Even Vince McMahon is allowed to be wrong every now and again, but it is safe to say that his first impression of Mark Calaway, The Undertaker, was well off the mark.
Vince McMahon has gone on record multiple times stating that The Undertaker is his favorite WWE Superstar of all time. However, in July 1990, 4 months before The Undertaker's debut, all Vince McMahon could see in Mark Calaway was a basketball player with no special qualities.
Long before they would grow to have the bond that they do today, Undertaker started out like all superstars, hoping for a meeting with Vince McMahon in an effort to catch a break.
On the latest episode of his Something to Wrestle podcast, WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard opened up about Vince McMahon actually refusing to meet with Mark Calaway in July 1990, one day after Mark had wrestled Lex Luger at the WCW Great American Bash on pay-per-view.
"'Taker had a dislocated hip, but he worked the match anyway because the next day he was supposed to meet with Vince. That didn't happen and it didn't happen because Vince looked at The Undertaker and thought, 'ah, he's just another tall basketball player with red hair, I don't see anything special in him.',” recalled Bruce.
Prichard would continue to pursue Mark Calaway, noting that his Great American Bash opponent didn't help his situation.
“First of all, he's working with Luger. So, come on, that's like working with a broomstick that doesn't have any bristles and is nailed to the floor,” said a candid Prichard. “That meeting was canceled and I begged Vince to please meet with Mark Calaway because they were in a show in the [New Jersey-based] Meadowlands, I believe, and I offered to get The Undertaker there. I said, 'look, I'll get this guy there, just meet him.' I didn't know him. I mean, I didn't know him from Adam. But I'd spoken to Mark and I was a big fan of Mark's work, plus in my head, I had an idea as to what to do with him. So I had an idea, and that was the talent, in my head, that could pull off that idea.”
Undertaker would go on to debut alongside Bruce Prichard (Brother Love) at the 1990 WWE Survivor Series event and even though Prichard would not last long at the side of The Undertaker, the 30-year career that would follow that character’s debut is more than enough proof that Mark Calaway could, in fact, "pull off that idea."
If you use any of the transcribed quotes above, please credit Fightful by linking back to this article.