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Shane McMahon Explains How Vince McMahon Came Up With The Undertaker's Gimmick

Posted By Caroline Walsh on 05/18/17


As previously reported, WWE’s Shane McMahon recently appeared on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast. Below are some additional highlights (transcript via WrestlingInc.com) from the show.

Shane on how Vince McMahon came up with The Undertaker gimmick: “It actually came through interviewing Percy because Vince [McMahon] and Pat [Patterson] specifically were talking like, ‘well, give us something. We’re thinking about different characters. Like what have you done in the past?’ And Percy said he had done a couple of other things and he had done this and he mentioned he was a mortician and all of a sudden my dad just locked in on that. He said, ‘you were a mortician? That’s it! He’s The Undertaker. You are Paul Bearer.’ And it was born. That was it.”

Shane on how Mark Calaway is the only one who could’ve played the character: “It’s iconic. No, I don’t [think anyone else could have pulled off The Undertaker gimmick]. It also gets into Mark’s temperament as a human being. That’s who he is. He is Cool Hand Luke. He is the king of the locker room. He is that. Everything is measured and reserved. That’s how he works. His punches are thrown for a reason, not just to throw punches in bunches, but thrown for specific reasons and things like that. Moves are not wasted, so that is who he is as an individual.”

Shane on giving The Undertaker a black eye and getting heat from Undertaker’s mother: “I got heat for that from his mom! Oh my God! I got heat from that. It happened. I did. I tatered the hell out of him. But that was the week before, the go-home WrestleMania in Brooklyn [New York] and something went awry. We were throwing hands and we were outside. I went to hit him with the monitor or something and it was stuck, so, all of a sudden, he sits up and I’m like, ‘well, he’s a big dude.’ I was like, ‘what am I going to do?’ So I panicked a little bit. I didn’t quite get my range, so I wasn’t completely looking at him and I went ‘whack!’ And I stuck it out there and I felt it. It went, ‘thunk!’ I went, ‘oh my God!’ I saw his eyes roll back into his head for a minute. He looked at me, and as soon as I saw that trickle of blood come down, I went, ‘I’m dead.’ So what do I do? I quickly get on him and whack, whack, whack. ‘I may as well get them in now and give him a couple of extra!’ Oh, he crushed me. He crushed me. In the beginning of that match with Taker, we’re doing stuff and we’re throwing hands. When we’re throwing, we already had the deal that we’re going to go. We’re starting to throw and we’re tagging. And then, one thing, he hit me and I just went into my own little world for a second, protect mechanism a little bit and then I leg-kick him. It went, ‘whack,’ and, and all of a sudden, he looked at me and he goes, ‘ouch’ and I saw it and he was hot. At some point he had grounded me and I was gassed, so I’m like, ‘let me catch my breath for a minute,’ so I’m laying in the fetal position totally relaxing because I know he’s about to go do something else. I got maybe 20 seconds to catch my breath. I’m taking big breaths in. My eyes are closed and my face’s flat on the canvas and he bear paw’s me, ‘whack!’, wide open jaw. All of a sudden, I’ve got those gold glitters when you get hit hard.”

On his entrance at WrestleMania 32: “I asked them maybe five minutes before they came out. I said, ‘do you guys want to come out with me?’ And they were like, ‘really?’ and I was like, ‘oh yeah.’ So when they came out, they just took to it like water out there. Like, I couldn’t believe it. Like, my two older boys, specifically. I was like, ‘look at these little guys!'”