Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, whether in the Attitude Era or towards the PG Era, will always be one of the greatest rivalries ever. The two went to battle many times and entertained the WWE Universe on multiple occasions.
In an interview with CBS Sports, Shawn Michaels spoke about his early days in the WWF/E. He spoke about the first time he learned about Mark Callaway performing the Undertaker character.
“I was a lower mid-card tag team guy at the time. From the locker room scuttlebutt I was hearing, it was this unbelievably cool character. As I’ve told over the years, the biggest takeaway I can recall is everyone thinking it was very cool and a great idea.”
As impressed as everyone in the locker room was, every locker room member had one doubt in mind. The doubt was about the longevity of the character of a cold, mythical deadman.
“We all questioned what kind of longevity a character like that can have. He’s dead. He doesn’t sell. It sounded from the locker room standpoint like maybe a limited character. It seemed like he would be very cool, but it would be short lived. Which, of course, 30 years later, that’s pretty dang amusing if you ask me. But it speaks to Mark’s ability. And then seeing it, it was a hard character not to think, ‘What a cool idea.’”
While it surprised HBK that Undertaker kept the character relevant for three decades, he has commended this particular quality which helped Mark Callaway.
As the interview went on, Michaels credited the fact that Callaway lived the character to make it work. He also said this longevity would not be possible if Callaway didn’t have adaptability and the qualities to accept change.
“To transition in and out of that, and obviously getting time off between that helped a great deal, but what makes both of them work is that none of them were ever too far separated from the human being. A lot of that mirrored who he was and what he was going through in his life. When we’re younger, we’re all a little less [emotional], so to speak.
“The years passed and he got older and now he’s a dad, he’s a husband, he’s gained a truckload of wisdom being in the wrestling business for 25, 30 years with injuries and ups and downs, happiness and sorrow. You experience a lot of things and all of that and all of those emotions and that journey was lived through The Undertaker as he evolved and turned him into this person.”
The Undertaker’s final farewell takes place this Sunday, November 22nd, live on the WWE Network. Many legends will be present at the ThunderDome to pay their tributes to one of the greatest careers ever.