Pages: 309 (Hardcover)
Synopsis: Batista's surprisingly quick rise to fame in WWE.
"I don't pretend to be a deep thinker. I don't talk that much. When I do, I say what I honestly feel, and I say it plainly, in just a few words. That's rare today, maybe - enough to have gotten me in trouble at different times - but that's not a reason to write a book."
Well, he's at least got that part right.
Full disclosure: I am not a big Batista fan. Definitely was when he turned on Triple H and captured his first World Heavyweight Title. But since then, he's come across - both in the ring and out of it - as a major complainer. The differences between him and, say, John Cena are astounding in that respect.
Silly vignettes aside, Cena comes across as an ultra-hard worker, gets crapped on by the fans, and never says a bad word about it.
The other thing, before we even delve into the book. I'm not a fan of books written "with" a legitimate author. It's not unique to the wrestling world, I realize, and I know 9 out of 10 wrestlers choose this method. But I do believe there's a huge difference between talking into a tape recorder and actually going through the physical writing process, watching an editor destroy your initial draft(s) and building on those criticisms to produce a better overall story.
Now then.... The Animal hasn't had an easy life. He grew up in an exceptionally dangerous part of Washington, DC, living in poverty, with only a mother to raise him. He fought from an early age and ended up in various group homes. He had several unsuccessful relationships, slept around, and had to watch his ex-wife go through cancer treatment. He had two daughters at an early age, and is now a grandfather. Think about that for a second: one of the business's biggest current stars is also known as gramps!
So the guy has had a tough life - I get that - but the constant complaining gets old real fast. This isn't a shoot interview, it's supposed to be a life story. You'd think with everything he'd accomplished, he'd be able to take the disappointment of having his role in the television show Smallville watered down in stride.
Much like his in-ring character, Batista is quick to badmouth certain people, ranging from Sarge DeWayne Bruce (trainer at WCW's Power Plant) to Hurricane Helms to Mark Henry. That said... he does defend Triple H, Ric Flair, Finlay and even the late Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, so it's not like he condemns everyone.
One semi-interesting feature is how he starts each chapter off with a page or two about his current road travels. There's nothing spectacular in there, but it does give you a window into the life of what professional wrestlers go through.
Still, I can't say I learned a whole lot of new information by reading this. I found out a bit more about Dave Batista, but nothing that I really cared about.
Rating: Bowling-shoe ugly. If you're a fan of Batista's work, you may get more out of this than I did. But I still maintain this is one story that didn't really need to be told.
Dave Batista (with Jeremy Roberts)