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The Avengers star told People magazine it was WWE CEO Vince McMahon who asked if he’d accept the honor. “I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy,” Bautista told People. “It’s a good feeling, it’s a really good feeling.”
The muscular star, who has also competed in mixed martial arts, began his wrestling career at the relatively late age of 30 in 2000, but quickly became a force to be reckoned with.
In 2003, he joined Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the Nature Boy Ric Flair, and Randy Orton to form the wrestling faction Evolution. Bautista remained a part of Evolution until 2005, when he betrayed Triple H and defeated him at WrestleMania 21 to capture his first world heavyweight title.
Throughout his career he had many memorable feuds with John Cena, the Undertaker, Adam Copeland, aka “Edge,” to name a few. In 2010, he left the WWE but returned in 2014 (right after his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Drax in Guardian’s of the Galaxy) for a few months.
He returned again earlier this year and feuded with Triple H, which culminated in a No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania that Levesque won. Bautista announced his retirement from wrestling the following day.
Outside the WWE, Bautista has become an accomplished actor. His biggest role has been Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which saw him earn a small role in Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing movie of all time.
He has also starred in the James Bond film Spectre, in the iconic “Bond villian” role, and Blade Runner 2049 alongside Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.
Muscle & Fitness readers are no strangers to Bautista—he’s twice been on the cover, revealing his secrets to getting shredded to play Drax and other characters. You can follow some of his workout tips here.
Lately, the former WWE superstar has been openly flirting with Ashley Sebera, a WWE superstar known as “Dana Brooke,” and former girlfriend of the late bodybuilder Dallas McCarver.
Sebera herself is an accomplished bodybuilder, having won the 2017 Female Image Award, an honor handed every year at the Mr. Olympia to athletes who best represent the IFBB Professional League and National Physique Committee by giving back to others.
The WWE also announced that the New World Order—the famous WCW faction that included Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman—will also be inducted into its Hall of Fame. The NWO rocked the wrestling world during the 1990s and early 2000s, and helped give WCW a ratings edge over the WWE for many years.