Undertaker Is Ready to Get Revenge on Vince McMahon in WWE Hall of Fame Speech

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2022

Undertaker Is Ready to Get Revenge on Vince McMahon in WWE Hall of Fame Speech

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    The Undertaker's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame has been long overdue.
    The Undertaker's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame has been long overdue.Credit: WWE.com

    The WWE Hall of Fame has housed some of the industry's most illustrious legends for nearly three decades, but it couldn't be considered complete until one name was enshrined: The Undertaker.

    The Deadman will finally take his place in the hallowed halls this Friday on Peacock immediately following WrestleMania SmackDown. Vader, Queen Sharmell and The Steiner Brothers will also be among those honored.

    The decorated career of 'Taker in WWE speaks for itself, spanning exactly 30 years with countless championships won. That's in addition to his unprecedented 21-0 undefeated streak at WrestleMania.

    He wrestled his final match at WrestleMania 36, the famed Boneyard match against AJ Styles. It couldn't be more appropriate that he'll be inducted into the Hall of Fame over WrestleMania weekend in his home state of Texas, and the capacity crowd in attendance will be much deserved.

    Ahead of his highly anticipated induction, The Undertaker sat down with Bleacher Report to talk how he's preparing for his speech, his current relationship with Vince McMahon, getting the itch to come out of retirement, 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 Hall of Fame Speech

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    The Undertaker's WWE Hall of Fame induction speech just may be the most anticipated in history.

    Despite his induction being announced in February, he was still struggling to come up with the words as recently as two weeks ago. Improv works best for some, but in wanting his speech to be special, he decided to put a maximum amount of effort into figuring out what exactly it's going to consist of.

    Needless to say, there's quite a bit of ground to cover.

    "My original plan was to wing it," he admitted. "Fortunately, my wife talked me out of that, so as you can see, I've got sheets upon sheets of notes and ideas and thoughts. This has become like putting a WrestleMania match together. It's been a few years since I had this pressure and anxiety, but it is taking up most of my time, to say the least. In approaching this speech, I want to be different. I want to be entertaining. I want to leave people with something. At this moment, it's becoming very real."

    The thought of Undertaker speaking out of character would have been unfathomable even a few short years ago, but he's basically become an open book since calling it a career in 2020. He hasn't been shy in making media appearances and showing the world who he is beyond the elaborate entrance.

    That said, fans are going to see an entirely different, more emotional side to The Phenom at the Hall of Fame.

    "This will be a little different," he said. "Although I've done a lot of mainstream media and I've done Broken Skull Sessions, you're going to get what you didn't get at the retirement. Obviously, we weren't allowed to have fans there and a lot of people were disappointed with the fact I retired in an empty arena. We're going to make up for that and they're going to get a glimpse, not only a retrospective of my career but also a nice look behind the curtain to who Mark Calaway is.

    "I'm trying to approach this in a different direction as opposed to giving people something more than me saying thanks to everyone I've worked with for 30-plus years. There's no possible way to do that and remember everybody, so we're working diligently to make it special."

Thoughts on His Hall of Fame Video Package

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    When the time came for Undertaker to finally take his place among the immortals in the WWE Hall of Fame, fans knew the video package would be nothing short of remarkable given everything he accomplished in his career.

    Sure enough, it didn't disappoint.

    WWE originally aired the package the night the induction was made official on SmackDown, set to the tune of "Sad But True" by Metallica. It perfectly encapsulated his legacy in only five minutes.

    Undertaker was amazed as anyone by how beautifully it was put together. Then again, WWE has long been known for doing that sort of stuff better than anyone, so it shouldn't have been entirely surprising.

    "I was blown away," he said. "I was honestly blown away by that whole package, by the way they went from Metallica into Kid Rock and back and forth. It was so well done. Actually, one of our guys, Adam DeNucci, who doesn't even do it anymore, came out of retirement and did that package. Powerful, just to say the least. To watch my whole career in that five-minute deal, it was so well done that I was truly blown away and, wow."

His Current Relationship with Vince McMahon

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    Just as amazing as Undertaker entering the Hall of Fame is the fact that he'll be inducted by none other than Vince McMahon, the man responsible for creating the character in the first place.

    McMahon made it official on The Pat McAfee Show in early March and spoke candidly about how much 'Taker means to him. The two share a strong bond that dates back decades, and it will no doubt get emotional when the two are on stage together on Friday night.

    On that same token, 'Taker is excited for the opportunity to finally get back at his boss for the many pranks he's played on him throughout the years by making him shed a tear for the whole world to see.

    "I was always there [at the Hall of Fame], just off camera," he said. "I never missed one. Everyone who's been inducted into the Hall of Fame deserves that respect and all the people are there. For me, there was never anybody else. Obviously, Kane would have been appropriate and there were several people who could have done it, but Vince has always been, in my mind, the one.

    "I look at it like this: He brought me in and he's going to have to be the one to take me out, so that's how that works," he joked. "There's no one Vince loves to play practical jokes on more than me, so this is me getting back at him a little bit because I know it's going to be hard on both of us to keep our composure, but especially him and the fact I'm responsible for possibly making him cry just warms my heart."

    That real-life friendship was part of the reason why Undertaker kept returning to the ring, because he's always felt he owes Vince a debt of gratitude. They've kept in contact since his retirement and have seldom discussed anything business-related.

    "For the most part, it's good," Undertaker said about their current relationship. "Most of our conversations are on a friendship basis than business. The last business thing he called me on was that he wanted me to go over, not the last Saudi show but the one before, he wanted me to go over there and do a promotion. Not a match or anything. He wanted me to promote something for him and we went back and forth about that. Most of our correspondence is giving each other crap and checking in and making sure everything's good in our worlds."

If He Ever Gets the Itch to Step Back in the Ring

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    Once a wrestler retires, the urge to lace up the boots again never truly goes away for some, and Undertaker is no exception.

    As much of a masterpiece as his match with AJ Styes was at WrestleMania 36, it was done cinematically in front of no fans. The end result was outstanding for everyone watching at home, but 'Taker was robbed of the chance to have his swan song occur with a capacity crowd in attendance.

    He admits he's transitioned into the retired life exceptionally well but has had one instance where an in-ring return partially piqued his interest, and that was at the Royal Rumble this year.

    "I'm good in every situation, but as you know, my wife was just in the Royal Rumble," he said. "Obviously, I was there to support her and we had our daughter with us, our youngest daughter. I was good most of the day because I was keeping our daughter entertained and taking her out to the ring and doing things with her. Then we had another friend who showed up later so my daughter could go out in the crowd and watch. It was when I was by myself and now I'm inter-mingling with Vince, that's when it really starts hitting me.

    "I just can't help it," he added. "I get that feeling that I should be out here. I don't know that will ever go away. I've spent my whole entire adult life in this business and I always had such a passion for this business. It's hard to completely sever those ties. Every time I think that I've come to grip with it, I get put in a situation where I'm back there and it feels like I should be making my way to the ring."

    The contingent of fans convinced he has one more match left in him will never not exist, but he's honored to have had such an impact on people that they want to see him fight forever.

    "You always have the conspiracy theorists that still think I have one left in me," he said. "I have to look at that as they appreciate my body of work and what I've done and I feel very blessed and very fortunate to stay relevant for as long as I did in an industry where staying relevant is pretty difficult. It lets me know what I did right to a certain degree and I'm just grateful that people still care."

Who Does He See on the Current WWE Roster Breaking Out?

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    Despite having not appeared on WWE TV since Survivor Series 2020, The Undertaker is still very much up to date with the current ongoings on Raw and SmackDown.

    On WWE's The Bump in November 2020, he mentioned that he felt Omos was the closest thing this generation has to the iconic Andre the Giant. Undertaker mixed it up with several fresh faces toward the end of his WWE tenure and expects those same stars to carry the company into its next chapter.

    "I think there's a lot of guys who are right there on the cusp," he said. "We've seen Roman [Reigns] now in the last year-and-a-half turn into a completely different animal. He was obviously doing great, but he's hit the stratosphere as far as where he's at. I think Seth [Rollins] is right there. I don't think he's hit his complete potential yet. There's so much growth left in him. I see so many similarities between him and Edge, who by the way is just incredible. He's so riveting. He always was, but now when I watch him, he's so good with what he's doing now. I hope the young guys are wearing him out and picking his brain because he's so smart to the business and how he approaches things."

    The Phenom also had plenty of praise for the current crop of women dominating the WWE scene, specifically singling out Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley as two people he sees going far in the future.

    "Obviously, I think Bianca Belair, she's only scratched the surface with what she can do," Undertaker said. "Same for Rhea [Ripley]. I think in the women's division, their futures are still ahead of them. In the women's division, how good is it? There's so much edge to the things they do. It's really, really entertaining and they're doing such a great job.

    "There's a lot of guys who are just a piece or two away from hitting that next level and, like I said, there's enough old school guys there that I hope the young guys are watching," he continued. "Watching what Roman's doing, watching what Brock is doing, watching what Edge is doing. I'm anxious to see where we are in another couple of years."


    The WWE Hall of Fame streams live on Peacock this Friday, April 1 at 10/9c.


    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.