UNITED STATES – Dave Bautista has revealed that Hulk Hogan thought he was mocking when he copied the legendary wrestler’s microphone when he wrestled in WWE.
The 51-year-old actor first found fame as a wrestler, but although his physique and in-ring skills made him a star one aspect of the wrestling business Bautista struggled with was speaking on the microphone to promote his matches.
To get over his nerves, Bautista copied WWE legend Hogan’s charged mic work, which have made his catchphrases “let me tell you something brother” and “what’cha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild over you” famous to this day.
However, the multi-time world champion thought Bautista was ribbing him and so confronted him at a live WWE TV show to ask if he was “making fun of him”.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star said: “Since the beginning of my wrestling career, I was so terrified to be on the microphone, so I’d subconsciously channel a bit of Hulk Hogan and the Macho Man. That is my first childhood connection to professional wrestling.
“I remember I did this interview years ago where it came across like I was doing this impersonation of Hulk Hogan.
“It wasn’t my intent but that’s the way it came off, and I remember saying, ‘This just isn’t me. I’m just not that guy.’ I later saw Hogan at a show and he asked if I was making fun of him.
“I said no, I didn’t mean that at all. That’s just my first connection to professional wrestling. They did promos a certain way, and it still impacts my work.”
The work of wrestlers Hogan, 67, and the late Macho Man Randy Savage even influenced Bautista’s latest acting role in an episode of HBO’s anthology TV series “Room 104” in which he plays retired pro wrestler Raw Dog Avalanche who is dealing with brain damage and memory loss, as well as coping later in life with the childhood abuse he suffered.
Speaking about the role and his reluctance to accept it because he would be playing a professional grappler, he said: “When my agent told me it was a professional wrestling themed episode, I said, ‘Not a shot in hell.’ I’ve worked really hard to separate these two worlds.”
“One of my agents, Ryan Abboushi, said to me, ‘Just read the episode -it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, it’s exactly what we’ve been talking about.’ I read the script and I was blown away. It wasn’t what I thought it was. It was deep and rich and emotional.”