Dave Bautista may have officially transitioned over to Hollywood actor through Guardians of the Galaxy, the James Bond movie Spectre, and Blade Runner 2049, but he never forgets where he came from, the WWE. Now, his home arena is honoring Bautista with a reserved spot in its Hall of Fame.
The actor behind Marvel’s Drax the Destroyer, who’s also a six-time WWE World Champion, will formally be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 2 during WrestleMania week, it was revealed Tuesday. The ceremony will take place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida.
“Vince [McMahon] called me personally to ask me, I was just … I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy,” Bautista told PEOPLE, which was the first to report the news. “It’s a good feeling, it’s a really great feeling.”
Chris Pratt, Bautista’s costar in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, congratulated his pal in a message on social media. “Big shout out to dream chaser @davebautista for making the WWE Hall of Fame,” Pratt wrote. “You’re the real deal. Big muscles, and even bigger heart, which is technically also a muscle. Love you man!”
Bautista was a founding member of the WWE faction Evolution, which featured Ric Flair, Triple H, and Randy Orton. For his final match in the WWE, Bautista appeared in April during WrestleMania to wrestle Triple H. He called it a “storybook ending.”
“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,” he told PEOPLE. “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.”
In a note on Twitter, Bautista said he asked WWE producer Fit Finley to be the one to induct him into the Hall of Fame, though fans were arguing for others. “I’m sure that anyone who knows Fit Finlay will not question my request,” he tweeted.
As for his Hollywood plans, Bautista keeps trucking ahead with roles in My Spy, the Dune movie from his Blade Runner director Denis Villeneuve, Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, and a third Guardians film with writer-director James Gunn.