WWE superstar The Undertaker is arguably the biggest star that the WWE has ever produced. Of course, Vince and Shane McMahon both had a huge part to play in the Undertaker’s career development. Anyone, with even a passing interest in wrestling, knows that The Undertaker is synonymous with WrestleMania. The “Taker of Souls” is a WrestleMania legend. The Deadman dominated wrestling’s biggest event for over two decades, and his swansong came with his loss to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. After losing to Reigns, The Undertaker announced his retirement by leaving his hat, gloves, and coat in the WrestleMania ring.
There can be no doubt that The Undertaker was the WWE’s biggest star for over 20 years, but, as recently reported in the Inquisitr, Vince McMahon almost killed The Undertaker before his career even got off the ground. Apparently, McMahon wanted to cast The Undertaker as a Viking, complete with helmet and horns. If Mark William Calaway had been cast as a Viking, then the legend of The Undertaker would never have been created.
Of course, Calaway may have had a great career as a Viking, but you have to wonder how the WWE network would have developed without The Undertaker. According to the International Business Times, McMahon later cast John Nord as the Viking when he joined the company in 1991. Nord was a short-lived character on WWE, he was dropped after just two years. The Viking even feuded with The Undertaker and tried to stab the Deadman with his sword.
If Vince McMahon was almost the death of The Undertaker, before his career started, Shane McMahon could easily have caused his death during the “Hell in a Cell” match at WrestleMania 32. No one who watched The Undertaker beat McMahon that night will ever forget McMahons death-defying stunt.
As reported in Bleacher Report, McMahon left the WrestleMania audience gasping, when he leapt from the top of the 20-foot cage to attack The Undertaker. Many would argue that McMahon’s stunt was one of the most spectacular, but it seems that The Undertakers mom wasn’t impressed. According to FanSided, McMahon says that he took heat from the Deadman’s mom during the buildup to WrestleMania 32.
Thankfully McMahon’s death-defying stunt went well, but it could so easily have gone wrong and resulted in death or serious injury to both McMahon and The Undertaker.
AJ Styles Reveals His Friendship And Admiration For The Undertaker
When The Undertaker retired, he left a huge hole to fill. Vince McMahon clearly believes that Roman Reigns is the man to fill that hole. When Reigns retired The Undertaker, we saw a passing of the WWE crown. In his own early career The Undertaker retired WWE legend Ric Flair, so the passing of the WWE mantle in this way is not unusual.
The problem that McMahon needs to solve, is how to turn Reigns into a popular character. The WWE universe simply has not warmed to Reigns, and many argue that Reigns can only gain in popularity by taking a heel turn. AJ Styles, on the other hand, is already popular, and arguably SmackDown’s most important asset. Many would argue that Styles, rather than Reigns, should be elevated to fill the Deadman’s huge shoes.
Interestingly, Styles has revealed that he and The Undertaker are friends. According to Fightful, Styles says that he was “emotional” when he saw The Undertaker’s retirement.
“I can tell you I was emotional because he’s my friend. He and I have got a relationship – both of us have the same friend that we’re very close to, so he and I developed this relationship without even knowing each other that well.”
“It was heartbreaking a little bit because [The Undertaker] has been here for so long and has shaped the WWE into what it is now.”
Of course, no one could ever replace The Undertaker in the eyes of WWE fans, the Deadman character was simply too big and too popular. It’s astonishing to think that, if Vince McMahon had implemented his plans for Mark Calaway to be a Viking, then The Undertaker may never have existed.
[Featured Image by WWE]