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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

How did Texas’ Mark Calaway become WWE’s Undertaker

Undertaker said that he had to take inspiration from people like Michael Myers or Jason from Friday the 13th to make himself work slow but always be in the right spot at the right time.

other-sports Updated: Nov 27, 2019 11:18 IST
Yash Bhati
Yash Bhati
Hindustan Times, Delhi
The Undertaker has enthralled the WWE universe for almost three decades.
The Undertaker has enthralled the WWE universe for almost three decades.(WWE)
         

The Undertaker debuted in 1990 at WWE Survivor Series as the demonic half-human and half-vampire wrestler(as crazy as it may sound) and the character got so over with the fans that he has been wrestling inside the WWE’s squared circled for almost 30 years. He is one of the most iconic superstars in the history of professional wrestling. One thing is for sure (and this is not even for debate)- The Undertaker is the greatest gimmick in the history of pro-wrestling.

But how did a guy from Texas called Mark Calaway become one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history- sheer hard work and dedication to the character. The Undertaker was the first guest on WWE Network’s new show ‘Broken Skull Sessions’ with Stone Cold Steve Austin and he revealed how he became ‘The Phenom’.

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The Undertaker entered the WWE at Survivor Series when he was announced as the mystery partner of Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. He eliminated Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes before being counted out. But the match put The Undertaker on the map. Kids were scared of him as he made his slow, plodding walk to the ring with a black scary costume. Opponents tried to put him down, attack him with punches and slaps but that had no effect on him. He no-sold everything. Fans started believing in his gimmick and that kicked off a legendary career.

The Undertaker explained that he had to change his style of wrestling from a hard-hitting, high-flying style to a slow, methodical one otherwise he would have fizzled out in just 3 years. Taker said that he had to take inspiration from people like Michael Myers or Jason from Friday the 13th to make himself work slow but always be in the right spot at the right time.

One extremely important point that The Undertaker made to Stone Cold was the thinking that less is more and he wants it to be a lesson for the masses. It is true as The Undertaker is always an attraction for the WWE Universe. He has been a part-timer for several years now and fans eagerly anticipate his return to the ring. Whenever the gong sounds in an arena, the crowd goes wild with his entrance being a spectacle for them.

Ever since his debut in 1990 till the late 2000s, The Undertaker has carried the mystique outside the WWE also. Young fans even believed in his gimmick due to his dedication to the character as he was rarely seen making appearances outside of the WWE. Calaway explained that he lived his gimmick for several years and thinking like The Undertaker even in his personal life. He made sure that he always went out in public dressed in black while saying that he never put himself in situations where he wasn’t what he was on TV.

However, The Undertaker acknowledged that Vince McMahon played an instrumental part in his career as he gave him the chance to work on something he loved. That is why he never thought about leaving the WWE due to his loyalty to Vince.

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Taker also revealed that it was Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts who had the most inputs regarding the characterisation of his gimmick. Taker said that Roberts told him to look outside the box to find things to put the character together. Roberts said that “once the music starts, you are that character.” While Taker took that advice seriously, he took it a step further and stayed in that character outside the ring as well.

There can never be a talk about The Undertaker’s career without the mention of Paul Bearer. Taker admitted that Bearer played a big part in his career as he did most of the talking and all he had to do was say “Rest in Peace” in a low, but deep voice.

And that ‘Rest in Peace’ got so over with the fans that it still resonates with them even in 2019, almost three decades after it was first heard. The Undertaker is still a big name in professional wrestling and might even go down as the GOAT. His time inside the ring might be winding down but unlike his peers, The Undertaker continues to perform with the best of his abilities. He is a wrestler that has to savoured as he might be the last superstar to elicit extreme emotions in fans with a gimmick like the ‘Deadman’.