The Undertaker Coming to Wizard World
WWE's greatest phenom to make rare public appearance
By Richard Whittaker, 8:54AM, Mon. Aug. 4
The Dead Man. The Phenom. The American Badass. WWE superstar, nae icon and legend, The Undertaker, is coming to Wizard World Austin.
If you are at any level a fan of professional wrestling, you just got a shiver up your spine.
There are not many legends left in wrestling. Scratch that. Wrestling was built on legends, on mythical figures that stalked the land. They called it kayfabe: The idea that a wrestler never break character in public. That's what allowed grapplers of the ilk of Lou Thesz and Bruno Sammartino to be succeeded by story-drenched characters like Andre the Giant, Sabu, and Jake "The Snake" Robert. But that couldn't last, as TV, the Internet, and the TMZ-worthy, congressional hearing-inducing antics of figures like Hulk Hogan completely destroyed kayfabe.
And then there's The Undertaker. Yes, wrestling fans know that he's really Texas native Mark Calaway, and they have probably seen early footage of him as Mean Mark Callous, or his brief run in Japan as Punisher Dice Morgan. But when that lightning strikes (how do they do that in an arena?) and the fog flows, and those funeral bells toll, all that falls away. There is something mythical and terrible about that cloaked giant walking slowly to the ring, something monstrous about his speed and malevolence once he's in it. Most wrestlers are lucky to get one or two memorable matches in their career. The Undertaker's whole career is littered with great matches, and great feuds with fellow legends like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels. His 21-match winning streak at Wrestlemania - and its shocking termination at the hands of former UFC champ Brock Lesnar - will never be equaled in the history of sports entertainment.
And what's most amazing? He stayed in character pretty much perfectly throughout. Photos of The Undertaker outside the ring are slightly less rare than a skunk ape sighting, and he has given maybe one or two out-of-character interviews in his whole career. When he and his wife Michelle McCool were in the audience at the recent spoken word show at Cap City Comedy Club by his old friend/nemesis Mick Foley, the holder of 15 WWE titles just disappeared into the crowd.
But on Oct. 3, The Undertaker will be signing autographs and pose for photos, 4:30-8:30pm. Which is quite possibly a sign of the Apocalypse, but then again, at least you'll be in the right company.
Wizard World Austin Comic Con, Oct. 3-5. More info at www.wizardworld.com.