While The Undertaker is no longer an active wrestler, his post-wrestling career has been absolutely overloaded with interesting insights into a 30-plus year career filled with ups and downs, so much so that he literally has a one (dead) man show to detail many of these stories to the WWE faithful.
Taking part in an interview with Ariel Helwani of BT Sports to promote his forthcoming shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles around WrestleMania 39, Taker was asked about who he would place on a WWE Mount Rushmore, and the veteran performer gave an answer with a lot of insight into how he views the business.
“Do I get four?” Taker asked? “Andre, Flair, those two are easy. I mean Andre, what he meant to the business most people don’t realize what he actually meant to the business because it was before cable and all the places he had to go. Yeah, I would have loved just to have been in the ring with Andre.
“There’s so many different parameters here of, like, okay, who’s an in-ring talent, who’s this and all that. I’m just gonna go on with their, I guess their effect on the industry. So I’m gonna go, I’ll go Andre, Flair, Austin, Hogan, probably.”
When asked why he hesitated to say Hogan, Taker sort of skirted the question but not without providing some further insight into his thought process.
“You know why, it is what it is,” Taker said. “He was the golden goose, man, it doesn’t get much bigger than Austin and Hogan. I mean, their impact on the industry was, I mean, it was crazy.”
In terms of industry impact, it’s hard to argue with any of Taker’s picks, as those four men more so than almost any others – at least in the American wrestling scene – changed the way wrestling was viewed and skyrocketed its popularity to previously unseen heights.
The Undertaker comments on Vince McMahon’s shifting role in WWE.
Elsewhere in his interview with Helwani, Taker was asked about Vince McMahon’s decision to retire from WWE last summer. Though he wasn’t active with the company at the time, McMahon actually called the Hall of Famer to tell him about his decision the night before and, in an admittedly funny story, Taker actually got in a fight with his boss because it didn’t believe that it was true.
“He called me the day before he announced [his retirement] and we got into an argument because I thought he was ribbing me,” Taker said via F4w. “I said, ‘There’s no way, there is absolutely no way you’re stepping away.’
“We ended up kind of going at it a little bit. Finally, I was like ‘alright, okay.’ Sure enough, next day, Vince resigned but I knew there was no way he’d stay away.”
Asked how he feels about the current role McMahon plays, Taker noted it makes total sense that he wanted to return to navigate the company’s next television deal, because there isn’t a WWE without Vince McMahon.
“Even in this role, I think it’s going to be challenging for him. I mean, that’s his baby, man, he’s the one who created this whole thing, Taker said. “I know he wants to make sure that these TV deals and everything are done the right way and right now that’s his sole motivation but that’s Vince McMahon, I don’t know, we’ll see where it goes. A WWE without Vince is hard to imagine.
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“I would have a really hard time imagining that there wouldn’t be some kind of contingency that he has some type of control there. I don’t think even if the company was to get sold, which I don’t have any feeling one way or another whether that’s going to happen or not, but I just can’t imagine somebody coming in and buying the company and running it the same way with just the dedication to detail the way it’s run now.”
Fortunately, even with Mr. McMahon’s hands (mostly) off of the proverbial book, the company’s creative direction hasn’t missed a beat, as, in Taker’s opinion, Paul “Triple H” Levesque is the perfect man to lead the team into the future.
“He has always been a creative force even when he was just a talent,” Taker said. “I mean, he just always had great ideas and it’s the perfect position, I think, for him. I think he’s done a really, really good job and under a really difficult situation too.”
How will Mr. McMahon’s role in WWE change moving forward? Frankly, it’s impossible to know, but at this point, it’s pretty safe to say he’ll have The Undertaker in his corner no matter what.