On a recent episode of the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard Podcast, Bruce Prichard, WWE’s Senior Vice President and Executive Director of RAW and SmackDown, covered WWE SummerSlam 1990.
Held at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, the PPV saw several high-profile matches such as Randy Savage versus Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan versus Earthquake, and The Ultimate Warrior versus Rick Rude in a steel cage match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Although The Undertaker made his WWF on-screen debut at Survivor Series three months later, Prichard revealed that Mark Calaway was originally scheduled to meet with Vince McMahon in July 1990, immediately after WCW’s Great American Bash PPV.
“We had a meeting scheduled for some point in July, around the Great American Bash when Undertaker faced Lex Luger [for the NWA United States Championship]. Undertaker had a dislocated hip but worked through the match somehow.
“The very next day, Vince was supposed to meet Undertaker but the meeting never took place,” Prichard recalls.
According to Prichard, McMahon “did not see anything special” in The Undertaker and was hesitant to bring Calaway over from WCW.
“The meeting never happened because Vince looked at Undertaker and thought, ‘He’s just another tall basketball player with red hair.’ Vince did not see anything special in him.”
Prichard admittedly “begged” Vince to meet with Calaway when WWF visited Meadowlands in New Jersey for a house show.
“When [WWF] was doing a show in Meadowlands, I offered to bring Undertaker over there for a meeting with Vince. I told Vince, ‘Look, I’ll get this guy over. Please just meet with him.’ I did not know Mark either, but I was a big fan of his work. Also, in my head, I had an idea as to what I wanted to do with him. I was thinking, ‘this is the talent that can pull off that idea.'”
Nearly 30 years later, it’s obvious that Prichard’s instincts were proven right.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.