Some characters in the world of pro wrestling exude an aura that speaks volumes about their persona before they even pick up the microphone. There is perhaps no more apropos example of this than The Undertaker.
From the moment you hear the gong that signifies “The Phenom” cometh, fans and performers alike know that a special moment is on the horizon. Throughout the years, The Undertaker character has always kept an aura about him that put him in a different plateau and then whomever he was sharing the WWE roster with at the time.
From the Funeral Parlor talk show in 1991 to the endless amount of awe-inspiring WrestleMania entrances that followed in the decades afterward, The Undertaker, through his perfected idiosyncrasies, encapsulated what it meant to be a “sports entertainer.”
Speaking with the Toronto Sun, Mark Calaway, the man behind The Undertaker character spoke candidly about crafting the all right of the Undertaker and shifting it throughout the years to fit every evolving landscape.
“That’s what sets the whole table, really. You have this macabre, morbid-type character so the entrance is what kind of gets the imagination … it’s what kicks it in. It’s such a slow, methodical walk, the smoke and the fire and the music, it was so different from what everyone else was doing,” he said. “That’s the same way I approached my interviews and everything. Most of the interviews (at the time) were ‘Well, let me tell you something, brother!’ Where I didn’t talk often. Paul Bearer did most of the talking, but when I did say something, I talked low and slow and it was like ‘whoa.’”
He continued, “When somebody talks low, what do you do? You kind of lean in. You garner people’s attention that way. The entrance, obviously, that’s the setup to the match, and a lot of times the entrance was more important than the actual match that I was in. Obviously I’ve had matches that really stand out and people remember, but the entrance is what people are so mesmerized by.”
Mark Calaway is continuing to pull back the curtain on The Undertaker character in the new WWE Network documentary series, Undertaker: The Last Ride. The first three episodes are available for on-demand viewing now on the WWE Network.