WWE News

Details On How Triple H Joke Got Vince McMahon To Drop Undertaker Storyline

Triple H The Undertaker

Freddie Prinze Jr has revealed that a little one line joke from Triple H led to a storyline featuring The Undertaker being dropped from WWE television.

Speaking on the latest episode of his Wrestling with Freddie podcast, Freddie Prinze Jr opened up about the ill-fated debut of Hade Vansen.

After a spell in Florida Championship Wrestling, Vansen began appearing in vignettes on SmackDown in 2008. The idea being that Vansen would eventually narrow down his promos and begin to target The Undertaker. This would then set up a short feud between the pair, which The Deadman would win, before continuing on to face Edge.

Everything appeared to start off completely as planned, Vansen began working on the promos and the ideas were approved by Michael PS Hayes and Vince McMahon.

“He’s cutting these promos, and he’s doing a good job,” Prinze Jr. said. “And so we get the story approved by Freebird [Michael P.S Hayes], and then we get it approved by Vince, and we start shooting these little segments. They’re airing on television. It’s an ongoing thing, and he’s not calling out The Undertaker, but he’s sort of, speaking about The Undertaker, and you’re just waiting to figure out what the reason for it is. It can’t just be, ‘I want your spot!’ That would be stupid.

However, Freddie Prinze Jr explained that everything turned during a production meeting after the vignettes had started appearing on television. The former writer revealed that no one objected to the storyline until Triple H made a joke about Vansen looking like the man who cut his grass. The comment sent laughter around the room and Vince McMahon ordered that the story be dropped immediately.

“So we’re in the production meeting, and everyone’s putting their segments through and all this,” Freddie said. “And here comes our segment, and nobody said boo. No one said boo the last two or three weeks of TV that we got out of it. Not one agent, not Kevin Dunn, not Vince, not anybody.

“Sometimes, we had people on the RAW team dumping on SmackDown ideas. SmackDown would catch heat, and SmackDown’s sitting there like, ‘y’all re-write us the day of the show before you even read the script.’ Like no one read SmackDown. Nobody. No one. Vince read it when we were in the production meeting, that’s why our production meetings were four hours long.

“So, we’re all committed to this, or so we think. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Hunter [Triple H] says, ‘are we seriously going with this guy?’ And remember, this is not a pay-per-view match, this is not a guy who would get any sort of offense on The Undertaker. It would just be a build-up for The Undertaker to have something to do, so he could smash this guy and get rolling over to Edge.

“He says, ‘are we really going to go with this guy?’ And Vince goes, ‘What do you mean? What’s the problem?’ And he says, ‘he looks like he cuts my grass, man!’ And literally – and Vince laughed. And literally, all the air went out of the room. Everybody just went, ‘noooo.’ Like you could just feel it. Because now it’s embarrassing to the company, at least from my perspective.

“You put something on TV for three weeks, and then you remove it with no explanation? There’s no way you can do that. That doesn’t happen on any show. You could replace someone like Fresh Prince of Bel Air back in the day, all of a sudden there’s just a new mom, or on the soap operas where they’d be like, ‘the role of so-and-so is now played by Michael Barnett.’ I don’t know who Michael Barnett is.

“So I’m sitting there like, there’s no way, there’s no way, and Vince laughs, and then Hunter laughs, and then Kevin Dunn laughs. Boy, I mean, he sells for it. You would have thought that was the best joke ever. So I’m like, ‘Ah man, this is – we’re dead.’ And Vince goes, ‘alright, dump it!’”

Shortly after the storyline was dropped, Hade Vansen left WWE and the wrestling industry altogether to begin a career in acting.

H/t Wrestling Inc for the transcription.