The Undertaker Told Joe Rogan the Interesting Story Behind How Vince McMahon Created His Legendary Character
Mark Calaway, better known as The Undertaker, recently announced that he would be retiring from the WWE. He had one of the most successful careers in wrestling history, with a tenure spanning 30 years.
Calaway recently made an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where he explained how the Undertaker character was originally developed.
Vince McMahon wasn’t initially impressed by The Undertaker
Calaway told the story behind The Undertaker during a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. According to Calaway, WWE CEO Vince McMahon wasn’t initially impressed by him when he first saw him wrestle.
“I went out there and did what I could—I sucked,” Calaway said. “I was physically not able, really, to go the way I could go and Vince wasn’t impressed. … Fortunately, guys like Paul Heyman and Bruce Pritchard, they believed in me. And they kind of kept pushing for me to get this meeting with Vince, and finally, I did.”
The Undertaker had an unsuccessful meeting at Vince McMahon’s house
Calaway didn’t know what to expect from his big meeting with McMahon, but he had hopes that he’d land a spot on the WWF roster.
“He calls me, I got to go to his house, right?” Calaway said. “So I go to his house … I go in and I have the meeting. Meeting goes for about an hour and a half … And they really at that point had some really, really f—ing goofy characters … We’re sitting in his living room and he goes, ‘Mark, you got any hidden talents other than wrestling? Do you do anything? And I’m trying to be funny and not nervous and, ‘Well, you know, I sing in the shower pretty good.’”
Immediately after making the remark, Calaway regretted it because he assumed Vince was going to assign him some weird gimmick that involved him singing in a shower. However, after their conversation, McMahon had some bad news for Calaway.
“So I get this long meeting and at the end of the meeting he goes, ‘Well, we don’t have anything for you right now.’
Unfortunately, Calaway had already quit his gig with WCW with the expectation that McMahon would have a job waiting for him.
Vince McMahon called him and offered him the ‘Undertaker’ gimmick
After their meeting, Calaway waited around for a while to see if he would get a callback. All the while, he kept seeing a promotion involving a huge egg every time he watched the WWF. He became worried that the promotion somehow involved him, and that instead of being the wrestler that sings the shower he would be “Egg Man.”
Thankfully, his phone rang and McMahon had an entirely different gimmick ready for him.
“One day I’m sitting at home, phone rings … He goes, ‘Is this The Undertaker?’”
Calaway was immediately interested in the gimmick, feeling that anything would be cooler than “Egg Man.” McMahon never officially asked Calaway if he wanted to be The Undertaker; the phone call was his own unique way of offering the character to Calaway.
The Undertaker became one of the most popular figures in wrestling
After the phone call, Calaway met with McMahon again, who had an entire storyboard ready for him. His character was based on old western undertakers who would collect dead bodies after shootouts. Apparently, McMahon had had the character for a long time, but couldn’t find the right go to play it.
After becoming The Undertaker, Calaway went on to become one of the most popular and successful wrestlers in the history of the WWE, with a career spanning 30 years.