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WWE: Batista returns as Army of the Dead invades WrestleMania Backlash

Batista introduced the show (Photo: Clay Enos/Netflix)

WWE legend Batista made a welcome return of sorts to kick off WrestleMania Backlash.

The Hollywood actor – whose real name is Dave Bautista – delivered a chilling and motivational introduction for Sunday night’s pay-per-view as he narrated the opening to the show.

The video featured plenty of nods to his new movie Army of the Dead, but the partnership for the new film ran a lot deeper than that.

As John Morrison discovered before The Miz and Damian Priest’s Lumberjack Match, there was a horror twist to proceedings.

As the match was ready to get underway, the lights dropped and the Thunderdome screens changed to show a post-apocalyptic city scape with smoke filling the arena.

A swarm of zombies surrounding the ring providing an unnecessary distraction from the in-ring action in one of WWE’s most bizarre movie tie-ins.

The visuals actually looked pretty good, but this didn’t make much sense even in the whacky world of professional wrestling.

At least commentary sold how silly it all was, with Corey Graves giving a knowing nod and a wink to the ill-fated 2006 ECW relaunch on SyFy which featured a zombie getting caned by The Sandman on the first night.

John Morrison came down only to get overwhelmed by the swam, and Priest got a big singles win in the silliest of circumstances.

The clues were all there before Backlash got underway too, as Batista – who has made it clear he has no interest in an in-ring return – dropped a big hint earlier in the day.

He tweeted: ‘Wishing good luck to all the WWE Superstars competing tonight at #WMBacklash. Sorry I couldn’t make it … but some of my friends will. #ArmyOfTheDead @WWE (sic)’

Meanwhile, the man himself recently opened up to Metro.co.uk about the movie, as he revealed how Zack Snyder encouraged a collaborative approach.

‘Zack had written another part for me in the film and it was a much smaller part,’ the actor recalled.

‘The script was written and when he started reading it, when he thought about casting, who could play Scott Ward, he thought of me, and he called me up.

‘We started having a conversation and I did start asking him those questions – will I be able to contribute? Can I collaborate? Can I put my own twist? And he said, “Absolutely”. I had so much freedom from Zack.’

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MORE : Dave Bautista changed key scene in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead: ‘This isn’t right’


MORE : Dave Bautista rules out wrestling return: WWE star Batista will ‘never go back’

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