Connect with us

Sports

As ‘undertaker: The Last Ride’ Nears Its End, Mark Calaway Talks About His Career And Future

Published

on

Undertaker: The Last Ride, the WWE Network’s five-part documentary series on the titular wrestler, takes fans on a tour through not only the career of the character of the Undertaker, but also the life of Mark Calaway, the man behind “The Dead Man.”

For three decades, Calaway has built up his character of the Undertaker into one whose mystique and legend is unmatched in the WWE. A big reason for that success has been Calaway’s penchant for keeping “kayfabe,” which in professional wrestling means presenting the performances as genuine.

Now, after all that time, Calaway, at age 55, is finally letting the fans in on who he is—and the documentary has, after just three episodes, already changed his life.

“It’s taken me a minute to get comfortable opening up. Even in the beginning I was really hesitant. It’s taken me a little while to let the guard down,” Calaway told Newsweek over the phone recently. “I still catch myself at times thinking, ‘Should I say it or not say it?’ I try to make this second nature, which has been a challenge. But I’m really happy with where we’re at and the direction that the doc is going. It’s definitely been a change for me, for sure.”

Because The Last Ride is forcing Calaway to pull back the curtain a bit, that’s precisely what he did in his talk with Newsweek. The wrestling icon talked about how his career has changed over the years, what lies ahead for him and what he thinks is missing from the ring today.

Read our conversation below, and look out for the fourth episode of The Last Ride when it premieres on Sunday, June 14. This interview has been edited for the sake of length and clarity.

Undertaker pins Shane McMahon at Extreme Rules
WWE

Throughout the documentary, you talk about that one match that would be enough for you to walk away. Would a tag match be that? What does that last match look like?

I just want a match that delivered on the build-up and the technical execution to be there, which is the hardest part at this point, because of the physical limitations that I’m at. I’m not playing on the same field as I was, but I still grade myself like I’m in 2003, 2004 and I’m not fair to myself in that aspect.

I want the big moment, the big match and to deliver, and for fans to say, “Yup, he still got it.”

It’s funny because I was just watching The Last Dance and there was a conversation between [Michael] Jordan and Ahmad Rashad in a car and I think they were going to the game. And they were talking about someone and he was like, “They’re going to have to drag me off the court.” I think they were referring to Patrick Ewing. Jordan is like, “I’m not going to be that way. I want people to think I have two or three years left in me and walk away.” I don’t want to go squeaking across the finish line, I want to go full steam ahead and people think I have more races in me.

You want to have that moment, but is it difficult with your limited schedule?

It’s not hard to get through the match. Once I say yes to doing a match at ‘Mania, you have plenty of time for the build. The biggest thing is making sure at this point of my career that I can get myself in the shape that’s needed to have this performance and then to try and figure out the timing. Those are the two hardest things. Third is getting your body conditioned for the trauma that it’s going to take.

That’s the great thing about these guys working all the time—their timing stays sharp. They’re doing it night after night after night, but when you take a year off in between, that becomes difficult. Not only are you dealing with timing, you’re dealing with another year added onto the body, and physically, over time, you can’t do things you once did. So you have to figure out a way to get there and be able to deliver without it looking like you’re not giving it 100 percent.

Your feud with Shawn Michaels and Triple H was four years building on one another. But you don’t have that history with a lot of the guys on the roster. And with your limited schedule, there doesn’t seem like there’s time to build up to that match you’re looking for.

Right, that’s why I have to be very judicious in the opponents I pick. I have to trust and have complete confidence in their ability and where they’re at in their careers, because sometimes it can just be a complete train wreck. It does complicate things when you don’t have that rapport with guys.

There’s only a few more episodes of the documentary left. What do you hope the fans get from the rest of this series?

I want them to understand my love and passion for this business, and to go out and perform for them. I want them to realize that overall, this business is difficult and I know most of our fanbase does, but to have an appreciation for what it takes. These guys do what they do year after year after year and for me specifically, I just want them to understand how I appreciate their support for all these years. And it’s that support on a lot of nights that got me through.

At the tail-end of my career, there were a lot of nights where I went from laying on a trainer’s table and [would] be immobile until it was time to go out there and the fans’ energy helped me through a lot of nights. And I want them to understand I don’t take that lightly, and it’s been one of the pleasures of my life to go out and perform for our audience.

Undertaker: The Last Ride Episode 4 premieres Sunday, June 14 after the Backlash pay-per-view on the WWE Network.

Sponsors

Advertisement

Recent Topics

Sponsors

Recent Posts

Trending