School. Afa saw money in Dave and
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