Recently on Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, professional wrestling personality and podcaster Bruce Prichard got in depth about the 1994 Undertaker versus Undertaker storyline that was paid off at SummerSlam (1994).
According to Prichard, he came up with the so-called 'Underfaker' storyline as a means of reintroducing The Undertaker after being off WWE programming since Royal Rumble (1994) where 'The Grim Reaper' lost a casket match to Yokozuna and seemingly went to heaven. In reality, The Undertaker was given time off to heal a back injury and spend time with his young family.
"With The Undertaker being out for a while, the discussion becomes, 'how do we bring Undertaker back? What do we do? Who's the opponent? Who's the right guy for The Undertaker to come back?' Now, the natural thing to do is something with Yokozuna, but weren't necessarily ready for that just yet and the discussion was, 'who do we have ready for The Undertaker?' And somebody may have made the comment along the lines of, 'well, it would be nice if we had another Undertaker-type character to face The Undertaker.' Prichard continued, "and I start laughing and I say, 'what if we had The Undertaker?' [In McMahon's voice] 'What do you mean?' [Prichard replied] 'We make another Undertaker.'"
Prichard indicated that he suggested Brian Lee for the role of the fake Undertaker, as the two were "good friends" (and definitely not cousins to Prichard's knowledge) and Prichard had seen firsthand how people mistook Lee for The Undertaker.
"Brian Lee and Undertaker were good friends and I had recently been around Brian and people had mistaken Brian for The Undertaker when we were out because they both had the same hair, the same beard."
In addition to having a "tattoo expert" and WWE Hall Of Famer Jerry 'The King' Lawler work on imitation Undertaker tattoos for Lee, WWE officials brought both Lee and The Undertaker to Titan Tower to work on Lee's 'Underfaker' mannerisms.
"We had a tattoo expert come in. We had tattoos put on Brian Lee's arm, the exact same tattoos as The Undertaker. As a matter of fact, Jerry Lawler sat at the makeup station with Brian Lee and drew and put color in the tattoos because we didn't think the tattoo artist didn't do a good job putting on the temporary tattoos. They didn't look good enough and Lawler sat there and he said, 'I can fix that.' Lawler sat there with a pen and put tattoos on Brian Lee's arms." Prichard recalled, "we had Brian Lee come to the studio and get in the ring and work with Undertaker, get his mannerisms down pat, as close as we could."
On the subject of tattoos, Prichard claimed that he told The Undertaker that he ruined his pro wrestling career when he got his first tattoo.
"When Undertaker got his first tattoo, I told him, 'dude, you probably just ruined your career right there. Why would you do that? Whatever you do, don't get any more tattoos!' That was my advice to him in Binghamton, New York. I'll never forget it. You can tell he listened to me." Prichard continued, "it was a tattoo of himself with the skull and crossbones and everything, and I thought, 'now, you can't do anything else if this Undertaker gimmick doesn't work out for you, kid. You're now branded with this f--king tattoo. What are you thinking you big, dumb, redheaded son of a b---h?' Yeah, needless to say he didn't take my advice and I think I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think it worked out alright for him. Everything worked out okay."
Prichard acknowledged that The Undertaker vs. Undertaker SummerSlam match was not very good partly because the impressive Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart steel cage match for the WWE Championship went long and The Undertakers did not get time to tell their story.
"The match, because Bret Hart and Owen Hart had a cage match earlier in the show that went 20 minutes heavy, so, all of a sudden, you have a match at the very end of the night with Undertaker and a guy that is nervous as s--t, who in his mind is auditioning for a job and that's Brian Lee, who have their match now condensed into 10 or 12 minutes, whatever it was."
Prichard said, "the match was horrible. The match was horrible, but the match had its limitations and they had to chop a whole lot of it out they had [planned]. The match was one of those that had to be laid out and tell a long story and much longer than what it lasted going out there and Brian probably was lost because what they had planned and what they had worked out. Prior to that, they were just ad-libbing trying to get through it and not have a finish take place when we're off the air. But we had to get the damn thing done. We didn't have a network at the time. We couldn't go over. We had to be done by 10:55 at night. So yeah, it sucked. It wasn't great, but I'll stand by it. Hey, it was my story. If you didn't like it, great, you didn't like it. It wasn't everybody's cup of tea."
Prichard shared that The Undertaker had words with Bret for his match going long and that while 'The Conscience Of The WWE' was hot, the conversation was not heated.
"Pretty f--king hot. He was hot. No, he was f--king hot. Nobody was there for the confrontation because no one wanted to be there, but Taker did go and talk to Bret just to let him know, hey, he wasn't happy with it. I mean, I don't know. It wasn't heated. Taker's not that kind of a guy, but he did have a conversation with him that night. And, no, no one was there, so there's no witness. The only people that know what happened in that are Undertaker and Bret."
Pronouns, pal. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.