WWE Hall of Famer The Undertaker explains how nerve-racking it was for him to deliver his HOF speech as Mark Calaway and not his in-ring character.
For three decades, The Undertaker has been the true face of fear in the WWE. His epic entrance had made most men tremble in their boots. Apart from cucumbers, there are very few things that give the phenom a scare. Taker recently recalled the moment he was nervous to appear in front of the WWE crowd. Speaking with Peter Rosenberg on A&E, The Deadman explained how apprehensive he was about delivering his Hall of Fame speech as Mark Calaway and not “The Undertaker”.
“Yeah, absolutely it was. Through the last couple of years, The Last Ride, and everything, I’ve done quite a lot of media now. Pretty much all of it was done through Zoom and done different ways. This would be the first time that I was in front of a WWE audience and not be The Undertaker. It was a little nerve-racking. That coupled with the fact that I was going to re-invent the wheel as far as the speech went. It was possibly the most nervous I’ve been in in a long time, for those two reasons.” Said Taker.
The UT’s character is well known for instilling fear into the hearts of men for years. As entertainers, the characters pro wrestlers play rub off on them in real life so much that it becomes their second nature.
Every wrestler is playing a role and telling a story with his/her body. To break character on-screen is a rarity. Moreover, breaking kayfabe is highly unacceptable as per the norms of the WWE.
Being a consummate professional in the ring, The Undertaker has always been seen staying in character on-screen, and to suppress the Phenom character during his speech was not easy.
Taker further explained how he fought his instincts to exude himself as Mark Calaway.
“Fighting instincts to be The Undertaker and let Mark Calaway come through. We got through it.”
The real reason for The Undertaker’s complete retirement from pro wrestling
At 57, the Hall of Famer had arrived at a juncture in his career with nothing left to prove. Although sometimes other wrestlers appear sporadically even after their retirement to entertain the fans, it is highly unlikely that The Undertaker will ever lace up his boots again for one more match. In his documentary “The Last Ride”, Taker clearly stated that he will never return to the ring as a performer and put his body on the line.
Having faced multiple injuries throughout his career, his hip replacement was the last nail in the coffin that led him to opt-out.
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