Since his retirement many wrestlers have spoken of the influence The Undertaker had on their career.
With Taker’s final farewell set for this month’s Survivor Series, Sami Zayn has joined in with the plaudits.
In an interview with BT Sport, Zayn spoke of the time he came backstage after a promo on NXT only to be met by a “fired up” Dead Man.
The first memory that I have of really interacting with him [The Undertaker] was actually at NXT. This was a television taping right before – this was late 2014, so it’s right before I’m about to wrestle Neville for the NXT Championship. And that story had a pretty good buildup going into that match. And so, I want to say it was maybe the last episode of TV before the actual match.
I had cut this really impassioned promo, which I still think is one of my better promos as a good guy for sure because the storyline going into it was that we sort of were friends, but he was the champion because he was willing to get his hands dirty and I was too adherent to my morality, and so that’s why I would never succeed in the way he succeeded. And so, we had this heated talking segment, where I slapped him in the face. It was really good. It was really, really good. And when I got back there, The Undertaker was fired up. And he was like, ‘That’s how you do it! That’s how you sell tickets! That was a money promo!
This wasn’t a one off for Zayn, as Undertaker was on hand after the match he then had with Neville to give his thoughts.
He makes a point of the special time he had in NXT, which seems to be common but especially during his era there.
And then, I think that night, I think we had wrestled – because we used to tape a few episodes at a time. I think that same night, we did a match for the championship where he [Neville] won, and then the match at Revolution was actually the rematch. But that match, he also complimented that match heavily. He’s like, ‘I thought you guys were just going to go out there and do a bunch of spots. You guys told a story. That is how you do it!’ And just that kind of – because The Undertaker is The Undertaker, and the fact that he was even at NXT, it was sort of like, ‘Ooh, The Undertaker’s here.’
And so for The Undertaker to be waiting for us backstage as soon as we walked back through the curtain, and fired up about how good our work was, I mean, that was pretty amazing. That was really amazing, and that whole time period in NXT was so remarkable because we’re starting to get approval from Shawn Michaels and Triple H and Bret Hart, and guys we grew up worshipping as far as their in-ring stuff, all of the sudden telling you, ‘Your in-ring stuff’s really great.’ So hearing that from The Undertaker that time, I’m kind of just getting goosebumps just thinking about it right now. That was special, really special.
With such a mystique behind the character, it is certainly great to hear quite so many positive stories coming out of his influence on the wrestling business, which will no doubt continue for many years to come.
With thanks to 411 Mania for the transcription.