DC might’ve doomed Dwayne Johnson, but Dave Bautista owes his whole career to Superman

Black Adam and Drax
Black Adam/HBO Max The Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney Plus

Dwayne Johnson might’ve hoped that he could single-handedly save the DC universe, but ultimately he couldn’t even save his own Black Adam franchise from being cancelled once James Gunn and Peter Safran took over to completely overhaul the brand. But while The Rock’s reputation has taken a considerable hit, with Johnson now spending his time hanging out in woods and ruminating on the nature of failure in strange Instagram videos, Dave Bautista owes his entire post-WWE career to DC.

As previously uncovered, Johnson might’ve failed to make his dream of battling Superman on screen a reality, but Bautista already managed to do just that almost 20 years ago. Back in 2006, the Guardians of the Galaxy star made a guest appearance on Smalville to fight with Tom Welling’s Clark Kent as a Kryptonian criminal escaped from the Phantom Zone. It just so happens that this TV role marked Bautista’s very first acting assignment, and it sounds like he can credit it for awakening his interest in the profession.

“[The] Smallville gig was another one of those things I got through WWE,” Bautista is known to have stated. “At that point, I had absolutely no aspirations to pursue acting.”

Dave Bautista as Aldar in 'Smallville'/Henry Cavill as Superman in 'Black Adam'
Images via The CW/Warner Bros.

While his turn as Aldar in Smallville was hardly a taxing acting debut for Bautista, mostly relying on his physicality, clearly it sowed the seeds for further ambitions to conquer Hollywood just as he had done the wrestling world. These days, Bautista is confident enough in his performing abilities to throw shade at Dwayne Johnson by saying he doesn’t want to be “the next Rock” as he’d rather be known as a “respected” and “good” actor. That’s quite the change from once being a guy with zero interest in the profession. And fans of his turns in the likes of Glass Onion, Blade Runner 2049, and countless others have Smallville and the worlds of DC to thank for that.