Undertaker on Watching His Highlights, 'Never Say Never' Line in WWE HOF Speech
With an iconic career that spanned exactly three decades, The Undertaker's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame was always inevitable.
The Deadman took his rightful place among the immortals over WrestleMania 38 weekend in Dallas and gave what was widely regarded to be one of the greatest speeches in the history of the Hall of Fame.
Since then, he's been enjoying retirement and giving fans a deeper look into who he is as Mark Calaway the person. That continues on the second second of A&E's Biography series, WWE Legends, premiering this Sunday, July 10.
Undertaker has merely scratched the surface of showing the world what life looks like for him outside of the squared circle. From never-before-heard stories to insight on every stage of his legendary run, his upcoming documentary will explore it all.
Before then, 'Taker caught up with Bleacher Report to discuss the show, his WrestleMania weekend experience, what he meant by the last line of his speech, and more. Check out the complete video of the interview on the next slide and read on for the highlights.
What Fans Can Expect from His Episode of "Biography: WWE Legends"
In its first season of WWE Legends, A&E's Biography gave viewers an in-depth look at the lives of wrestling icons such as Roddy Piper, The Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels, among others.
The second season aims to do more of the same with subjects including Edge, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio and most notably The Undertaker.
Similar to The Last Ride and Broken Skull Sessions on WWE Network, 'Taker will be completely out of character when being interviewed and discussing the various stages of his Hall of Fame career.
The Deadman revealed that this two-hour documentary will offer plenty of insight on who he is as a person and what went into portraying the beloved persona for so many years.
“You get a firsthand look at not just the character and not just the character in the ring, but you're going to get a real look into Mark Calaway and what I'm like now away from the ring," Undertaker said. "There's going to be a lot of questions fans have had for years that are going to get answered, and they'll probably be shocked there's no horrifyingly dark thing that happened in my life that sent me down that dark path as The Undertaker.”
If He Watches His Old Stuff Back
"Watching tape" has long been a popular phase for any wrestler looking to brush up on classic content in an effort to improve, whether it other people's matches or their own.
It's become infinitely easier in recent years with the WWE Network (and later Peacock) being so readily available for fans and talent alike. The platform is the perfect place to rewatch any match or promo from any period in the history of WWE or other companies.
Even with all of the time he now has available to him in retirement, Undertaker isn't one to rewatch his work. However, that doesn't stop friends of his (specifically The Godfather) from sending him stuff to laugh (and occasionally cringe) at.
“I don't go looking for it, I can promise you that," Undertaker affirmed. "For being around for as long as I have, I have a lot of friends who have way too much time on their hands, and they will send me clips from my days in Memphis or even in Dallas. I'll tell you who's really good about that is Godfather. He'll send me stuff because we met in Tennessee and that's where we became such great friends.”
He added that he got sent his first interview for Memphis TV and that it was "awful," joking that was maybe why he kept his talking to a minimum for 30 years as The Undertaker.
His Thoughts on His Hall of Fame Speech
To say Undertaker's Hall of Fame speech was among the most anticipated ever by fans would be a massive understatement.
When his induction inevitably arrived, everyone assumed and hoped he'd speak from the heart as Mark Calaway for a change and not so much as The Undertaker. Thankfully, that was exactly what happened and it made for riveting speech.
The way he was hooked up with the headset was unique and allowed him to roam around the stage as opposed to being confined to one area. He had to resist reverting to his 'Taker roots and speaking with a deep voice and rolling his eyes to the back of his head.
All in all, it was an outstanding experience for him.
“It really was a good, good weekend," he said. "I was extremely nervous, to say the least because I decided I was going to reinvent the wheel with the speech. They built the Hall of Fame ceremony around me and 30 years with one company. ... When I sit down and start thinking about it, there's no way I can thank everybody. There's so much stuff. How do you keep it interesting? They already watched SmackDown and the night was late. It was extremely nerve-wracking. It was the first time my WWE audience was going to see Mark Calaway live. They'd seen interviews and everything else, but this is me putting myself out there in a live audience.
“It was actually a lot of fun because it was the closest thing I've had in the last couple of years to putting a match together in that kind of aspect," he continued. "Going through and figuring out the creative aspects of the speech. It was nerve-wracking, but I was really pleased with how it turned out.”
Responding to Criticism Regarding His Speech
For as well-received as Undertaker's Hall of Fame speech was, perhaps the biggest criticism fans had of it was that he failed to mention a few pretty prominent people who played an instrumental role in the success of his character.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels were mentioned multiple times along with many others, but Mick Foley, for example, was oddly excluded despite their extensive history.
The Deadman clarified his comments by noting that his speech wasn't solely about thanking every single person he worked with in his 30-year WWE career. Rather, it was largely about the life lessons he learned that he felt fans could relate to.
“I delivered the speech and I got everything out there that I wanted to say," Undertaker said. "I got a little bit of blowback for not mentioning a couple of people, but it wasn't about...If I go through every angle, every opponent...It was more about those three pillars I referenced back when I'm talking about Shawn [Michaels], that had a direct meaning to never being content. That's why I talked so much about Shawn then, Triple H. I did get a little bit of, 'I can't believe you didn't mention Mick Foley.' I've talked about Mick Foley until I'm blue in the gills."
Undertaker and Foley are responsible for one of the greatest Hell in a Cell matches of all time. The series of matches they had in 1997 and 1998 only added to 'Taker's growing legacy.
"I love Mick Foley," he said. "I think what we did will outlive the test of time as far as our angle. But then I can talk about Edge and so on. I haven't talked to any of those guys. I hope they didn't get their feelings hurt, but it wasn't about all that. It was about my journey and the things I've learned through those 30-plus years that I was trying to share and help people in their lives and thank the WWE Universe. That's what it was all about. If anyone was offended, I'm sorry.”
Being Affected by Tim White's Passing
The aforementioned Hell in a Cell clash between Undertaker and Mick Foley is extremely memorable for obvious reasons, but what some fans may forget is that Tim White actually officiated that classic contest.
The late, great WWE referee and personality passed away in mid-June, just mere months after helping out 'Taker with his in-person appearances over WrestleMania weekend in Dallas.
The Phenom was close with White and had plenty of praise for his friend of many years.
“That one hit me hard," he said. "I had dinner with Tim the night before [the Hall of Fame]. We go way back and he was there when I got there. Basically, pretty much the only stuff [WWE] had him doing was my appearances. He had flown to Dallas and was there. I flew into Dallas around 10:30, ran into Tim, we had dinner, and that was the last time I saw him. It was crazy.
"I don't want to get too much into the details, but that was a real gut punch to find out what had happened," he added. "But what a great guy. An awesome, awesome man Tim was. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who had anything negative to say about Tim White.”
He recalled the countless conversations he had with White about Andre the Giant (who he also served as a handler for at one point) and the old days of wrestling. The legendary ref loved life as much as he did the business, and 'Taker emphasized that he was always a pleasure to be around.
What He Meant by His "Never Say Never" Line
There were many highlights from Undertaker's Hall of Fame speech, but the one that got fans talking more than anything else was what he ended with.
As he put on his signature hat and trench coat, he looked back at the audience and uttered, "Never say never," before ominously exiting the ring.
The WWE Universe didn't know what to make of the cryptic message. Some took it as a sign he would be revealed as Seth Rollins' mystery opponent that Saturday on Night 1 of WrestleMania 38, which of course was not the case.
'Taker has not at all indicated he intends to return to the ring following his final farewell in 2020, and he said as much in this interview. When asked about that last line from his speech, he confirmed he wanted to keep the audience on their toes like any true wrestler would.
“Just the fact you asked that question, mission accomplished," he said. "You never say never. I don't have aspirations of ever stepping into the ring again, but this is the WWE, man. You never say never. You just never say never."
He added that it tied into how Vince McMahon initially asked him about being inducted a few years ago, but he turned down the offer because he felt he wasn't done wrestling yet. He only agreed to be enshrined this year under the condition that Vince would be the one to do the induction speech.
"I thought it was a great button that I can put on that and for that very reason," he said. "That was a little bit for Vince, too."
Biography: WWE Legends returns with The Undertaker this Sunday, July 10 at 8/7c on A&E.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.