21st Jun2014

‘WWE: Batista – The Animal Unleashed’ DVD Review

by Chris Cummings


Dave Bautista debuted on WWE television in 2002 and quickly became one of the guys that fans could see that the management in WWE were serious about. A muscular former bodybuilder and doorman, Bautista would debut as “Deacon” Batista, a lackey to the repackaged “Reverend” D’Von Dudley character. This gimmick lasted only a short time which was a very good thing for Dave, who would go on to be a part of Evolution, alongside Ric Flair, Triple H and Randy Orton and experience a career of major victories and high-priority booking from then-on.

Becoming a babyface and working with the likes of Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane, Edge and others, Batista was one of the main focuses of WWE television during the mid 00’s, and alongside John Cena and Randy Orton was one of the very few new stars that were created by WWE during that period. Batista would turn heel towards the end of his first WWE run and critically did a commendable job in the role of a villain. Leaving WWE quite suddenly in 2010, Batista would not return to our screens for four years, making his return on RAW in January of 2014. His return, though hyped a lot by WWE, wasn’t a success and the fanbase didn’t react warmly to the returning 45 year old. Winning the Royal Rumble as a babyface brought about a mass anger directed at both WWE and Batista who wanted to see younger talent such as Daniel Bryan featured in the spots taken up by the likes of Dave and other part-time workers. Due to the reception from the fans, WWE turned Batista heel and that is where he finally found his groove again. Working with the likes of The Shield, Daniel Bryan and The Uso’s, Batista put in some top performances and more importantly, put over the younger generation of performers in the process.

This DVD and Blu-ray set features a documentary portion that looks at Batista’s return to WWE and what he had been doing during his time away. It is a different sort of package because instead of a career retrospective, it is almost a re-introduction and a “what have you been upto” release that also features a bunch of “Big” Dave’s matches. The selection of matches, as expected from the past releases like this, is a mixture in terms of quality and relevance, but overall there is a decent selection and it should definitely appeal to fans of Batista as well as people who enjoy WWE bio-releases. Beginning in 2002, right up until 2014, there are plenty of in-ring battles to sink your teeth into here.

From his Evolution-related matches with the likes of RVD and Booker T, to one-on-one skirmishes with superstars such as Edge, CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio and John Cena, it is a pretty hefty chunk of Batista-battles. There are also a bunch of extra matches and a couple of segments exclusively to the Blu-ray release, which might make it worth picking that up.

Overall this is an enjoyable set that puts emphasis on a guy who has been a major part of WWE over the past twelve years, and the matches range from mediocre to very good. It might not appeal to those who aren’t a fan of Batista’s work or character, but that’s pretty obvious anyway. This should definitely tick plenty of boxes for people who wanted to see a new set featuring the big guy.

Batista left WWE again in June 2014 in order to promote Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a film in which he has a major role, but we should see him back in WWE again during the summer. In the meantime, this set should help you get your dose of skinny jeans, aviators and powerbombs.

Batista: The Animal Unleashed is available on DVD and Blu-ray, through Fremantle Media, from June 23rd 2014.


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