The Undertaker had unbelievable career longevity because he was able to innovate and transform his character for nearly three decades. It all started at Survivor Series 1990 and there was one man backstage that the Dead Man could go to for advice.
During the Broken Skull Sessions, The Undertaker revealed that there was one man who was able to really help him out. Jake “The Snake” Roberts has a mind for ring psychology like no other. The Phenom credited Roberts for a lot of the aspects that made his character so unique.
“There was one guy… Jake [Roberts]. Not so much my delivery or what I said, but he had such insight into character. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, man — brilliant mind. Unbelievable insight on how to put that character together and he would tell me like he would listen to Pink Floyd or he would listen to Black Sabbath which, you know that got me, ‘Okay I’m gonna get some heat for this’ I would look in the Bible for different verses. Back then it didn’t bother me as much to alter it around a little bit, you know who am I tell?”
“So I started looking outside the box on how to put this character together and he would — he didn’t even tell me this, but I heard him tell ‘Once the music starts you are that person,’ you know I probably took it a step further because I stayed that person for the first five or six years, but he had so many good innovative ways to put things together and to look at different aspects of the business that no one got.”
“Jake never was a screamer and that was something I knew I wasn’t gonna be. I knew it was gonna be a slow, methodical promo and then when Paul Bearer came along it was easy because he had that high-pitched creepy thing that got people and then I would come in with you know, ‘Rest In Peace.'”
“You had people screaming and hollering, but unless the message is good they’re not really listening, you know? But someone starts talking low, what the Hell’s he saying? He’s gonna put you in the ground and the worms are gonna eat your rotting flesh? Just stuff that people hadn’t heard in the wrestling world. Thank goodness they became enthralled in the morbid stuff we’re doing and it just really gelled well.”
Jake “The Snake” Roberts influenced generations of fans who eventually became pro wrestlers. The Undertaker had the opportunity to work with Roberts first-hand and learn many things. It’s hard to imagine The Undertaker’s character starting out any other way, but he might not have been as bold and unique without the influence of The Snake.
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