The Undertaker is arguably the most iconic wrestler of all time. He’s been a staple of WWE for many years now, but it appears we may have seen the last of him, as his match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 is believed to have been his last.
Mark Calaway’s size, athletic ability and charisma took him to the top of the WWE, but it was The Undertaker gimmick that cemented his legacy in the business. The Undertaker character is a character that is extremely hard to pull off, and many have argued that it would not have worked had it not been given to Calaway.
The Undertaker came along during a time when WWE was trying out over the top, cartoon-like gimmicks, several of which failed. On paper The Undertaker gimmick might have sounded like a failure, but luckily it turned out to be one of wrestling’s biggest success stories.
Shane McMahon was recently a guest on the Steve Austin Show, and he talked about his relationship with The Undertaker and more. During the podcast Shane talked about the origins of the character, and he revealed that the idea came to Vince McMahon during a conversation with Percy Pringle, who became Paul Bearer before the conversation was through (via Wrestling Inc).
“It actually came through interviewing Percy because Vince [McMahon] and Pat [Patterson] specifically were talking like, ‘well, give us something. We’re thinking about different characters. Like what have you done in the past?’ And Percy said he had done a couple of other things and he had done this and he mentioned he was a mortician and all of a sudden my dad just locked in on that. He said, ‘you were a mortician? That’s it! He’s The Undertaker. You are Paul Bearer.’ And it was born. That was it.”
Shane also added that he thinks The Undertaker gimmick worked so well for Mark Calaway because it matched his temperament.
“It’s iconic. No, I don’t [think anyone else could have pulled off The Undertaker gimmick]. It also gets into Mark’s temperament as a human being. That’s who he is. He is Cool Hand Luke. He is the king of the locker room. He is that. Everything is measured and reserved. That’s how he works. His punches are thrown for a reason, not just to throw punches in bunches, but thrown for specific reasons and things like that. Moves are not wasted, so that is who he is as an individual.”
There’s a lot of talk about Undertaker possibly being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year. If he is inducted it will be poetic as WrestleMania will be returning to New Orleans which is the same city where Brock Lesnar broke Taker’s famous streak. Any talk regarding a potential induction is just speculation at this point, but one thing’s for sure, he’s earned it.