Undertaker (Exclusive) Interview With Sony India

The Undertaker Live Interview

The Undertaker appeared live with Sony Sports India, WWE’s Official India Broadcast Network, via Facebook and its TV channels. He talked about his character development over the years, WrestleMania streak, his entrance, his match against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36 and labeled Shawn Michaels as the greatest in-ring wrestler.

Undertaker on Dealing with COVID-19

The first thing discussed in the interview was the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Undertaker mentioned that usually when he is not wrestling, it’s easy for him to be alone. But the COVID-19 forced distancing and isolations were difficult for him also.

It’s pretty easy for me when I am not in wrestling. I am pretty much a recluse anyway and I like it here at my ranch in Texas. You know… I like the downtime. This is a little more downtime than I even enjoy but you got to play the card you dealt sometimes is an old saying. So, just making the best of the situation.

Undertaker on His Career & Post-Farewell Plans

The Deadman was then asked about how he kept on going for 30 years. To which Taker replied that interacting with the fans in different parts of the world motivated him to keep himself relevant for them.

It’s hard to imagine that 30 years have already come and gone. It feels like just yesterday as I was making that long walk at Survivor Series in 1990. A lot of that is just trying to stay relevant and try to keep that lighting. It’s all on the fans actually, regardless of injuries and travel schedules, it’s always been for the fans. It’s a true pleasure to travel around the world and see different people and different cultures and see how your character and persona affects different people. Everyone has their own story, their Undertaker story, whoever their favorite(wrestler) might be… It’s always interesting and it’s always motivating, to get out there and keep yourself relevant so that your fanbase is appreciative of what you are doing.

When asked about whether he has anything left to achieve in WWE and future ambitions, The Phenom said that he does not want to tarnish his image and disappoint the fans by not performing to a certain level that everybody expects of him. He also mentioned how his next aim is, whatever he has learned over time, to give it back to the future superstars.

I think, the legacy is there and I want that legacy to not be tarnished. And that was part of the reason to finally call it a day. It becomes more and more of a physical challenge to go out and perform at the level people expect when they come to see The Undertaker. My career… I have exceeded all my personal goals and never could I have imagined a 30-year non-stop career with WWE. In our world that just not happen that often to stay at one place for that long. I am very proud of the fact that once I got to WWE, I never left. All my dream, all my goals, I have reached. And now it’s time to make new goals and then to pay all my experiences to.. pay it forward to the new guys that are coming up behind me. And I think that’s where my next goals are oriented towards… the next generations of sports entertainers.

Undertaker on Switching from Basketball to Pro-Wrestling

The discussion then steered towards how Mark Calaway switched career from Basketball to pro-wrestling and how his Father reacted to this decision. Taker said it took him a while to convince his father, but once he was convinced, his father became his biggest supported and fan.

Fortunately for me, I have always prided myself on being actually able to assess what my true abilities are. Being able to assess what my true talent and what my limitations were. And looking at the big picture how far I can go in Basketball, Basketball is a highly competitive sport, which wrestling is too….. But Basketball is more narrow and far fewer people have the skill to play in the NBA and there are very few pro-teams around the world. I felt like I had a set of skills that are more revolutionary in the sense of the wrestling world because the guys my size didn’t move like the way I do use to. I felt like my career path was in pro wrestling and not in basketball.

When I left school, my father was not pleased. I was gonna be the first one in my family to get a college degree and I remember the conversation that did not went [go] so well. It was just like that I’m gonna drop my scholarship and I’m gonna leave the university and I’m gonna start being a professor wrestler. It was such a look of disappointment and he was like what you want to do, how are you gonna make a living. But I won him over and like I said he was my biggest fan and before he passed away he spent a lot of time with doctors, and there wasn’t a time when are used to say who is son was and half proud of he was[of him].

Undertaker on What WCW Told Him

As we know, WWE was not Mark Calaway’s first major wrestling promotion that he worked with. He was in WCW for a while and worked as the character “Mean Mark” Callous. Taker revealed how WCW did not think that he could become a big star.

When I was in WCW, they basically told me that I am a great athlete but no one would ever pay money to see me wrestle. And I took that as the writing on the wall. And then Vince McMahon give me that opportunity to become something and he is the one who gave me an opportunity to prove the world wrong.

The Undertaker also discussed briefly about the camaderie with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.

Obviously, you can tell we are very close and it’s very seldom nowadays that we deal with each other. Our relationship is much more friend based now. We call each other to see how just the other is doing and if you are in person he is the person I want to see first. I want to give him a hug when I come to the WWE. He is such an instrumental part of my life, in my career, has been my boss, has been my father, my brother, has been amazing and our relationship is really strong.

The Undertaker on Work on His Character & Entrance

At this point, Indian Movie star Rana Daggubati joined the interview and said how The Undertaker has been an inspiration since childhood. Rana then asked Undertaker about how he got into his role and transitioned from Mark Calaway to The Undertaker. Taker replied he liked the character a lot when Vince McMahon presented it to him for the very first time.

Almost immediately when it was presented that to me by Vince, he basically showed me The Undertaker, he gave me the name, and then he showed me the storyboard and drawings of the character. And immediately I was mesmerized this is so different from what anybody has been doing just from visuals not even getting into the characteristics of it. And then, he kind of gave me about what the Undertaker is about, he thought the Undertaker was I liked it. I liked it a lot and as it started to develop the character,more and more, I became that guy. You can test it sometimes when you take a role you become that. I have done it for 30 years. I think that’s why it comes off so genuine to the people I think that’s where the people were really shocked when I did the Last Ride documentary because they got to see the whole other person that they got to see but that [they] didn’t even really know existed. Most people were like no, that’s not the Undertaker. I am not gonna look into the eyes because he may not gonna like it.

Rana then talked about Taker’s iconic entrance and asked him the process that he went through each time. The reply was that a lot depended on the ongoing storyline at the time, although the general theme was the one of death and gloom.

Some of this is based on the actual angles and storylines I may be in. Sometimes that played into it depends on which phase of the Undertaker I was doing. The general theme was death is on the way… that’s the atmosphere we always try to create… the gloom that is standing. Someone standing in the ring waiting for me. All the fire and the thunder….it just created the atmosphere, the mystique, just what’s gonna happen in the long walk into the ring.

Undertaker on Mental Preparation for Different Kind of Matches

Rana then asked about how he used to prepare for different kinds of matches, whether it was the Buried Alive match in 1996, the first-ever Coffin match in 1992, or the first-ever Hell in a Cell match in 1997, and what kind of mental preparation he used to do. Undertaker said that one has to be totally invested in the storyline and the atmosphere that is created during such matches and that he tries to teach the same thing to the young guys also.

This is kind of something that I try to teach young guys today. You have to be totally invested in wherever your storyline is. So to get to the extreme to have a Buried alive match you have to you put that in your head like… my mentality is that I have got to bury the man alive. That’s the way I look at things. And obviously with Shawn in Hell in a Cell in 1997, I had so many chances to beat Shawn and he already cost me the world title. Triple H and others were saving him every time I get him in a position to beat him. I beat the stuffing out of him like a dog in the time. You got to have the mentality of the variety of the match.

Undertaker on Shifting to American Badass Character

Before departing, Rana told Undertaker that out of the different versions of his character, the American Badass is the his favorite. Taker then revealed that it became important for him to change the character to freshen himself.

It was extremely initially. The first time out was extremely nerve-wracking because I didn’t know how my audiences are gonna react to it. I felt like I needed to make a change for a little to just freshen myself a little bit. When I made this move, the guys like Stone Cold, Rock, Triple H… all these guys were cutting these promos. I was kind of shackled with what I can do during that time. I couldn’t compete with them on the mic without being able to come out of The Undertaker character for a little bit. I always knew I was gonna go back. But I needed to step out of it and show some different things that the original Undertaker could lead to the character. And that took a lot of change from me and freed me athletically and some of the promos that I wanted to cut, just be the American Badass.

Undertaker on Paul Bearer’s Support

The Deadman described Paul Bearer, his manager in the first half of his career, as more of a sidekick than a manager and massively credited him for the developments in his characted in the early days.

When I think of Paul Bearer, I don’t think of him as a manager in that sense. Obviously, that was his title with the Undertaker, but Paul Bearer was such that, his character was so strong that he was more of my sidekick basically than my manager. He was such an integral part of the early development of the Undertaker character. He was just the perfect guy at the perfect time to be on my side and developed this character. I don’t know the Undertaker would be as successful early on without Paul Bearer.

Undertaker on Attitude Era

The Attitude Era of WWE was one of best times for the company. Taker was asked about various stars during that era like Stone Cold, The Rock and others and how did that change WWE. Taker talked how such a depth of talent raised everyone up and how everyone was reaching for the top during that time.

How did that change the face of WWE? That was the turning point. The Monday Night Wars was a struggle and we were finally coming out on the other side and we were at this point where everyone was firing on all cylinders. The roster was solid, full of talent. You just look at everyone…. you got the Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T. The roster is so deep and everyone just know all their characters so well and mingle with each other. Just one of the greatest in the wrestling business…. just because of the death of the talent. And the fire everyone had.. everyone was reaching for the brass…. everyone wanted to be on the top spot. Such a great competition amongst all of the guys and it made everyone better and made our business and industry better… I don’t know there will be a time period like that again.

Undertaker on His WrestleMania Streak

Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak is considered one of the most iconic things in sports. The Phenom was asked about exactly when the streak came into notice. He revealed that it was not until WrestleMania XVIII when someone told him that he is undefeated at WrestleMania and after he defeated Ric Flair on the event, he signaled to 10 and 0.

Undertaker was then asked about what was going on in his head when the streak ended at WrestleMania 30 in 2014 with a defeat against Brock Lesnar. He joked that there was not much going on in his head due to the concussion he suffered during that match.

Undertaker Labels Shawn Michaels As the Greatest In-Ring Performer

The Deadman also mentioned that his match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 as the finest moment among all of his WrestleMania matches.

When pressed for one particular match, it would have to be Wrestlemania 25 against Shawn Michael. The match quality, the storyline, this is one of the greatest matches that I was part of. I think Shawn Michaels probably is the greatest in-ring wrestler of all time. This match here starts off a four-match series- the two with Shawn where I ended up retiring him next year, and then Triple H comes into the picture to take up from his friend. And it all ends up with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and myself at the top of the stage after 4 match series together. That was the end of an era and that’s my proudest body of work in WWE. Those four Wrestlemanias.

Undertaker on Boneyard Match Against AJ Styles

It really did come off well and we were honestly very lucky. This is during the time of Covid-19 and we don’t have live audiences now and it worked right in and perfect for me because I already had Boiler Room Brawls, Inferno matches, Buried Alive Matches, which are already thematic type matches. So, it was right in kind of what I do. But it allowed us to tell a story that I think needed to be told… due to the fact that AJ Styles has brought my wife into the storylines and said such bad things about her. It was like you know like I am gonna have to go back a little bit and what I would call it and holy trinity – you had an old school Undertaker, you had the American Badass and you had Mark Calaway – all three of these together kind of a merged for the boneyard match.

The match itself came out so smoothly. AJ Styles, I look at him as the modern-day Shawn Michaels. I think he is so talented. Probably it had been someone other than AJ Styles, I would not have wrestled in that Wrestlemania. But I knew that this is probably gonna be my last chance to wrestle somebody with that kind of caliber that I have respected so much as a professional, he has accomplished so much.

So that match kind of came up about to start with and we always envisioned in the wrestling ring and in the stadium and then obviously COVID hits. The thought came about that we need to do something to pay-off and where else would you paid off than a boneyard match. It was definitely edited for TV but it went on and on for hours in the night. It was a long night but I was very proud of the match when it was all over.

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