The Undertaker spoke to fans in India live for the first time ever on Wednesday, in a digital event put together by Sony Sports India. The event was hosted to promote Taker’s 30th anniversary and “Final Farewell” at WWE Survivor Series. Vipin Raghuwanshi of ITN Wrestling has provided highlights from Taker’s chat with fans.
Taker was asked a few questions by Indian movie star Rana Daggubati, who commented on how Taker has been an inspiration since childhood. Rana asked Taker about how he got into his role and transitioned from Mark Calway to The Undertaker. Taker noted that he liked the character a lot when WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon first presented it to him.
“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,” Taker recalled. “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 what The Undertaker is about, what 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 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 like it.”
Rana then asked about Taker’s iconic entrance and asked about the process Taker went through each time. Taker noted that a lot depended on the ongoing storyline he had at the time, but the general theme of the entrance was one of death and gloom.
“Some of this is based on the actual angles and storylines I may be in,” Taker said of his entrance. “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 to the ring.”
Rana also told Taker how his favorite character was The American Badass. Taker talked about how it became important for him to change the character to freshen himself up in the storylines. Taker said he knew he needed to make a change to compete with promo-strong Superstars like WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and others. He said he always knew he was going back to the original gimmick.
“It was extreme initially. The first time out was extremely nerve-wracking because I didn’t know how my audiences are gonna react to it,” Taker said of The American Badass debut. “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, The 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.”
Taker was later asked about how he kept going for 30 years. He noted that interacting with the WWE fans across the world kept him motivated to keep himself relevant for the fans.
“It’s hard to imagine that 30 years have already come and gone,” Taker said of his career. “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 if he has anything left to achieve in WWE and any future ambitions he might have, Taker said he does not want to tarnish his image and disappoint fans by not performing at a certain level that is expected of him. Taker said he has exceeded all of his personal goals in the business. He also noted that his new goals are related to helping the next generations of WWE Superstars.
“I think, the legacy is there and I want that legacy to not be tarnished,” Taker said. “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.”