In wrestling, booing is a form of currency. Without a cadre of hated heels, the heroic babyface would have no one with whom to do battle, no odds to overcome, and no foe to ultimately vanquish. Drawing heat is an art form, and superstars who can do it well will tend to find themselves in lucrative positions, especially if they’re antagonising a hero of sufficient magnitude.
There’s good heat, though, and then there’s the kind of boos that mean something entirely different. The kind of boos that don’t mean “we want to see you get your comeuppance” but rather “we want to see you get your release papers”. It’s not always the performer in question’s fault - in fact more often than not this is down to bad booking, overexposure, personal matters, or simply fans taking the whole “kayfabe” thing far too seriously. That’s not to say wrestlers never bring it on themselves - rather, it’s a funny old business in which things can go terribly wrong.
These superstars hopefully subscribe to the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Fans found them impossible to ignore, but for all the wrong reasons.
Nowadays the very idea of booing Big Dave seems borderline criminal. He has successfully made the jump to Hollywood (arguably more successfully than Dwayne, if you’re talking quality of projects) and seems like a great guy. He has officially retired, but he’s surely welcome back any time.
The same could not be said for his 2013 return. While fans were briefly happy to see the Animal, his 2014 Royal Rumble win was met with nothing short of fury. In fairness, anyone other than Daniel Bryan would have been met with serious heat, but a part timer was as bad an alternative as you could hope for.
Batista was rattled by this, and in general did not have the happy homecoming he was expecting. WWE eventually turned him heel, and he actually had a pretty great run, headlining WrestleMania XXX and reforming Evolution for some incredible matches against The Shield.
Throughout it all, though, the WWE universe was not welcoming, and it stuck with him. The “Bluetista” chants are liable to get him angry to this day. Though they were very funny at the time.