The Undertaker has gone through a lot during his time in the ring. Although most reports are his career is over he left a legacy of amazing character work and matches behind him. He might be the best big man to ever lace his boots in WWE, but he didn’t do it all with the same gimmick.
Even though Undertaker never lost his name, in the year 2000 he adopted the American Badass persona which was a motorcycle riding, leather jacket wearing, real guy… but he was still plenty dangerous. Taker was able to open up his move set a little bit as well and execute some maneuvers he wouldn’t have been able to in the previous Undertaker’s wheelhouse.
Bruce Prichard was recently asked why The Undertaker dropped The Dead Man character and put on a leather vest on a recent episode of Something To Wrestle With.
“The American Badass was just a reinvention for Taker,” Bruce Prichard replied. “It was something to get him out of The Dead Man persona and to be able to let that character grow.”
“I don’t think that Vince [McMahon] ever saw The Undertaker in its original incarnation being gone forever. But I do believe that Mark [Undertaker] saw the American Badass as the character he wanted to be. He wanted to be The Undertaker but not having to do The Dead Man walk and the signature Undertaker stuff. If that makes any sense to you.”
“Undertaker — Mark Calaway is a motorcycle riding badass son-of-a-gun. And that was The American Badass character was more true to who Mark Calaway is than I guess The Undertaker character and he liked it.”
Bruce was asked by co-host Conrad Thompson why the WWE Universe didn’t seem to attach themselves with the American Badass character like they had previously done with The Dead Man. The former Brother Love was very honest in his response as well.
“They knew The Dead Man and that’s what they wanted. They wanted their old Undertaker. They wanted The Dead Man, they wanted to head snap, they wanted the Tombstone.”
Quotes in this article thanks to Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard and Still Real To Us for the transcription