The Undertaker has spent the majority of his WWE career as "The Deadman," but Mark Calaway is very much human. Undertaker's unshakeable spirit and stoicism will be tested when he takes to the podium and accepts his place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Undertaker is the marquee inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2022. "Big Evil" spent three decades terrorizing opponents and conjuring nightmares for young pro-wrestling fans. The Undertaker that fans hear from at the Hall of Fame, however, will offer a rare peek into the man behind the monster.
"I'm going to be as honest as I can, I'm going to be a nervous wreck out there because I can share stories of things that have happened from Mark Calaway's perspective, but actually, to share the things that I'm feeling, that's going to be a first for me," Undertaker told CBS Sports. "That's really going to be new. I can tell stories of things that me and Godfather did years ago and laugh about it.
"There are a few stories, some that we could actually say in public. But when you pull the curtain back and you start unravelling the emotions that come with it, it's going to be a very interesting night for sure. I don't know how well I'm going to do. When I first started doing this media over the last year or so, I got all the hate from like, 'Well, there goes my childhood. There goes my childhood.' Well, what happens when The Undertaker is a babbling, blubbering mess on stage and can't get a sentence out? You know, that'll put the nail in the casket, for sure."
Check out the full interview with The Undertaker below.
The Undertaker officially retired at Survivor Series on Nov. 22, 2020, the same event at which he made his on-air WWE debut 30 years prior. His retirement took place in a crowd-less venue at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. The Hall of Fame ceremony presents an opportunity for a proper sendoff.
"The short answer is extremely special. The long answer is it's extremely nerve-wracking. I've wrestled in front of 100,000-plus crowds [and] not bat an eye about it. I can get in front of thousands and thousands of people as The Undertaker and cut a promo on somebody. I don't think twice about it. But what's going to happen at the Hall of Fame is, yes, you're going to get a kind of a retrospective of The Undertaker and his 30-plus years with the company, but you're going to get a look behind the curtain at Mark Calaway. What all of those things that people have been so attached to for all those years, you're going to find out what those things have meant to me personally.
"The retirement was during the pandemic and it was what it was. That was easy. I mean, it was hard for me to say that I'm retiring, but it was easy because there was nobody there. Now I'm going to be making eye contact with 15,000 to 20,000 people and try to keep my composure. There are going to be some emotional moments, I'm sure. At this point, I'm extremely honored that I'm being inducted. I'm honored and I'm excited to be able to share some things with the fans who have been with me all these years. It's really exciting."
Undertaker will have the rare honor of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Vince McMahon, the company's chairman and CEO. Undertaker and McMahon have crossed paths on-air, but it's their unique bond behind the scenes that makes the pairing a no-brainer.
"It's such an honor," Undertaker said. "Our relationship has gone from boss-employee to friends, He's been like a father figure to me, a brother, a friend. Our relationship has kind of grown outside of the realm of WWE. More times than not when there has to be something to discuss business-wise, it's someone other than Vince that I discuss it with. We text and call each other and talk about the most obscure things at this point. That's really cool. When I got the call that they wanted to induct me, there was nobody else that I could think of that I wanted to induct me more so than Vince. Put it this way: he brought me in and he will take me out. So that's pretty cool.
"[Maybe] I get stage fright and forget everything that I was going to say that might be it. I might have to do a throat slash, eye-roll and call it a day," he teased. "I know for me it's going to be an extremely emotional, special night. Deep down, I'm very thankful that there will be an arena full of people there to see it, and I get to share that with them."