D-Von Dudley Reflects on Mentoring Batista in WWE

Inside Batista's early wrestling challenges at OVW.

by Atia Mukhtar
D-Von Dudley Reflects on Mentoring Batista in WWE
© SportsKeeda Wrestling/YouTube

In the tumultuous world of WWE, few stories resonate like the rise of "The Animal" Batista. However, his ascendancy wasn't as straightforward as one might assume. When Batista first made his presence felt on the WWE stage during a "SmackDown" episode in May 2002, he was introduced as Deacon Batista, acting as the heavy for D-Von Dudley’s “Reverend D-Von” persona.

That dynamic was short-lived as Batista eventually pivoted to the more prominent Evolution faction. Recently, in an exclusive with "PWInsider Elite," D-Von Dudley delved deep into his time mentoring Batista, a role he took on due to Batista's limited in-ring exposure from his stint at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).

Batista's OVW Days

Recalling their time together, D-Von shared, "Dave [Batista] once confided in me about the gaps in his ring education. At OVW, he mainly executed run-ins and brief appearances. Rarely did he engage in prolonged matches.

On those sparse occasions, it mirrored the Ultimate Warrior’s rapid bouts — a few minutes of high-octane action and it was over." Yet, what set Batista apart was not just his undeniable physicality, but his thirst for knowledge and his unwavering commitment.

D-Von was particularly impressed by Batista's dedication to honing his craft, revealing, "Before the arenas filled up with fans, we'd step into the ring, practicing moves and sequences. Dave's enthusiasm was palpable. He always showed up, eager to learn.

His thirst for wrestling knowledge made our partnership truly rewarding." D-Von’s reminiscence underscores the crucial importance of mentorship in the wrestling business. Batista’s journey from a protective deacon to one of WWE's top-tier superstars showcases how guidance, combined with innate passion, can yield phenomenal results.

This inside look serves as a testament to both Batista's drive and D-Von's mentorship – a symbiotic relationship that, even if for a brief period, shaped a wrestling icon's destiny.

D-von Dudley Batista