In a recent edition of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, The Undertaker discussed having conversations about jumping to WCW, when he recalls being onto something with his character, and much more. You can read his comments below.
The Undertaker on whether he had conversations about jumping to WCW: “So, I had a couple of conversations with Kevin Nash. Kevin had already left, and I wouldn’t say they were strong runs – he was just like ‘Taker, man, they’re throwing out mad money here and you don’t do anything’ was basically his pitch. At the time, I was very frustrated with our creative. I thought our creative was way too soft, way too kid-friendly for what those guys were doing. They were really doing cutting edge stuff. So, I had a couple of conversations with Nash, but in the back of my head, I could never see myself leaving. The two reasons – obviously, I’ve already stated that WCW had told me I would never draw money. No one would ever pay money to see me wrestle. That was always in the back of my head – it’s in the back of my head right now – any time I talk about WCW, I always think about that.
“Second of all, there was Vince who gave me an opportunity. So, I’m coming off of ‘You’re never gonna draw money, no one is ever gonna pay money to see you wrestle’ and the most successful company in the world is offering me a job and giving me an opportunity to prove the world wrong. With him giving me that opportunity, that was long before I knew what kind of friendship we would develop and how close that we would become through the years – there were chances if I had wanted to go and make a really significant payday and probably still have been welcomed back later on to WWE. But it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I was gonna ride it out and I was gonna struggle with the guys that were there. I knew eventually that we would turn it around, I knew Vince would turn it around. His company was everything – that was his soul. Ted Turner and that group – it was just a way of making money or spending money or whatever they wanted to do. I knew in the long term, Vince was gonna prevail and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to struggle and I wanted to help turn the thing around, and we ended up doing it.”
On the moment he realized the potential with his character: “Back then, we didn’t have security that would get us from the back of the arenas to our cars and all that. Usually, it was just a mob scene – it really was. People were just kind of all over you. I remember walking out of a particular arena and the Nasty Boys were in front of me, and they’re just getting hammered and people are all over them. So, I’m about 10 feet behind them and they’re building me as this big, monster heel – it was like the sea of people just parted. Everybody was standing back because they didn’t know. As crazy and as silly as it sounds – these people just got out of my way and stared at me. Nobody touched me, nobody said a word to me. I knew at that point what I was doing was resonating.
“By the time I got to Survivor Series in ’91, I kind of started feeling a shift. When we did our walk-outs, and in this was in Detroit, it was about 60/40 and I was the babyface against Hogan. You talk about something that wants to throw you off your game – here you are in the ring with the golden goose who laid the golden egg, and you’re the good guy, for the most part. So, that was kind of like ‘Wow’ and it was because people were so enamored and enthralled with that character. I think everybody has a little bit of darkness in them and I think I made it OK to let it out a little bit and people started resonating with that character. It was then that I realized ‘OK, I think something special is gonna happen.’ I had no idea, obviously, that we’d be able to sustain it for 30 years, but I did think we were on the cusp of a pretty good run.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.