The legendary Undertaker appeared on the Not Sam podcast with host Sam Roberts to talk all things pro wrestling. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
Says he thought about going to WCW when he was frustrated with WWE creative:
Yea, there was a time I was so frustrated with our creative direction. We had a bunch of really goofy characters. They (WCW) are down there doing real angles. It was common knowledge that they opened up the checkbook. I was hearing guys talking about the money they are making. You would be able to get a good check and stay at home most of the time. Those thoughts were there. But, when it got down to it, I said I can’t. Obviously I’m not the best businessman but something inside me said you can’t leave here. One, when I was there, and although the management had changed at this point, I went in to renegotiate a contract. I had been there for 8 or 9 months. My deal was coming up. I was trying to get a little bump in the money. I was on the bare minimum deal. I wasn’t looking to break the house. I went in and met with Jim Herd, Ole Anderson, and Jim Barnett. They looked at me straight in the eyes, and said you are a great athlete, but nobody will ever pay to see you wrestle. My loyalty to Vince was stronger than the short term cash I could have made if I left.
On protecting kayfabe as long as he did:
It’s been a process, especially early on. I still found myself being guarded. I wanted to start to talk and then I’m thinking, wait a minute. I don’t know if I should say that. Then I have to process that in my head and say, I wanted to do this, so let it go. I’m the last of the kayfabe guys. Protect everything at all costs. When I heard somebody talking about the inner workings of the business, I was the guy in the back pulling my hair out. Now I’m that guy. It took some time to get used to that. Obviously now, it’s starting to get easier and we are starting to scratch the different layers of who the Undertaker and Mark Calaway are and how they fit together.
On fan reaction to him lifting the veil:
Most everyone has been very positive. People have been dying for years for me to lift the veil up and see what’s going on. But then, there is always the one or two people that are like my childhood is dead.
On working with Bret Hart:
It was always about the gimmick. It really didn’t matter who was plugged in against it. It was me working the gimmick. Bret Hart didn’t want to change his style too much to cater to The Undertaker character. It was my first chance to actually work, work. Then I had to figure out if I could work the gimmick and then work a wrestling match. I had some really good matches with Bret that I am really proud of. That is when I started getting better talent. Then it went into the early Shawn Michaels stuff.