Throughout his three decades in WWE, The Undertaker managed to keep up an air of mystery and is often pointed to as the bastion of kayfabe in wrestling.
While the secrets of wrestling were once heavily guarded, the modern world has in some ways made kayfabe a distant memory, and speaking in a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, The Undertaker opened up about the moment he believes kayfabe died when it came to his own mystique, saying that him admitting his humanity and real name was a turning point.
“I think, yeah, I think kayfabe died for sure when I came out and started talking as Mark Calaway. I shouldn’t say that, no, you know what, because there are a few guys that are out there that are, they’re living their gimmick, and doing a really, really good job at that. And I think, obviously, we go out of our way now to let everybody know what sports entertainment is.”
“I Think There Is Room For Kayfabe Still” – The Undertaker
Continuing, The Deadman spoke about wanting fans to be able to suspend their disbelief when they watched him perform, even though his character was one of the more fantastical on the WWE roster.
“But I think, and we did that even while I was working, right. But the way I approach things and even with my character and my over the top gimmick as, you know, as The Undertaker, especially the last probably 10-15 years of my career.
“I really, the way I set my matches up and I tried to, I always tried to suspend that sense of reality. I didn’t want people thinking, like, I wanted people, when I threw a punch, I wanted people to go ooh, that’s different. Or the things that I did to make sense, even like before I do old school, which is a stretch for somebody to grab someone’s arm and to be able to walk [the top rope]. But so I would take the time to work that arm over and it hit that shoulder with the shoulder tackles and the shoulder tackles and this and that.
“I tried to have things make sense, and I always tried to get people invested and to forget everything else that we’ve told them about what sports entertainment and wrestling is, and try and let them immerse themselves into what’s going on. And that’s the way I approach things, and I think there’s some of that that is still applicable if you make the effort to do so.
“I think in large there’s just this okay, everybody, everybody’s in on it, and, you know, this is the way it is. But I think, I think there is room for kayfabe still. I just, I know everything’s evolving, and people have different perspectives on it, but that’s mine. And I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a dinosaur.”
The Undertaker was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022 during WrestleMania weekend in his homes state of Texas.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Insight with Chris Van Vliet and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.