As seen above, WWE has released the first 13 minutes from The Undertaker’s “Last Ride” docuseries that premieres this Sunday on the WWE Network with Chapter 1. The first part of a five-part series will premiere at 10am ET on-demand, and then will air on the main stream after WWE Money In the Bank goes off the air. Chapter 2 will premiere on Sunday, May 17; Chapter 3 on Sunday, May 24; Chapter 4 on Sunday, June 14; Chapter 5 on Sunday, June 21.
Taker continues to do media appearances for the premiere of his WWE Network limited-series event. He spoke with ESPN and it was revealed that AEW star Chris Jericho was interviewed for the special. There’s no word yet on if Jericho’s interview was done before AEW as filming began a few years back.
Taker was asked how difficult it was to open himself up for filming. ESPN recalled how Jericho spoke in Chapter 1 about how Taker doesn’t do podcasts or interviews. Taker said it was difficult to open up, but this was his idea.
“It was pretty difficult, honestly. But it was my idea,” Taker said. “The end is near. [Laughs] I knew that I needed to document some of this stuff, because I wouldn’t have another chance to do it. Because once I finally pull the plug, I won’t have the opportunity to have footage of me behind the scenes and what I was thinking at the time. I really didn’t know what we were going to do with all of this. We didn’t start out with any thoughts. We just started filming this stuff with the thought that somewhere down the line we’d maybe do something with it. But it was extremely difficult. Even though it was my idea to have a crew start following me, it was extremely difficult for me to get used to it, to let my guard down. They would be there. They’d be filming. And then next thing you know, I’d snap at them, ‘Why are you filming me?!’ And they’d be like, ‘Because that’s what you asked us to do.’ And I was like, ‘Aw, s— you’re right.’
“I’m a notorious old-school guy. When I hear people talking about matches and this and that, I just cringe, because I’ve always protected the business. Obviously I realize that it’s the natural progression and that things have changed. I’ve changed with it, but there’s that certain aspect of it being not for everybody. That’s one reason why The Undertaker had the longevity that it did. Because all they got was The Undertaker.”
Taker was also asked if there was ever a time in his career where he was worried about the character having run its course, that things may have been pushed too far. He said what really helped him is how he did protect the gimmick.
“You run that risk. Especially when you have up to six hours of content a week on television,” Taker said. “Regardless of the character, any talent runs the risk of burning themselves out, based on that content alone. And then as all the — this is the only way I know how to say it — but all the ‘smart marks’ and all the dirt [sheets] became such an obsession, it was hard for characters to stay viable. You become a flavor of the week. I think what really helped me [stay viable] was that I did protect that character. I didn’t give them anything other than the character. You didn’t see me doing movies as something else. I had opportunities to do that other stuff, but I passed. I knew wrestling. I knew WWE. I knew Vince. That was my passion, and to this day [it still is]. I knew I couldn’t be [The Undertaker] here, and then go do something else. I don’t think people would have accepted it and stayed intrigued in the character.
“When I started feeling stale in the Attitude Era, I thought that if I didn’t change the character, I don’t think it would have lasted through that era. It was everything goes, reality based. That’s when I switched to the American Badass character. I kept some elements of The Undertaker. Kept the name. But I took the shackles off for a little while for how that character presented itself. And it worked. People accepted it, and it fit for that time period. Once I felt like it ran its course, I was able to bring [the Undertaker] right back. Now I had elements of the original Undertaker, elements of the American Badass and I was able to keep adding to the character while staying true to it. That’s what’s given it the longevity that it’s had: Adapt, but keep the core elements of it.”
Taker also commented on how he got into social media a few years ago. The interviewer compared him to a “magician who decided to start explaining the tricks” with the recent behind-the-scenes looks.
“Exactly! So it was really difficult at first to let the guard down. [For example], it took me forever to get on the social media thing,” Taker said. “A couple of years ago, I started a social media account, and I started getting things like ‘The Undertaker is on Instagram. My childhood has been ruined.’ [Laughs] That’s how protective I was of that character. So some people are really receptive to the fact that I’m opening up. Others are acting like I’ve ruined their childhood.”