SI's Justin Barrasso joined Madelyn Burke to talk about the legacy of one of the most iconic figures of professional wrestling, The Undertaker.
Madelyn Burke: The finale of The Undertaker's 'Last Ride' documentary airs Sunday, and the wrestling world takes a look back at the storied career of one of its headliners, Justin Barrasso caught up with the WWE superstar. Justin, first of all, I want to ask you what has stood out to you so far in watching this documentary?
Justin Barrasso: It reminded me so much of the Michael Jordan documentary, 'The Last Dance'. 'The Last Ride' is obviously an in-house production by WWE. But I was impressed by the amount of honesty there has been throughout the piece looking at some of the shortcomings over the past three years for The Undertaker. But I think really, you know, to me it just opened up or exposed some vulnerabilities in an inner psyche of the entertainer, because I think we see why he's been so protective of that character. And obviously, the character still makes money every time he comes back for a big show, that contains a big payday. But I think we've been able to see how the character means so much to him. He struggled in wrestling to find something worthwhile, to find something meaningful. Until he became The Undertaker and he held onto it tightly to the point where it's been 30 years and he still doesn't want to let go. So I think that that look into The Undertaker from Mark Calaway has been has been especially fascinating.
Madelyn Burke: Well, you mentioned the struggle and the journey. I mean, when you look back to his debut in WCCW with Bruiser Brody, did he ever think he would reach the heights of success he has with WWE?
Justin Barrasso: No. And he was a guy, too, that was presented as just another big guy, when he was Mean Mark. You know, in that Bruiser Brody match is a great example. He was just the opponent. He was a big opponent that could make maybe the star look good. It's so funny to think of The Undertaker as as just another guy. And that's kind of the worst place you want to be in wrestling. I don't think Mark Calaway ever forgot that. I think he still remembers the faults. The fact that WCW said he was he was never the guy they could build around to make money. I think he remembers those slights. So kind of a connection to Jordan again. Remember, Jordan's Hall of Fame speech where it just seemed like he was this madman who remembered all these faults for a guy that was so brilliant and so great. But I think you need that right? I think for The Undertaker to continue to be great. He needed to remember all the things that weren't so great in his past, in terms of building that character and and having that creating that kind of longevity. Thirty years is remarkable. So I think that's been another fascinating take away all the way from that Bruiser Brody match, being just another guy, to becoming a standalone in history as The Undertaker.