The Undertaker is these days considered one of the most legendary characters in the history of professional wrestling, evolving over his 25 years with WWE into an iconic superstar. However, this gimmick could have easily never happened according to The Deadman's original manager.
On the latest episode of Ric Flair's WOOOOO! Nation, his guest Bruce Prichard, formerly Brother Love and after this a WWE producer, discussed how Vince McMahon was originally not enamored with Mark Calaway, the man behind the Undertaker.
In 1990, Paul Heyman informed Prichard that Calaway, who was performing as 'Mean' Mark Callous in WCW was available for hire. Yet, originally he did not impress McMahon, due to a poor performance at the Great American Bash PPV, where Callous battled Lex Luger.
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"Mark had a dislocated hip, but worked the match anyway because he knew that he was going to be meeting with Vince the next day," said Prichard.
He continued: "It wasn't the best match in the world and Vince didn't want to meet with him. We finally got the two together, and, as you know Mark, man, he's magnetic in and of himself and he convinced Vince that, 'hey, I'm your guy' and he took off from there."
Prichard also discussed the creation of The Undertaker's gimmick, and that whilst an entire creative department existed to design new characters, his was only created after meeting him in person. Calaway had recently been signed into film Suburban Commando, a 1991 movie starring Hulk Hogan, where his character there contained the essence of The Phenom's gimmick.
Originally, according to Prichard, Undertaker was meant to be brought in as Kane, a killer based on Jason from the Friday the 13th film series. However, the adoption and evolution of the character has been down to the man himself.
Ric Flair would respond by stating that the Undertaker character was "the greatest gimmick in the world" and that he continued to get better and better up until a couple of years ago.
With the Undertaker arguably the most enduring character in WWE's long history, it is remarkable to learn that it almost never had the chance to develop. The Deadman, who will be competing in the main event of SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar, has more respect from the crowd than any other member of the roster.
His career is worthy of its own wing in the WWE Hall of Fame, and I along with the vast majority of wrestling fans past and present will be incredibly grateful that McMahon did not turn his nose up based on first impressions.
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