The Undertaker devoted himself to entertaining his fans for more than three decades, often putting his own physical well-being on the line. Through his unyielding dedication to his art, he has become a revered figure, earning numerous accolades and making significant contributions that distinguish him in the industry. Now it seems The Undertaker believes that kayfabe is truly dead.
The Deadman was a constant highlight of WWE television since the early 90s. He finally retired at Survivor Series 2020 and even got inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame last year.
While speaking with Chris Van Vliet, The Undertaker stated that the concept of kayfabe died when he started using his real name, Mark Callaway. However, he acknowledges that there are still some wrestlers who are fully committed to their characters and do a great job at living their gimmick.
Although the industry now openly acknowledges that it is sports entertainment, The Undertaker always aimed to create a sense of reality in his matches and suspend disbelief. He tried to make everything he did in the ring make sense, from his punches to his signature move, “old school.”
The Undertaker believes that there is still a place for kayfabe in wrestling, although he recognizes that the industry is evolving and everyone has their own perspective on the matter.
“I think, yeah, I think kayfabe died for sure when I came out and started talking as Mark Callaway. I shouldn’t say that, no, you know what, because there are a few guys that are out there that are, they’re living their gimmick, and doing a really, really good job at that. And I think, obviously, we go out of our way now to let everybody know what sports entertainment is. But I think, and we did that even while I was working, right. But the way I approach things and even with my character and my over-the-top gimmick as, you know, as The Undertaker, especially the last probably 10-15 years of my career. I really, the way I set my matches up and I tried to, I always tried to suspend that sense of reality. I didn’t want people thinking, like, I wanted people, when I threw a punch, I wanted people to go ooh, that’s different.
Or the things that I did to make sense, even like before I do old school, which is a stretch for somebody to grab someone’s arm and to be able to walk [the top rope]. But so, I would take the time to work that arm over and it hit that shoulder with the shoulder tackles and the shoulder tackles and this and that. I tried to have things make sense, and I always tried to get people invested and to forget everything else that we’ve told them about what sports entertainment and wrestling is, and try and let them immerse themselves into what’s going on. And that’s the way I approach things, and I think there’s some of that that is still applicable if you make the effort to do so. I think enlarge there’s just this okay, everybody, everybody’s in on it, and, you know, this is the way it is. But I think, I think there is room for kayfabe still. I just, I know everything’s evolving, and people have different perspectives on it, but that’s mine. And I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a dinosaur.”
The Undertaker also recently admitted that it would be difficult for his character to work in WWE today. Regardless, The Phenom will forever be regarded as one of the all-time greats and that’s never changing.
Do you agree with The Undertaker? Do you think kayfabe is essentially dead now? Sound off in the comments!