The Undertaker stopped by on the After The Bell podcast as part of his promotion for his WWE Network documentary, The Last Ride. The Undertaker remarked how Big Show has grown as both a wrestler and as a person compared to how he was when he first entered WWE from WCW.
“He has not only as a performer but as a human being. I love him to death,” Undertaker said. “I really do, and I consider him one of my close friends now, but he came in riding off that big WCW hype train. So when he first came in, he thought he was the s–t and treated people like they were less than him, and I don’t tolerate that. He had to understand one, what he was. It was a gift, and the way he tried to work initially was just wrong because he had a gift. His size was his gift, and the fact that he was so athletic.
“He wanted to be able to do all these things, and for me, watching it just didn’t work because it took away all the things that made him special. It took away. It made him like everybody else. It took me forever to get him to realize that you are a giant. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you need to do something, and now we’re back in the context of a wrestling match. And it took me forever to get him to realize that he was a giant. His heart was in a good place because he wanted to work. He wanted to show people how athletic he was.
“He devalued himself, and then on the on the human being aspect, it took a while for him to realize that because we are the talent doesn’t make us any better than whoever’s pulling the cables or whoever you know is setting up. There were a few instances where he treated some people pretty bad, and he got the crooked finger pointed at him quite a bit. I didn’t do it because I was trying to be mean to him. I was trying to help him reach his full potential not only as a performer but as a human being. Not that it was necessarily my role to but I knew there was a lot there, and I wanted him to excel on all levels.”
Graves wanted to do something different with The Undertaker as he has been on many media outlets, so he played a word association game with The Undertaker. One name that got The Undertaker slightly emotional was WWE Hall of Famer Yokozuna. He called his time with Yokozuna “one of my most favorite times in the business.”
“Man, he was so awesome,” Undertaker emotionally said. “I’ll tell you a quick story. Business was down, and we were kind of on top. We were trying to hold everything together. Probably one of my most favorite times in the business because we were working against each other, and our crew was so tight knit out of the arena together. We had really good times. That’s about as far as I can elaborate on that.”
The Undertaker talked about watching Yokozuna in the ring for the first time with Vince McMahon. He was so impressed by Yokozuna that he tried to convince McMahon to be Yokozuna’s first opponent, but McMahon had plans for Undertaker to face Giant Gonzalez at WrestleMania whereas Yokozuna went on to face Lex Luger.
“We had really good times that I remember, and sometimes a memory will pop into my my head in that time period, just makes me smile,” Undertaker remarked. “Yoko, I’ll never forget when he first came in. I’d seen him in Japan, working in Japan, and I’d heard he was coming in. And he was doing a dark match. I think it was Baltimore. So I wanted to go out and watch his dark match, not a tryout match but before the show started. He was working with this guy, and Vince just happened to be standing there, so I came up. So Vince and I are kind of peeking through the curtain watching him work, and man, at 450 lbs, the guy moved like a cat. The way he could move, the way he could work, there’s no way a human being in that size could move and work the way he could. I mean he’s throwing these spot kicks and just I mean just smooth as silk.
“So I’m standing there and looking through the curtain, pull my head out and I said, ‘Vince please. I’m begging you’ because I had a few stinkers in a row. I said, ‘please. Please let me work with him first.’ I got the traditional Vince. (Undertaker does Vince laugh and impression) ‘Oh, you’ll work with him, but I’ve got something else in mind for you right now,’ and I kid you not, just so happens coming down the hall from the far end of the of the stage comes Giant Gonzalez. He goes, ‘that’s what I got in store for you.’ That’s another one of the reasons I left WCW. They wanted me to work with him, and then he follows me here. I was like, please. So anyway, as it worked out Lex got Yoko first, and I got Giant Gonzalez and the rest is history.”
The Undertaker told another Yokozuna story from later in Yokozuna’s career. They were working a match at the Cow Palace, and he tells a story where he and Yokozuna were joking around with each other in the ring that ended up with Yokozuna sitting on The Undertaker’s chest after a Bonsai Drop.
“Yoko’s obviously Samoan, and there was a very very large Samoan contingency in the audience,” Undertaker explained. “So we’re working. I’m the babyface, but all of a sudden, you hear from the rafters [Samoan chant]. Yoko would get all fired up and start just kicking the crap out of me. So he would hit me right. So if I was in one corner, he hit me. I would sell completely as far away from me and I make him chase me, and he hit me. His voice didn’t match him, but I could hear him going, (Undertaker does a Yokozuna impression) ‘Marcus. Marcus. You better sit still Marcus.’ I was like, ‘come on Yoko.’ He’d hit me man, and he’d be gassed. He’d be blown up, and then it got to the end of the night.
“So he sets me up for the Bonsai drop. So he hits me with the Bonsai drop, and there’s two ways he could do it. One, he stayed on his feet and the other one where he kicked his heels out. So he kicks his heels out. So he’s sitting on my chest, and he’s like, ‘you still want to play Marcus? Do you want to play?’ I was like, ‘Yoko, please get off of me.’ He sat there. Finally he got off of me, and I just like, ‘oh my God. What have I got myself into?
“Yeah, I mean we had such good times together. I loved working with him. Just ribbing each other. Just man, a dear dear friend I really miss.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.