Bruce Prichard recently spoke to Justin Barasso from Sports Illustrated to talk all things Undertaker in hype for the second episode of The Deadman’s documentary, Last Ride. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
On managing The Undertaker in 1990:
The original concept was a yin to the yang of Brother Love, who was this pure as snow evil character. The Undertaker was a character in my head to be that evil, that darkness. And there is a bit of a biblical theme, as the first person to ever commit murder was Cain when he murdered his brother Abel. That was why we introduced the character as Kane The Undertaker. The fact he was portrayed as this truly evil character was the perfect complement for Brother Love.
Details of Mark Calaway’s move from WCW to WWE:
Timing is everything. When Mark Calaway started out in Dallas, I used to receive tapes of his work. What initially attracted him to me was how he walked the ropes. For a big man, he was so agile and such a tremendous athlete. Mark Calaway had an intangible when he walked into the ring, that it-factor. He had a desire to improve and a true love for his performance. I watched him in Dallas and I watched him in WCW. So when WCW wasn’t doing anything with him and his contract came up, that’s when Paul Heyman gave me a call and said Mark was ready to make a move.Vince wasn’t totally enamored with him from watching him on TV. But it was that first face-to-face meeting and conversation that convinced him otherwise. The rest, as they say, is history.
Bringing in Paul Bearer:
It wasn’t fair to the package of The Undertaker. I needed to choose whether I wanted to be in the office or on the road all the time, and I chose to be in the office because I thought that’s where the longevity was for me. But talk about timing. When Paul Bearer came into the office to interview, we’d always ask people to speak a little bit about themselves and their interests. His revelation was that he was a licensed mortician. Paul fell right into our lap, and it was a perfect match. They fit each other so well, and Paul, actually as Percy Pringle, was Undertaker’s first manager in Dallas.
Especially early on, The Undertaker wouldn’t have done as well without Paul Bearer. That’s because of the interviews and the promos. Taker has become a great promo, but he wasn’t at the time.
On the Undertaker and Vince McMahon relationship:
Taker talks about this in the documentary, and it still sticks out to me, the way he would prepare for a meeting with Vince. Taker would often use me as a sounding board for whatever grievance or issue he may have had at the time, and he’d tell me he was going into Vince’s office and he was going to change this or that. He’d walk in all fired up, then walk out shaking his head. You could tell that, as soon as Vince started to speak, he’d cast a spell over Taker. Mark would end up walking out of the meeting with Vince, loving whatever idea he hated walking in.
On Undertaker and Kane being WWE’s greatest creations:
Without a doubt, he’s the greatest creation ever in WWE. Second is Kane. They had a deep, good story behind them, and both of the men that portray those characters are those characters. Mark Calaway became The Undertaker, and Glenn Jacobs became Kane. That’s how seriously they took their craft. You’d watch them and believe them. The Undertaker and Kane, both of those were beautiful matches.
His favorite Undertaker storyline:
By far, the revelation that The Undertaker had a brother named Kane. Revealing that family’s background with the fire, thinking his brother was dead, realizing he was alive, that story ended up lasting all these years. It was initially only meant to be a storyline because we needed an opponent for The Undertaker. That’s why we created Kane. But the story had so many layers that we were able to create a brand-new character that could go off and succeed on his own, yet still come back to the family story. They were great adversaries and they were great partners, and that story has lasted and endured this entire time. For me, hands down, that’s my favorite Undertaker story.