"Vince [McMahon] called me personally to ask me, I was just … I wasn't surprised, but I was pretty happy. It's a good feeling, it's a really great feeling," Batista stated. "As soon as I hung up the phone, I was … and excuse my language, I was like, 'S–t, I gotta give a speech.' "
Dave Bautista signed with the then-WWF in 2000, joining their then-developmental program Ohio Vally Wrestling. He debuted in 2002 as an enforcer for Reverend D'Von before joining Triple H's Evolution faction featuring Ric Flair and Randy Orton. His career went off from there, winning tag team gold before winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at WrestleMania 21. The two-time Royal Rumble winner is excited but nervous to have a part in this upcoming ceremony.
Batista hasn't been a full-time wrestler for a long time, as he has moved on to star in films. He has been in James Bond films, Riddick and Blade Runner. One of his premier roles is Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result of those commitments, he makes rare WWE appearances.
"I don't think it's sunk in," Batista went on to say. "And I was thinking about it because I mean, it seems like a long journey, but it also feels like yesterday when I started my career. And it also feels … because I'm still working so much, it doesn't feel like an end of a journey."
One of his last appearances was a No Holds Barred Match against Triple H at WrestleMania 35 this year. Batista lost and per the stipulation, he retired right after with a lengthy post on Instagram. That was was considered one of Batista's favorites, as he got to fight Triple H one final time. He has stuck to his commitment, but the 50-year-old doesn't believe he is truly done with being a WWE star.
"And I said that at WrestleMania last year: It's the end of my in-ring journey, but it's not the end of my journey with the WWE," Batista went on to say. "I will always be connected with them, I'll always be affiliated with them, I hope that I will always have a good relationship with them. So it doesn't really feel like an ending for me, it feels like, kind of, I'm right in the mix... All I can say is it feels good, it's just satisfying. I feel like I accomplished something. I feel like it was all worth it."
Batista has held multiple world titles and had great matches against rivals Triple H, The Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero. He credits WWE for giving him the opportunities he has today, and will always thank them for that.
"I don't think that they'll really appreciate how grateful I am," he says.
Batista joins the nWo's Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman as the first inductees announced. The 2020 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is set to take place on April 2 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Tickets for the event will be on sale this Friday.