Despite the fact that he recently turned 54-years-old and only wrestles a few times per year, The Undertaker signed a new contract with WWE earlier this month and is scheduled to compete at the company’s next big event in Saudi Arabia in June. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing before “The Deadman” signed his new WWE deal, as a recent report suggests that the wrestling icon had started taking bookings outside the company because he thought his in-ring career was “over” as he knew it.
This week, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter took a look at what supposedly happened between The Undertaker and WWE in recent months, which included WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon’s reportedly negative reaction to his longtime employee’s decision to appear at the Starrcast II event next month. As cited by WrestlingNews.co, WWE had long believed that Undertaker, real name Mark Calaway, would never accept bookings outside of the company, considering that his asking price ranged between $20,000 to $25,000 and that WWE didn’t expect other companies to be able to pay such money to outside performers.
As quoted by Ringside News in a separate report, the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer explained why The Undertaker started accepting non-WWE bookings after his match at the Super Show-Down pay-per-view in Australia last October.
“Undertaker thought his career was over after the match in Australia and started lining up outside paydays,” Meltzer wrote.
“After the Starrcast thing went public, Vince got mad and when things calmed down between the two, WWE made him an offer he couldn’t refuse financially and part of the contract was an agreement he could no longer do those type of dates.”
As explained by WrestlingNews.co, Undertaker will still be appearing at Starrcast II, as he had agreed to appear at the Las Vegas event before he signed his new WWE contract. Likewise, he will be still showing up at the Inside the Ropes events in the United Kingdom, though he will only be available for the meet-and-greet portion, and not for the Q&A session he had reportedly agreed to participate in beforehand.
Despite his long history with WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, which included an unprecedented 21-match winning streak, The Undertaker did not appear at WrestleMania 35 earlier this month, marking the first time since 2000 that he was not booked to compete at the event, as CBS Sports noted. He did, however, appear on the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania, taking part in a segment where he interrupted and attacked Elias in the middle of his performance.