The Undertaker’s “Shoot” Promo On Vince McMahon In 1998, Explained
The Underaker and the words "shoot promo" aren't ones that normally would be associated, but in the Attitude Era The Deadman shot on Vince McMahon.
A promo is a very basic component of professional wrestling. A wrestler comes out with a microphone in hand and proceeds to talk, with the objective of raising the hype and marketing their current program to the audience so they get more invested in the ongoing storyline.
The microphone is a powerful weapon in the hands of a capable speaker. Wrestlers such as John Cena and The Rock were able to attain massive amounts of popularity purely due to fact that they were able to cut some amazing promos.
The ability to cut a decent promo is expected out of everyone, from the people on the lower end of the card but it is especially vital for those in the main-event scene as the top guys are the pillars of the company and therefore, they are expected to talk people into the building. However, every rule has an exception and the exception to this particular rule is the Undertaker.
Undertaker Got Over Despite Rarely Talking
For much of his illustrious career, Undertaker did not speak. Whenever he was in his undead persona, Mark Calaway relied on his gimmick and charisma to remain over with the fan base. But during the Attitude Era and the Ruthless Aggression eras, Calaway rode down the ramp on a motorcycle and he talked much like any other superstar.
The change in persona was a necessary evolution as the programming had shifted but once upon a time, even before the introduction of the American Badass, Mark Calaway came out to the ring all by himself and proceeded to cut a shoot promo.
Yes, the Undertaker actually has a worked shoot promo on his resume. In recent times, shoot promos have become somewhat of a norm back in 1998, the Undertaker himself cutting a shoot promo on live television was a sight to behold.
After the Over the Edge PPV in 1998, Mark Calaway walked down to the ring, minus the special effects and the elaborate entrance. Instead of his wrestling gear, he was dressed up in regular clothes and he seemed like just every other generic wrestler around.
However, upon grabbing the microphone, Calaway went on to cut one of the better promos of his entire career. Contrary to popular belief, the Hall of Famer is a pretty good mic worker. He just never needed to talk much but this time around, he had a lot to get off of his chest, in kayfabe of course.
After stating that Vince McMahon gave him the opportunity when he first arrived at the WWE, Calaway went on to tear into the boss for positing him as the bodyguard for his company, someone who kept his kingdom safe from the giants and the monsters just so his handpicked champions were safe. He then accused McMahon of not wanting the Undertaker to represent his company, hence his two short world title reigns.
Undertaker then went on to emphasize his loyalty to the business, mentioning that many of his chosen champions had left for greener pastures (WCW) but he stayed behind and unlike a certain someone, he never lost his smile and remained hopeful that his time would come.
Finally, after accusing the company of airing his dirty laundry and the history of his family for the sake of a television rating, Undertaker demanded Vince McMahon to bring “his pencil-neck geek a**” out to the ring and face “The Reaper”. He might have stumbled on a few words but the last bit of his worked shoot was incredible.
The Undertaker wanted a number-one contender match for the world title and after a bit of waiting, the owner and the main subject of his shoot, Vince McMahon, came out to respond.
In The End, Undertaker Was Given A #1 Contender’s Match
Ever the quintessential heel, McMahon ranted about getting choke slammed by the Undertaker, and of course, he took a shot at the family of the Deadman before finally giving him what he wanted, a number one contender match. He then announced that Undertaker would face Kane later on in the show before walking up the ramp, still mouthing off to the man inside the ring.
This worked shoot did a very fine job of blurring the lines between kayfabe and reality. Upon venturing far too deep into the real world, Undertaker set aside the issues of the man and brought up the issues of the character, namely, the publication of his family history and then went on to admit that Kane was his real brother and McMahon forced the two of them to fight.
As mentioned before, the Undertaker is actually a competent mic-worker, and aside from working a regular promo to good effect, he can shoot just as well.