It’s rare Mark Calaway, aka the Undertaker, gives an interview out of character, but it is likely to become a more common occurrence at this stage in the Dead Man’s career and as he moves away from the squared circle. As we head into his Super Show-Down encounter with Triple H, Taker has spoken with Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas and covers a range of topics, including some advice for younger wrestlers…
“I am a firm believer in less is more. Especially with my character. And when I talk to young guys… they think, ‘okay, well I can do…’ and athletes today? They’re off the chart. They’re just ridiculous – how athletically talented the men and women are for that matter, but they rely – see wrestling and sports entertainment, it’s not about the moves. It really isn’t. It’s being able to evoke emotion in one facet or another. You have to either make people love you, or you have to make them hate you. Either way – and it doesn’t matter really which one. Certainly people like to be hated and certain people like to be loved.
But if you can’t bring that emotion out of your audience? You’re not gonna have them for long. And a lot of times what happens with the young guys is – they’re so athletic, they’re so gifted, they’ll do some kind of double crazy backflip off the top rope, land on somebody on the floor – and that’s what the audience takes away from it. ‘This guy does crazy stuff!’
Well, you can only see that so many times before you’re like, ‘I’ve seen that. I need something new.’ Well, that’s a double backflip full gainer onto somebody, how do I up that? And that’s the position they sometimes back themselves into, like they have to keep upping the ante. And when you up the ante like that, then you increase your potential for injuries and catastrophic injuries at that.
So characters like… The Rock and Cena and Flair, all those guys like that, they had the ability to make you love them or make you hate them. And Cena is such an anomaly because you don’t know one night to the next whether they’re gonna go ballistically crazy for him or they’re gonna boo him out of the building. He’s probably the most polarizing guy that’s come along in a long time – his fan base is crazy. But what happens is, he sells tickets. He works in front of full arenas. Same thing when Rock was there.
But that’s the key. We tell stories, we use moves – the wrestling moves to help tell the story – but it boils down to the character and being able to bring that emotion out of your crowd, out of your audience. And it’s all about love or hate. There’s a lot of guys – it takes a while to figure that part out. And then by the time they do, they’re so beat up and injured and hurt…”
Taker also makes a point about people who get into WWE thinking the business is easy and subsequently fail:
“They’re trying to emulate or be like a wrestler they watched on TV instead of being the wrestler that’s on TV.”
And what does it take to be a success? It’s very much down to the individual adapting what has been successful before them according to Calaway:
“You’ve got to figure out how to take all this information, all these different personalities and formulate your own, and that’s one of the trickier aspects of whether you’re a success or…”
You can check out the full interview below which is a very worthy listen.