The legendary Undertaker was recently interviewed by Sports Illustrated to talk all things pro wrestling. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
His first career match being against Bruiser Brody:
That was my first match for a real wrestling company. I’d done some outlaw stuff, which people might have later called backyard wrestling, so I’d had a few matches, but this was my first real match in a real company. And it was with Bruiser Brody. Boy did I learn a lot. Brody had this bigger-than-life persona. He was this big, tough guy, but I remember standing in the ring and looking at him, thinking, ‘Woah, I’m bigger than he is.’ I’m nervous, this is my first real professional match, and I got a little carried away.
My shove ended up with my hand in Brody’s face,” recalled Calaway. “I remember him saying, ‘Alright kid, calm down.’ Then we locked up again in the middle of the ring, he grabbed me in an arm bar, I backed him up into the ropes and shot him off, then I called for a clothesline. I went for the clothesline, and next thing I knew, there was Brody’s big furry boot in my face. And it went downhill from there.
WCW telling him he wasn’t a draw:
People laugh when they hear this now.I went into my meeting with WCW focused on renegotiating my contract. Jim Herd, who was running WCW at the time, was there, as was Ole Anderson, the booker, and Jim Barnett. I’d only been there for just under a year, and I was only looking for a little bump in my contract. I got looked straight in the eyes and heard, ‘Mark, you’re a great athlete, but no one is ever going to pay money to see you wrestle.
Reveals that Paul Heyman helped get his career started in WWE, calls himself OG Paul Heyman guys:
For someone that’s been in the business as long as I have, I’m still last to the party for a lot of things. “Being a ‘Paul Heyman Guy,’ I’d heard that for years but never thought much about it. One day I realized, ‘Well shoot, I’m a Paul Heyman Guy. First I was with Danny Spivey in WCW and we were the Skyscrapers, and Teddy Long was our manager. Danny left, and it was just me. That’s when they brought Paul into the company and put him with me. We traveled together and made all the towns together, and Paul really came to be a beneficial part of my career. Paul was friends with Bruce Prichard, and those two opened up a line of conversation about coming to the WWE.
Paul played a pivotal part in keeping the lines of communication open with WWE. Paul was talking to Bruce Prichard, and Bruce was talking to Vince. Paul pushed Bruce, and I finally got that meeting with Vince. So hindsight being 20/20, I am one of the original ‘Paul Heyman Guys.