The legendary Undertaker is widely regarded as the greatest WWE wrestler to ever exist, even after his retirement.
With a career spanning about 30 years, The Undertaker has been with WWE for a long time. He made a name for himself by being portrayed as an immortal Reaper of Souls, who gets up even after he gets buried and suffers life-threatening injuries. But how did the legend of The Undertaker come to be? Read on to find out.
While his “American Badass” persona got pretty popular with fans as well, what really made him stand out was his The Deadman character. The Legend of The Undertaker began in 1990 at WWE’s Survivor Series where he debuted as the half-human half-vampire character. The gimmick got so popular that he has played the role for almost 30 years in the company. Now, the question arises, how was the iconic character created?
The Undertaker on Joe Rogan’s podcast
Mark Calaway, aka The Undertaker, appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where he opened up about how his character came to be. According to Mark, he was initially signed to another company called WCW. One day when he went there to renegotiate his contract, they laid him off saying that no one would pay to watch him wrestle. After that, due to some connections to some people in WWF(now WWE), he got a chance to showcase his skills in front of Vince McMahon.
Mark said that he had a match coming up, but he had a hip injury due to which he could not give it his all. He said that Vince wasn’t really impressed with him at first, but Paul Heyman and Bruce Prichard who were also watching, believed in him. They tried to get him a meeting with Vince McMahon. Mark finally got a chance for the meeting and had to go to McMahon’s house for the said meeting.
“We’re sitting in his living room and he goes, ‘Well Mark you got any hidden talents?’ Well you know I can sing in the shower and I’m like ‘Oh f**k I shouldn’t have said’… And he’s got the look right, he can read people”, Mark says. “At the end of the meeting, he goes ‘Well I don’t have anything for you right now. We do a pay-per-view around Thanksgiving, it’s called Survivor Series.”
Mark then said that one day he was sitting at home when his phone rang. He answered and heard someone say, “Is this the Undertaker?”. He was confused at first but then later realized that it was Vince. This was how Vince McMahon introduced the character to Mark Calaway.
The Undertaker’s debut in WWF
The Undertaker made his in-ring debut in 1990 at Survivor Series as the mystery partner for Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. He eliminated both Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes before being counted out.
He quickly rose to fame after his first appearance creating a huge impression on fans. Kids were terrified of The Undertaker, as he made his slow walk to the ring in a scary black costume. No matter how much his opponents tried to put him down, hitting him with punches, slaps, chairs, or at some point even burying him alive, it had no effect on The Deadman who always came back.
Mark Calaway was so dedicated to his The Undertaker persona that he never appeared outside of WWE. Even if he did, he always dressed in black to keep the mystique outside of WWE as well. Kids and even some adults at that time believed his gimmick.
The Undertaker has been with WWE for 30 years, and even for once he never thought about leaving WWE. According to Mark, Vince McMahon was the one who gave him the opportunity to be a WWE Legend. So in return, he gave his loyalty to McMahon.