Matt Hardy has revealed that The Undertaker once shot down a pitch from a rival which would have seen them dress up as The Deadman.
In wrestling when two performers are locked in a rivalry, pretty much anything goes. It’s a mentality that has led to threats against fellow performer’s families and property, the death of a friend being used as a storytelling device, and much, much more.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is the cosplay entrance. A performer will dress up as their rival, before running through their entrance routine, often mocking their mannerisms and general appearance. It was a ploy recently used by Natalya during her rivalry with Ronda Rousey.
However, one man who wasn’t about to let that happen to him, was The Undertaker. Back in the summer of 2002, The Undertaker was engaged in a short but memorable feud with Jeff Hardy. The story came to a head on the July 1st episode of Monday Night Raw where the pair met in a Ladder Match for ‘Taker’s Undisputed Championship.
During the match, Hardy pushed the veteran all of the way before eventually being defeated, although he earned the Hall of Famer’s respect in the process.
Speaking on the Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, Matt Hardy revealed that Jeff pitched dressing up as The Deadman in the midst of the feud, but the idea was quickly shot down.
“I remember ‘Taker shot that down pretty quickly. I do remember Jeff pitching it. Jeff said, ‘What if I could come out in the old Undertaker hat, come out in the entrance, and I get down and do the pose while ‘Taker’s in the ring?’ Like mocking him to p*ss him off to try to set up this match down the road. He said, ‘No, I don’t wanna go there.’”
Hardy revealed that Undertaker said no to Jeff using his classic ‘Deadman’ look because he knew he would be going back to it one day, but for the time being wanted fans to buy into his Big Evil/American Badass gimmick.
“He said, ‘One day I’m gonna go back to that, and I don’t wanna put that out there anymore. I want that to kinda be on the backburner and I want people to forget about it,’” Matt Hardy added. “Taker was very protective of his character and of his work and of how he was utilized.”
During the conversation, Matt Hardy revealed that Undertaker was nervous heading into the match, but was “all in” on making the bout as good as possible.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the transcription.