He has publicly admitted to having a hard life where, as before he was age nine, three murders occurred at his front lawn. As young as age 13, he was stealing automobiles. By age 17, Batista was considered estranged from his parents and on his own, despite admitting later that "I am proud of my parents. They are good, honest, hard-working folks. They taught me the values of working hard." Batista became a regular bouncer for clubs until he was arrested after a fight that left two badly injured patrons, one of which could be found lying in the street. After a trial, Batista was sentenced to a years' probation. Batista was also a lifeguard before he had dreams of becoming a bodybuilder. He credits bodybuilding as possibly saving his life.
At Armageddon 2003, Batista took part in two matches; losing to Shawn Michaels in a singles match, and winning a tag team turmoil match along with Ric Flair, eliminating the face gimmick of the Dudley Boyz to become one-half of the World Tag Team Champions. By the end of the event, all four members of Evolution held every male championship on Raw, with Triple H winning the World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship. They held the titles until the February 16, 2004, episode of Raw, when they were defeated by then-babyface, Booker T and Rob Van Dam. They later regained the titles for a short period. In mid 2004, after Randy Orton defeated Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship, Triple H evicted him from the group, claiming that the title which Orton held was rightfully his. It was Batista who delivered an electric chair to Orton after Triple H gave Orton a "thumbs up" before turning it into a "thumbs down.
At the 2004 Survivor Series, Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky, and Edge faced-off against then-babyface, Maven, then-babyface, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and the face gimmick of Randy Orton in an 8-Man Elimination Tag Match for control of Raw over the following month; the members of the winning team would each be the Raw general manager for a week. They lost, causing unrest within Evolution.
Throughout the next two months, the relationship between Batista and Triple H began to deteriorate. After a loss to Chris Jericho by disqualification, Triple H verbally insulted Batista. Batista teased leaving Evolution that night, but declared that he was still part of Evolution and that they tricked everyone. Still, Batista began behaving more like a face in the next few weeks, despite Evolution's heelish tactics. One particular moment saw Batista express disgust as Triple H and Ric Flair boasted about how they had intimidated and/or beat up Jim Ross, Danny Hodge, and Stacy Keibler. He continued to show his loyalty to Triple H and Evolution by running down to the ring and assisting them in matches.
As 2005 began, Triple H realized the possibility of Batista, much like Randy Orton the year before, becoming a threat to his World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H suggested that Dave not enter the Royal Rumble, claiming that it would be selfish of him to do so, and to simply focus on Triple H retaining the title. Dave entered anyway and went on to win the Royal Rumble, last eliminating John Cena, earning the right to participate in the main event of WrestleMania 21 against the World Champion of his choice.
In an attempt to persuade Batista to challenge WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield rather than him, Triple H concocted a scheme to have Batista run over in a limousine resembling the one used by Layfield. Initially, Dave did not want help from Evolution and wanted to confront JBL by himself. Triple H insisted that Evolution stick together and accompanied Dave anyway, saving him from the oncoming vehicle. Batista became aware of the plot while sneakily eavesdropping on fellow Evolution members and signed a contract guaranteeing him a match with World Champion Triple H at WrestleMania 21, thus leaving Evolution and officially turning face for the first time in WWE. Batista initially pretended that he would sign with SmackDown!, giving Triple H and Flair the "thumbs up," but turned it into a "thumbs down" before attacking the pair. He emphasized his departure by powerbombing Triple H through the table used for the contract signing.
Batista went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship on April 3 at WrestleMania 21. Since this event, he has used the infamous "thumbs up, thumbs down" gesture before he performs the Batista Bomb on his opponent. Batista once again faced Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash. He retained the title but continued to feud with Triple H. Along the way, he even helped commentator Jim Ross gain an upset victory over Triple H on Raw. After Batista retained his title against Edge, he was betrayed by Ric Flair, who helped Triple H viciously attack the champion as Triple H challenged Batista to a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance. Batista survived the pedigree and won the match at Vengeance, retaining his title yet again. With this win, Batista became the first wrestler to pin Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.
On June 30, Batista was revealed as the last pick in the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery; he made a surprise appearance while John "Bradshaw" Layfield was celebrating his victory in a six-man elimination match to win the new SmackDown! Championship. JBL and Batista faced off at The Great American Bash on July 24 where JBL defeated Batista by DQ after the referee saw Batista use a steel chair. They had a rematch at SummerSlam on August 21 in a No-Holds-Barred match in which Batista pinned JBL following a powerbomb on the steel steps. The feud culminated in a match between the two on the first episode of SmackDown! broadcast after the show moved to Friday nights, with Batista retaining the title in JBL's signature bull rope match. Soon after retaining the title in a feud with then-heel, Eddie Guerrero, WWE.com reported that Batista suffered a muscle tear in his back at the taping for the November 11 edition of SmackDown! due to a double chokeslam from other face wrestlers at the time, Big Show and Kane. Plans had been made for Batista to defend the title in a triple threat match with the face gimmick of Eddie Guerrero and now-heel, Randy Orton on the November 18 episode, but the match did not take place due to the unexpected death of Eddie Guerrero on November 13, the date of the taping. Batista paid homage to Eddie Guerrero during the SmackDown! and Raw tribute shows dedicated to Guerrero's memory.
Batista led Team SmackDown! against Team Raw in an inter-brand feud before Survivor Series. The feud saw the Big Show and Kane chokeslamming Batista several more times in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series in an on-camera explanation for Batista's injury. Batista ultimately helped his team win the Survivor Series main event. After Batista saved Rey Mysterio from a double team attack by Raw's reigning World Tag Team Champions, Big Show and Kane, it was announced that Mysterio would team with Batista to face the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon, a SmackDown! exclusive pay-per-view.
On the December 16 edition of SmackDown!, Batista and Mysterio defeated WWE Tag Team Champions MNM to become champions in a match they dedicated to Eddie Guerrero, and the clash with the Big Show and Kane at Armageddon turned into a Champions vs. Champions encounter. Batista and Mysterio lost to Kane and Big Show at Armageddon when Kane pinned Mysterio after a chokeslam, and two weeks later on SmackDown!, MNM defeated Batista and Mysterio after help from the returning Mark Henry to regain the WWE Tag Team Championships. During the interference, Henry attacked Batista, and performed his World's Strongest Slam. The teams met again in a cage match that Henry also became involved in, and Batista and Rey were defeated again.
Batista made an appearance at No Way Out and told the crowd that once his arm had healed he would return to regain his World Heavyweight Championship. At WrestleMania 22, he interrupted a Randy Orton interview, putting SmackDown! on notice; the World Heavyweight Championship would return to him by WrestleMania 23. Batista made his official return during the July 7 edition of SmackDown! in Philadelphia immediately calling out and entering into a feud with the man who put him out with the arm injury, Mark Henry. At Saturday Night's Main Event, Batista won his first televised match since his return, a six man tag match with Rey Mysterio and Lashley taking on King Booker(heel gimmick of Booker T), then-heel, Finlay, and Mark Henry. In a bizarre twist of fate, Mark Henry was legitimately injured and was ruled out of the scheduled match between the two at The Great American Bash, thus further delaying a potential feud between the two after being delayed by Batista's initial injury.
Batista put out an open challenge to replace the injured Henry, which was answered by then-heel, Mr. Kennedy. Batista lost this match via DQ for failing to stop choking Mr. Kennedy into the turnbuckle with his boot, but continued to attack Kennedy resulting in a laceration on his forehead so severe that it exposed his cranium and required more than 20 stitches to close. Batista lost another match with Kennedy via count out in a rematch on SmackDown! before finally defeating Kennedy by pinfall on the August 4 edition of SmackDown!.
During this time Batista tried to regain a world title, facing both the heel gimmick of the Big Show for his ECW Championship during an ECW show, and King Booker for his World Heavyweight Championship during SummerSlam and SmackDown!. Batista won the SummerSlam match, but not the title as the contests ended via disqualification meaning Booker retained the title. In the SmackDown! bout a few weeks later, Booker retained with help from his Court.
Batista remained a top contender to the World Title, competing against King Booker on several occasions while feuding with Finlay, before finally defeating King Booker to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center. Ironically, the win occurred at the same arena where he surrendered the title in January.
Batista accepted an open challenge from The Great Khali for The Great American Bash. Edge relinquished the title due to an injury the week before the PPV, and Khali became the new World Heavyweight Champion, winning a Battle Royal and eliminating Batista. Batista and Kane, Edge's title opponent, faced Khali at The Great American Bash in a triple threat match where Khali retained the title. Batista received a disqualification victory against Khali at Summerslam after Khali used a steel chair, thus retaining the title again. Batista finally claimed his third World Heavyweight Championship after eight consecutive attempts, by defeating Khali in a match that included Rey Mysterio at Unforgiven. His first challenge was from the Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match at No Mercy where Batista retained his title despite Khali having the majority of the offense. He won the match by leaping from the inner bamboo structure to the outer one, shortening his escape route and beating Khali to the floor.
After the return of the The Undertaker at Unforgiven, the duo re-ignited their feud at Cyber Sunday where the fans chose Guest Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin. Batista won via two Batista Bombs. The feud continued with a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series. During the match, Edge returned and interfered by giving Undertaker a con-chair-to. He then pulled an unconscious Batista on top of Undertaker for the pinfall to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
Unfortunately for Batista, this was a sign of things to come. At Armageddon, Edge would be entered into a Triple Threat Match, alongside The Undertaker, to challenge for Batista's World Heavyweight title. This event would lead to the end of Batista's third reign as champion, after Edge managed to score the pinfall and claim the World Championship.
In October 2007, his autobiography "Batista Unleashed", a WWE Book, was released. In an interview about the book, Bautista claims "I didn't want to tell my story unless it was honest," and that "you have to go through three sets of lawyers: Simon & Schuster lawyers, WWE lawyers, my lawyers. Everything now being the way it is, you can be sued for the simplest thing." One source of controversy was the mentioning of Chris Benoit, who was almost completely removed due to controversy. Bautista responded saying "I loved the guy. I despise what he did, but that doesn't erase him from my life. I fought to keep him in there and glad they did." When asked about his ex-wife, Angie, he says "[we] have really become close again, which we really haven't been in years. I really learned a lot about her, and she learned a lot about me from reading the book. She actually saw things from a different perspective from reading the book. So that was definitely therapeutic."
He has numerous tattoos, including a large Chinese dragon on his back, red Kanji lettering on his upper left biceps which says "Angel" in tribute to his former wife Angie, a signature design on his upper right biceps, and a small Sun on his stomach which encircles his belly button. He recently added a tattoo on his arm of the flags of the Philippines and Greece merged into one.
Moreover, Bautista has acted and has guest starred in several television shows as both himself and in-character as Batista. He guest starred in the eighth episode of Season 6 of the American drama, action/adventure television series Smallville; he plays an extraterrestrial alien named Aldar that escaped from the Phantom Zone, who sucks the bones out of people for nourishment. Along with John Cena and Ashley Massaro, Bautista appeared representing WWE on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in January 2007, giving the kids of the family whose house was renovated WWE merchandise and eight tickets to WrestleMania 23.
On November 5, 2007, he appeared on an episode of Family Feud with several other WWE superstars.
On September 7, 2008, he appeared on an episode of Iron Chef America as one of the judges, with snails as the theme ingredient Batista, along with Candice Michelle, Shelton Benjamin, and Josh Matthews, represented the WWE at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in an effort to persuade fans to register to vote in the 2008 Presential election.