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The Undertaker Says His Feud With Giant Gonzalez Was ‘Hideous’, Thought About Returning To WCW When He Was Frustrated With Creative

The Undertaker

• ON THIS DAY IN WWF HISTORY (June 17, 1996) – WWF Monday Night RAW

On this day in 1996, the World Wrestling Federation aired another episode of their weekly TV show ‘WWF Monday Night RAW’.

It was broadcasted from the Cumberland County Memorial Auditorium in Fayettville, North Carolina and featured pre-taped matches, interviews & storyline segments on the road to the ‘WWF King of the Ring 1996’ PPV.

Here’s the card:

1. Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega

2. Owen Hart vs. Marc Mero

3. Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Aldo Montoya

4. Goldust vs. Jake Roberts

• The Undertaker Says His Feud With Giant Gonzalez Was ‘Hideous’, Thought About Returning To WCW When He Was Frustrated With Creative

To promote the final chapter of Undertaker: The Last Ride, The Undertaker appeared on the “Not Sam Wrestling” podcast yesterday.

Below are the highlights:

Undertaker on breaking kayfabe:

“It’s been a process, especially early on. I still found myself being guarded. I wanted to start to talk and then I’m thinking, wait a minute. I don’t know if I should say that. Then I have to process that in my head and say, I wanted to do this, so let it go. I’m the last of the kayfabe guys. Protect everything at all costs.

When I heard somebody talking about the inner workings of the business, I was the guy in the back pulling my hair out. Now I’m that guy. It took some time to get used to that. Obviously now, it’s starting to get easier and we are starting to scratch the different layers of who The Undertaker and Mark Calaway are and how they fit together.”

On how the fans are reacting to it:

“Mostly everyone has been very positive. People have been dying for years for me to lift the veil up and see what’s going on. But then, there is always the one or two people that are like my childhood is dead.”

On if he was worried the fans would not take the character seriously when he debuted:

“I had spent almost 9 months in WCW, so people had seen me. I had a fairly good break before I started with WWF, but you have this strong character. It is new and on WWF. Obviously you’re nervous because it’s your debut with a new company and you have all this behind you. You don’t want to listen to, hey, that’s Mean Mark. It was nerve-racking for sure.”

On what he felt when he realized the character was going to be a staple and one of the top stars:

“I still didn’t have that feeling when I beat Hogan. I knew I was coming up, but I wasn’t there yet. I’m just doing what I’m told and hopefully, this thing keeps developing. It was probably about the time I did the angle with Jake. That was probably when I felt we have something here. There was a large movement to turn that character babyface. The audience, our fans, did that.”

On working with Giant Gonzalez:

“It was hideous. It was so bad on so many levels. I would be in much better shape now if I would have skipped that one program. As physically demanding as it was, it was twice the mental strain.

You had Bret there, Yoko there. All these guys are going out having these great matches. You want to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys. It was not possible. It was survival every night trying to figure out what he could do. At that time, I didn’t sell a lot or bump around. It did help me and prepare me later on for being able to work with people.”

On working with Bret Hart:

“It was always about the gimmick. It really didn’t matter who was plugged in against it. It was me working the gimmick. Bret Hart didn’t want to change his style too much to cater to The Undertaker character. It was my first chance to actually work, work.

Then I had to figure out if I could work the gimmick and then work a wrestling match. I had some really good matches with Bret that I am really proud of. That is when I started getting better talent. Then it went into the early Shawn Michaels stuff.”

On if he thought of going back to WCW:

“Yeah, there was a time I was so frustrated with our creative direction. We had a bunch of really goofy characters. They (WCW) are down there doing real angles. It was common knowledge that they opened up the checkbook. I was hearing guys talking about the money they are making. You would be able to get a good check and stay at home most of the time.

Those thoughts were there. But, when it got down to it, I said I can’t. Obviously I’m not the best businessman but something inside me said you can’t leave here. One, when I was there, and although the management had changed at this point, I went in to renegotiate a contract. I had been there for 8 or 9 months. My deal was coming up. I was trying to get a little bump in the money. I was on the bare minimum deal. I wasn’t looking to break the house.

I went in and met with Jim Herd, Ole Anderson, and Jim Barnett. They looked at me straight in the eyes, and said you are a great athlete, but nobody will ever pay to see you wrestle. My loyalty to Vince was stronger than the short term cash I could have made if I left.”

        
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