Corey Graves had The Undertaker on as a guest on a recent episode of the After The Bell podcast where he dove into The Undertaker’s legendary career. With 30 years in the wrestling business, Graves asked if there was ever a moment or situation that The Undertaker wished could have been different.
“No, there’s a few things that I did that I kind of wish I hadn’t done. I don’t remember what year it was, but it was in The Garden,” Undertaker recalled. “I was working with Mankind, and I came in from the ceiling with kind of bat wings. I kind of regretted that one after the fact.
“It was just a little too hokey for where I wanted that character to be, but that was my idea. I have to take full responsibility for it. It didn’t work. For the most part, there’s not a whole lot. [I] had pretty good idea of where that character should be most of the time minus the giant bat fleeing from The Garden.”
Graves also asked if there were any opponents that stood out for The Undertaker. The Undertaker talked about wrestling the Ultimate Warrior and how his character’s wrestling style clashed with the Warrior’s wrestling style.
“The character was a monster. I didn’t sell that much,” Undertaker noted. “I remember one night Ultimate Warrior, he’d been beating on me and pounding on me and just everything. [He’d] knock me down. I’m sitting back up. I’m coming back up. Finally he goes, and I thought I was but evidently I wasn’t, he goes, ‘Mark, are you going to sell anything tonight?’ It’s like OK, Jim. Here we go. Alright, let’s do this. Let’s let’s try that.
“I blew guys up early on. It’s what made sense. Eventually, you were gonna get me down, and we would work and it would it come about, but it was a process to say the least to get that character compromised.”
Graves recalled a story that The Undertaker and Triple H shared about The Great Khali. The Undertaker shared more details about the story from a European tour where he managed to trip Khali with only a slight grip on his heel.
“I still to this day don’t understand how it happened,” Undertaker remarked. “So when we were on tour in Europe or overseas, a lot of times you would put your top guys in like six-man tags and stuff. [It was] preservation really instead of each night each guy having to go out and have a singles match. It’s smart booking. One because you don’t ever see this group of guys together, working together.
“Anyway, I want to say it was me, Triple H and maybe Batista. I don’t know who the third on our side was, I think it was Fit Finlay, Khali and maybe MVP. I’m not positive on all the players. So anyway, I’m in the ring with Khali, and he gives me the big chop on the head. Down I go, and so somebody in our corner said something to Khali, so he moves into their corner. He stood in the corner for a while, and he starts backing up. He’s backing right up into me.
“All I wanted to do was to just reach out and remind him that I was back there, and I kid you not. All I did was take my fingers like that and I squeezed his hell just to let him know so he didn’t step on me so he wouldn’t trip. So I squeezed his heel, and all of a sudden, it was like a redwood getting chopped down. He fell like a giant pine tree. I look over to my corner, and everybody’s on the top rope like covered up just laughing their a– off. And I’m standing in the ring just looking at my hand like, ‘wow, how come I didn’t discover that years ago? I couldn’t figure it out, but he fell, just completely fell, and I was just like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.'”
The Undertaker shared praise for John Cena. He noted that Cena has gotten a lot of love and hate from fans keeping him on top of WWE for an extended amount of time. He also revealed that he told Cena to slow down on his media and work schedule in fear of burnout.
“I tell you what, when John came out early on, I would have never thought in a million years that he would get over to the extent that he did, and pleasantly, I mean just pleasantly surprised how over John got,” Undertaker said. “I mean he was over over. There’s that next level over that he was whether good or bad. That was another thing. I’ve never seen anyone last as long as he did with such a polarizing opposite love-hate. Normally, it’s one way or the other. I’d never seen one guy come out one night and get booed out of the building. The next night get a 10-minute standing ovation. It was just crazy.
“I can’t name anybody else really that’s ever gotten that kind of polarizing fan reaction. Usually OK, we’re going to go this way with this character and we’re gonna make him this and we’re going to make him that, and John did John. That was a great thing. John did John, and it came off so good. He put his time in. Man, I know John is a super overachiever, just his work ethic, second to none. I mean his media schedule on top of his work schedule. It was outrageous. I’ve actually told him that one time. I said, ‘John, for your sake, you need to learn the word no because.’ I mean he did everything. He never did. He proved me wrong, but I just said, ‘man, you’re going to burn yourself out.’ He’s amazing.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.