The Undertaker has been making the media rounds in light of “The Last Ride” and The Deadman stopped by Bill Simmons’ podcast for a lengthy chat. The two start off talking about Taker’s most recent run of WrestleManias and one interesting topic of note was his readiness for his “impromptu” bout against John Cena at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
“I get to New Orleans and they said, ‘Ah, this match probably needs to go about five minutes,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re kidding me right?’ Cause I’m ready to go. I was ready to go for 45 minutes. That’s how I train and a 45-minute pace I had, I was so dead-set. I was so dissapointed from the prior year that like, ‘I’m gonna tear this up and I am gonna go at a pace probably faster than what people normally see me go at, I’m gonna do things I haven’t done in a long time,’ and I was so prepared and then it was five minutes. I say it in there, ‘We sell entertainment, we don’t sell time’ and that was more kind of a selfish thing for me, like I wanted to show like ‘What you saw last year, is not where I’m at.'”
What Taker was speaking of was his match with Roman Reigns in which he left his gear in the ring. He and Simmons did talk about that prior to the Cena discussion and Taker notes how much worse for wear he was at that time.
“My hip was so bad going into that match. I just couldn’t perform at a level I wanted to perform at and then with the magnitude of I’m going to put Roman over and that was going to be a big launching pad for him. So obviously I wanted to perform, I wanted that to be ‘Okay, this is the sling-shot and I just didn’t have it, you know…’
“Did you know as it was going on?” Simmons asked.
“Oh I knew it, yeah. I knew it before it started. I knew it that I was going to be in trouble at the Royal Rumble January before that. If you go back and look at the footage I mean you could tell I’m just not in the shape that I should be in. I couldn’t train the way I wanted to train, but I already committed to doing it and so I’m kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place and passing the torch is a really big thing in our industry. He’s a really good dude and he deserved it and I just wanted to be able to be give the best to him that I could, knowing what that match was going to mean to his career and then when I couldn’t deliver for him, you know, that kind of stuff bothers me.
As far as Undertaker leaving that gear in the ring, it was unexpected to everybody in the back.
“No one expected that. No one knew what was happening so it was so organic and I think it caught a lot of people off guard and I think the applause and the greetings and everything were moreso for the body of work than the match.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can listen to the entire interview with Simmons and Undertaker below: