Edge began the discussion. “On paper, does 'The Undertaker' sound like something that will go on to be undefeated at WrestleMania for like 22 years, and be the tent pole holding up the company at certain times, and kind of the measuring stick within the wrestling industry, more or less, the new Andre The Giant?” When you hear someone describe a gimmick that's essentially "supernatural funeral director," according to Edge, “it sounds like the shelf life isn’t going to be that long.”
And to hear Christian tell it, only one man could have made it work at all. “The thing is too, I honestly believe if it was on anybody but (Undertaker), it wouldn’t have worked. It would have had that shelf life, but because he personified it and he embraced it and he became The Undertaker. You just had to look at him. He had everything down, the movements, he had the entrance, and when he did his entrance, people still when they hear that gong, they stand up. It has become this revered character. He’s also one of the most revered guys in the locker room. But I don’t think it would have had much lasting power if it had been anybody but him doing it. I don’t think anybody could do the character the way that he has done it.”
Edge made a point about how there were several iterations of the Undertaker, including a dark priest version, when he led "The Ministry." And for a brief period during Edge & Christian's heyday, the early 2000s, The Undertaker was a biker for a while, and he even made that work.
“I think one of the keys to longevity in wrestling, especially if you are going to remain the same character is the fact that you have to change it sometimes," says Edge. "Otherwise, it gets stagnant. It can still be a lighter shade or a darker shade, but The Undertaker went through many different phases like that. It was the 'Ministry' Undertaker for a little while, which got even darker. Then, I think (there) just came a point where he had to switch it up. I also think that the reason it switched up is that he actually wanted to wrestle more because, as The Undertaker in the first kind of incarnation of it, the character kind of pigeonholed how much he could actually wrestle and he’s a guy who can really work. While he was working the gimmick initially, you couldn’t go out and have the type of matches he could actually have, so I think ‘The American Bad Ass’ was a way to segue into being able to get in there with Kurt Angle and have amazing matches, technical matches too. ...You had to have that segue to have The Undertaker that we have now.”
You can listen to the entire podcast at this link.