That includes doing things once considered taboo. This past weekend The Undertaker made an appearance at College GameDay. Not one to normally go in front of the camera outside of a WWE event, it was a different look at the multi-time WWE Champion.
Triple H, a man who has had a deep history with The Undertaker, spoke to Sports Illustrated regarding his appearance. Understanding that it is important to be represented everywhere, the EVP of Talent, Live Events and Creative brought up how WWE and The Undertaker can be intertwined with life outside of pro wrestling.
"There are certain people that transcend their industry and become cultural icons, and The Undertaker transcends the WWE," Triple H stated. "This was Vince's vision at WrestleMania I: the integration of pop culture. So this was an opportunity for us to reach out to new fans, to reach out to lax fans, to reach out to everybody and create that buzz about what we do."
In front of millions of ESPN viewers, The Undertaker almost presented himself as The American Badass, a gimmick he used in the early 2000's. Using both his personal and spiritual persona, Undertaker's presence is iconic in its own right. While he wasn't at Friday's rehearsal of GameDay according to SI's Justin Barrasso, the impact of having him on the show made up for it. It is another case of WWE talent showcasing who they are outside of the ring, as seen with Becky Lynch's SportsCenter commercials. According to Triple H, the interest in pro wrestling outside of its comfort zone is extremely important and valuable.
"WWE has crossover appeal. Whether you're a fan or not, people all over the globe know who The Undertaker is," Triple H continued. "So whether it's Undertaker on College GameDay or Becky Lynch on SportsCenter, talent appearing on Fallon or throwing first pitches at baseball games, our talent are integrated into every walk of life. That's an opportunity to platform WWE to people and being relevant on a day-to-day basis in pop culture."
Over the years, WWE has managed to make its way to the major sports world. Daniel Bryan's "Yes" chant is seen used in baseball, college sports and hockey, while Ric Flair's walk and woo is legendary. As major stars of the Attitude Era, Triple H and The Undertaker know a thing or two about exposure. For WWE talent, that is something you could really appreciate when done right.
"The 'Attitude Era' changed the way people spoke and trash-talked one another," Triple H went on to say. "We'd see NFL players do the DX crotch chop when they'd score a touchdown, or raise their eyebrow and laying the smack down, Austin's 'Oh hell yeah!', so much of that crossed over, like Cena's 'You Can't See Me,' too. That extends well beyond our business, and for our talent, that's when you truly know you're getting to the place you want to be in this industry."
Besides giving his picks for GameDay, Undertaker discussed last Saturday's UFC 242 and the main event of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier. A huge MMA fan, Undertaker gave his thoughts on the bout. While Khabib beat him via submission, The Undertaker thought "The Diamond" had a chance. He also compared Khabib, the UFC Lightweight Champion, to another pro wrestling legend.
"I'm pulling for Poirier, but I tell you what: Khabib is a beast," The Undertaker stated. "If Poirier can stay at distance, stay on his feet, avoid that takedown he's a got a chance. Otherwise, Khabib is like Ric Flair; he's the man. Until you beat the man... he's an animal."