Former WWE superstar Michelle McCool recently spoke with the New York Post to discuss the new Undertaker special on the WWE network, and share some insight from behind the scenes of Mark Callaway. Highlights are below.
Why this was the right time for the special on Undertaker to come out:
I think it’s something that’s always intriguing to the fans because he has protected his character for so many years and as you’ll see in ‘The Last Ride’ when you get a few episodes in, you never know when your last match is going to be. It’s kind of the internal struggle of his. So he kind of wanted to pull back the curtain and let the fans get a peek to who the man behind the character is.
What she expects people to take away from the special:
I think one of things that I want people to see is his passion for the business is undeniable and people see that, but I don’t think they quite understand the capacity of not just Mark but what all of the wrestlers put their bodies through. With Mark doing this for 30-plus years at this point, having 15-plus surgeries, both of his hips replaced, I don’t think they truly understand what it takes for him to get prepared to go out and wrestle a match and he does it all for the love of the business.
Thinking that Undertaker was retired after WrestleMania 33:
I think in his mind, I think he really did. I think he thought that was it. However, I have seen and heard him say that so many times. The only thing that made me go, ‘hmm’ tonight could be a little different was he kissed me on screen. Not because he just kissed me, but because he broke that character in front of the world. He might actually be serious about it this time.
Taker being hard on himself…perfect moment to retire:
I think that’s what all the performers do. You want to go out with something you’re proud of and he’s no different. He wants to go out … he is a perfectionist. I don’t think any match will get as close to perfection as both years at WrestleMania between he and Shawn Michaels, but you can only look back and say what if or should I have ended there? The reality is he didn’t, so we can’t even look at that. But he does want to go out feeling worthy of what he put on and that’s just coming from expectations from himself. He is harder on himself. I tell him your legacy is going to live on forever and it’s not going to be tarnished by one match, one missed move, one missed step. But he wants to go out proud. He wants to go out with the closure that I gave it all I got, I put on a good show for the fans and I’m good walking away.
Thoughts on his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles:
I thought it was super cool. It’s something we haven’t even seen. That whole cinematic feel was … I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it turned out neat. I think everyone was super impressed with how it came out, including Mark and A.J. (Styles).
Revealing that she knew the streak was ending:
I did know late in that afternoon that was gonna happen. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think it needed to happen. But, Mark was fine with it. People don’t understand he’s gonna do business. He understands that business is business. Actually I remember a few years prior that WrestleMania (24) versus Edge they talked about Edge breaking the streak and it was Edge that was actually like, ‘That makes zero sense. I don’t want to do that. Why would I do that? The fans already love him. What’s it gonna do for Edge?’ It was Edge that went to bat for the streak. I know they had talked about it prior to the match with Brock, but you know it happened. It’s fine, it’s not like it’s an end-all, be-all for Mark by any stretch of the imagination.
Being scared after Taker’s match with Goldberg in Saudi Arabia:
That was really scary for me. Obviously knowing the business, as soon as I saw that I texted our doctors. I was like, ‘Is he OK?’ Because it looked bad. You’re centimeters away from doing some real damage. So I knew it was bad. Mark has literally been caught on fire, stood in a pod for 40 minutes and wrestled another 40 minutes. He’s busted up both eye sockets in matches. He normally responds with, ‘I’m good, babe, I’m good.’ So after that match when I talked to him and I think his exact words were, ‘My back is jacked up. My neck is jacked up.’ I was like for him to put that into words and verbally tell me truly how he’s feeling, it was just I couldn’t imagine the pain. So that was scary, knowing now he’s got to fly so many hours across the world and he had an appearance the next morning when he landed in the States in Boston or somewhere that he’s not gonna say no to. He does that and standing with fans for four to five hours. It was bad. It was scary. I don’t think he realized until this documentary when he saw it again just how close he was to, yeah, yeah.