Before his WrestleMania 35 match against Triple H, Batista's last wrestling match was five years earlier at Payback in 2014. That time away from the ring would cause ring rust for anyone, even someone as experienced as Batista is.
The Animal joined Lilian Garcia's podcast to talk about being out of the ring for so long and how it affected him.
"I was on my way as I had landed in New York and just thinking to myself, what the hell am I doing? I was excited because I had wanted to do this for years, but this is not the way things are done," said Batista. "I'm 50 years old and have been out of wrestling for five years and then just get back into wrestling at a WrestleMania. I'm super excited, but I wish I was a little better prepared. I wish I was a little younger. I went and wrestled for the first time a few weeks ago and I immediately felt beat up. It's just all the jolting around. It may be one thing if I had the time to get used to it, but when you don't do it for years at a time and then you are being jolted around again, it's rough."
Not only is Batista 50 years old and suffering from ring rust, but his opponent Triple H is also nearing 50 and was coming off chest surgery. Those are just some of the factors that affected Batista's preparation for the WrestleMania 35 match.
"With the WWE, everything is constantly changing, or you are thrown a curveball the last minute. But also, you are so busy running around you just don't have the time to plan ahead, which is very hectic. It's a hectic lifestyle, but this time (especially so) because Hunter is coming off of an injury, but also because he is busier in his life than he has ever been," stated Batista.
Batista said he and Triple H met in Orlando to discuss the psychology of the match while also meeting with Michael Hayes to hash out the story they wanted to tell at 'Mania. But Batista's only in-ring action leading up to the match was with one of the Performance Center trainers and he says his body reminded him of his age and inactivity.
"It felt awful. I felt beat up," Batista said of wrestling at the Performance Center. "It's weird because I try to tell people, and it's a weird thing, and unless you have been in there you haven't realized it, but you can be in shape, but for some reason being in a wrestling ring is a different kind of cardio.
"So, I don't know if it's just hitting the ropes, or just up and down, but you get blown up, and it is an endurance that you have to train for and get some ring time and get used to it. I consider myself to be in decent shape, so it may be because of nerves too when you get in there and are in front of an audience. That is one of my biggest weaknesses, being nervous."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.