The Undertaker


After 30 years of being The Undertaker, Mark Calaway is ready to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month and start a new chapter of his life — something he acknowledged this week on “Out of Character with Ryan Satin.”

For more with The Undertaker, listen to this week’s “Out of Character with Ryan Satin,” available on major podcast platforms.

The past few years have seen some big changes for Calaway.

First, the notoriously guarded pro wrestler opened up to the public in “The Last Ride,” a documentary that spanned the course of multiple years and showed the WWE icon preparing for the end of his career in a revealing manner.

It was a rare glimpse into the man behind the character and provided helpful context for understanding his motivation as things began to wind down.

The second big change was retirement.

That officially came at the ’20 Survivor Series, when Taker put his in-ring career to rest inside the WWE Thunderdome. While the ceremony looked spectacular and included a Paul Bearer hologram that would’ve been difficult to replicate in an arena, there was obviously something missing.

“When I retired, we were still in the middle of COVID,” Calaway said on this week’s first anniversary episode of the podcast. “They did an amazing production for me, but there were no fans there. There were only employees and people that I had personally invited. So that one wasn’t as difficult as what the Hall of Fame is going to be. That’s going to be interesting.”

Indeed, next month’s Hall of Fame ceremony will certainly be a new experience for the WWE icon. Following a career of keeping kayfabe alive with his gimmick (or staying in character, for you non-wrestling fans), this will be his first time speaking to the WWE Universe in person as himself, rather than the character.

“There will be times that I’m smiling, but I’m worried about the times where I will probably lose my composure a little bit,” the 54-year-old admitted.

“Everybody knows who The Undertaker is, but this’ll be a glimpse into Mark Calaway as well, and it’s crazy. I’m only starting to get used to talking like this and being open like this. It’s always been really difficult for me to carry on conversations as Mark Calaway in these kind of settings.

As an example, Undertaker pointed to a convention he once agreed to speak at and the fear it brought him, knowing he’d have to talk as himself on stage.

“It was just a few years back. One of my surgeons wanted me to speak at a convention, and I was terrified because I knew I’d have to do it as Mark Calaway. Fortunately, I couldn’t do it anyway,” he confessed. 

“I didn’t even really know who I was, other than that was my identity. The Undertaker was my identity. I could get in front of 100,000 people, and I could cut a promo for 15 minutes, and not blink or think twice about it. 

“But Mark Calaway, that’s a whole other story, ’cause I had just never done it.”

Ready for public speaking or not, Undertaker will finally talk as himself in front of the WWE Universe at the ’22 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, airing April 1 live on Peacock immediately following Friday Night SmackDown on FOX.

Additional legends set to be inducted that night include Vader and Queen Sharmell.

“I was approached a few years earlier, and they wanted to induct me then, but I didn’t have closure yet,” Undertaker said of his upcoming HOF spot. “I was still figuring I was going to work a couple more times, so I passed.

“When Vince called me this time, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good. It’s time.’ That let me know. I’m coming to grips with the fact that, obviously, the career is over, and it’s time for that next chapter.”

Ryan Satin is a WWE analyst for FOX Sports. Satin previously appeared on FS1’s “WWE Backstage” and founded Pro Wrestling Sheet, where he broke countless news stories as editor-in-chief.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button