Admired by many, respected by all: very few can claim to have reached such stratospheric heights in the world of professional wrestling like The Undertaker has.
Thanks in no small part to the vision of the McMahon family – namely Vince McMahon and his father, Vince McMahon Sr. – there’s a long list of household names known to fans worldwide due to their exploits within the ropes over the years.
That list grows thin indeed, however, when it comes to the subject of genuine era-defining talent. You know the sort: wrestlers who are instantly recognizable all over the world; wrestlers who remain instantly recognizable long after they’ve finished doing the one thing that made them famous.
Love him or hate him, The Undertaker – real name Mark William Calaway – is one such wrestler.
Born March 24, 1965, it was far from obvious that the boy from Houston, Texas, would grow into one of the most captivating stars professional wrestling has ever seen.
And yet it should go without saying that one doesn’t remain at the top of such a cut-throat industry, where stars rise and fall like the tube men who stand vigil outside car dealerships, for 30 years without being rather special.
So just how much did The Undertaker earn from his legendary career? What’s he doing today? And what does he look like now that he’s removed from the searing glare of the spotlight?
Here’s all you’ll want to know …
Standing an impressive 6ft 10 inches tall, a more straightforward career for Mark Calaway to pursue might have been as a center in the NBA.
Indeed, according to the man himself, once upon a time he was a keen basketball player. He even went to college on a basketball scholarship, before attending Texas Wesleyan University, where he played as a center.
During his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he said: “I was a big wrestling fan as a kid, but as I got into basketball and football and everything else and I kinda drifted away.”
Ultimately, though, despite his talent for the sport, he realized that his future lay away from basketball.
He continued: “One of the things that helped me in my career is being a realist in what my talents are and what my talents aren’t and I started having these conversations with myself like ‘even if you do make a team, how long do you really have?’
“And being 21 and sitting at the end of a bench in Lithuania. I’m trying to weigh it up against what I’m seeing on TV, right? You’ve got the Von Erichs and Hogan and I’m like, sh*t, these guys are huge household names.”
So it was that he scraped together $2,000 to pay Buzz Sawyer to train him in the art of wrestling.
“Buzz was a good amateur,” Calaway told Rogan.
“There’s about ten of us, knocking on the door, standing on his front lawn. Finally, the door swings up ‘What the f*ck do you want!?! He’s standing there butt a** naked. Woke him up. He’s just standing there naked. We’re like ‘Umm we’re here to train?’ and he goes ‘F*ck! Is that today?’”
After weeks of hard workouts and a controversial training regime, Sawyer skipped town, taking Calaway’s money with him and leaving him with very little in the way of ring acumen.
Undeterred, however, Calaway began to instead learn on the job, and rose through various organizations – enduring numerous beatings and hardships along the way – until he eventually found his way to World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
It was during his time there, after being introduced as “Mean Mark” Callous, that he began to garner the attention of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Calaway signed with the WWF in October 1990, debuting as Kane the Undertaker in November of that year. He would soon drop ‘Kane’ from the name, becoming simply The Undertaker, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over 30 successful years, The Undertaker became not just a notable name for his time, but for all time. This was helped in no small part by his annual exploits at the company’s flagship event, WrestleMania, where his famous unbeaten streak lasted 21 matches.
In his later years with the WWE, The Undertaker’s legacy truly came alive, even as his appearances began to dwindle due to ongoing injuries and the ever-present rigors exacted by the lofty heights of professional wrestling’s highest echelon.
He officially retired from wrestling in 2020, with his farewell appearance 30 years to the day after he made his WWF debut.
Today, his is rightly remembered as one of the most iconic characters of all time. A 2013 Digital Spy poll saw him listed as the greatest wrestler ever, while his many legions of fans can be found the world over.
So what is The Undertaker doing these days? How much money did he make from his illustrious career? What does he look like now that he’s no longer wrestling regularly?
Well, as for how he spends his days, it’s a fair guess that a lot of them go towards his family. Let’s not forget, the life of a professional wrestler entails a hell of a lot of traveling around, and since The Undertaker was a star attraction for no less than three decades, it makes sense to assume he’s making up for lost time.
That said, shortly after retiring from in-ring action, Calaway himself expressed an interest in remaining involved in professional wrestling to an extent.
In an interview with Inside the Ropes, he explained: “One of the things that interest me a lot are paying it forward, meaning working with the talent that’s coming up and trying to give them some of my insight and my experience. Although the product is changing and evolving.
“I think there are a lot of what I did and aspects of storytelling that’s missing in today’s game. So I think that’s where I think I can be an asset to the guys, guys, and gals, of the next generation.”
Of course, that’s not to say Undertaker has to work. Far from it, if his estimated net worth is to be believed.
Unsurprisingly, operating as a major attraction for a company like the WWE for such a long time has been rather beneficial to his bank account. In fact, Celebrity Net Worth speculate that the “Deadman” is worth as much as $17 million.
As for his personal life, Undertaker is said to reside in a mansion in Austin, Texas, with his third wife, former wrestler Michelle McCoo. The couple have a 9-year-old daughter, Kaia, born in 2012.
Through his Instagram page, Undertaker keeps his many fans updated as to his training and everyday life. Given that he’s 56 years old, it goes without saying that he looks different to the man who dominated wrestling rings throughout the 90s and 00s, but if pictures are anything to by, he’s still in great condition.
I don’t know about you, but The Undertaker is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Just thinking about some of his hair-raising intros and legendary matches is enough to give me the chills.
What do you think about The Undertaker? Does he deserve to be ranked amongst the greatest to ever do it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box on Facebook.
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