The 2022 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony kicked off after tonight’s WWE SmackDown, and the 2022 class of inductees included Vader, Queen Sharmell, The Steiner Brothers, and The Undertaker, as well as Shad Gaspard, who was this year’s Warrior Award recipient. After a night of lively moments, it was time for The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) to take the stage, and inducting him was none other than WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. McMahon said that even including holidays this was his favorite night of the year, and he said thank you to all of the inductees. He then said many of those Hall of Famers have left a mark on the WWE Universe and the industry itself, and then said there is no one more deserving of this honor than the one he was about to induct tonight.
McMahon said this man has performed for fans for 30 years and deal with numerous injuries and challenges, literally hell and back, and then he mentioned a list of individuals (a long list) that Undertaker has faced over the years, and it’s quite a list . Then he talked about some of the other challenges he faced, including when they were shooting Shotgun Saturday Night.
What a moment!
The WWE Universe showers the legendary @undertaker with praise as #ThePhenom takes his rightful place in the #WWEHOF. #ThankYouTaker pic.twitter.com/o62a4PkYDP
— WWE (@WWE) April 2, 2022
Those days they didn’t bother with permits or safety measures, and then mentioned how surreal it was to see Undertaker and Triple H fighting on an escalator, even jaded New Yorkers. He then talked about when he accepted the job of being in a cemetery during freezing rain conditions, and he was there for 5 hours.
He then mentioned the WWE Float that he stood on for hours without eating or drinking, and then he mentioned when Undertaker was asked to go down in the sewer to take advantage of the steam rising from it for a perfect photo opportunity. He then mentioned his loyalty and integrity of him, as well as his respect of him, but he’s never demanded it, he just commands it because of how he acts.
He then said, “Undertaker is the most revered star in WWE history, and the greatest quality he brings to the Hall of Fame is love, because you can’t accomplish what he’s done in 30 years for any other reason than the love of this business and the love of the performers past and present, and the love for three generations all over the world of those who watched him perform.”
Then Undertaker came to the ring and chants of Thank You Taker started, and you could tell Undertaker was emotional at the reception. The crowd cheered as did the WWE Superstars in attendance, and received a standing ovation. After that more chants hit of You Deserve It, and Undertaker was clearly moved by the response, wiping tears from his eyes as he approached the microphone.
Undertaker said “for the last 30 years, my identity has been Undertaker. The Phenom. The Deadman. The American Badass. And the Taker of Souls. Tonight, I’m going to take you behind the curtain and meet the man underneath the black hat, Mark Callaway. Now it could’ve been really easy for me to keep Mark Calaway really hidden until the day I die, but I wanted to show you the same respect you’ve shown me for so many years. I love this business with all my heart, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice. Sacrifice in the form of family, health, and privacy. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the people not only that helped me in the ring but outside of it. So WWE Universe, my first thank you is to you. You are loyal You are passionate, and you guys were the motivation I needed many nights to get off the training table and walk my way down here, push through the pain, and perform.”
“So tonight isn’t just about me, it’s about each and every one of you. I’m gonna share with you something my brother once shared with me. It’s 1986 and I’m about 20 years old and I’m sitting in his living room staring at the floor. I’m about a semester away from college graduation and I’m conflicted and miserable,” Undertaker said. “I say David I don’t know what to do. Do I graduate? Do I go overseas to play pro basketball? I don’t know what to do. See the decision it seems impossible. I spent the last 10 years consumed with playing basketball, and my opportunities after college were pretty promising. Basketball isn’t what I want to do though. My heart is already into wrestling, and I just started my wrestling training, but I already know this is what I want to do with my life, but I also know my teammates are going to be disappointed, and I don’t even begin to want to know what my parents are going to say.”
“David comes to me and puts his hand on my shoulder and says Mark, you can’t live your life with what mom and dad want you to do. You can’t live your life for anyone other than you. It was in that moment that everything became crystal clear. No matter what it took, I was going to become a professional wrestler. Was it glorious? Not unless you consider busting heads in bars and not knowing what you might eat that day. It was the only way I was going to find my true identity. I respected my parents so much I didn’t want to disappoint them, but I couldn’t live my life by what they wanted me to do. I had to go for my own identity and be accountable for my actions and chase my dreams without fear of what other people thought,” Undertaker said.
“My dreams led me to become The Undertaker. Now you all know my signature moves. The Tombstone. Well tonight, I’m going to reveal some of my mental signature moves, and because we can’t live our life for anyone but ourselves , hopefully, all of these will help you find your true identity as well like it did for me thanks to the WWE. Now unfortunately one of the earliest and most significant lessons I learned came from Vince himself, aka The Boss. I was working a squash match, excuse me, an enhancement match, with this local kid, who won and was probably more nervous than I can imagine,” Undertaker said.
He then said the opponent kept screwing up his moves one after another, and so he roughed him up a bit. “Afterward Vince is there and he walked up to him and said: ‘Mark, perception is reality, and the reality is that everybody in that area and everyone here backstage thinks your an asshole.’ “And in that moment I knew he was right. Undertaker then said he was not proud of his actions that night, and he had to learn the hard way that perception is reality, and that became his first mental move from him. Throughout the rest of his career he reminded himself of his actions.
Then Undertaker said he thinks of Stephanie McMahon when he thinks of perception. He said she isn’t as much of a brat as she seems onscreen, she’s actually bigger. He then said he thinks of Stephanie as the sister he never wanted, and she laughed, and then he said she knows how much he loves her and her family. He then talked about Shane wearing his sunglasses at 2 AM and pestering him nonstop about all the crazy spots he wanted to do during his matches.
He gave Godfather a hard time for a minute but said they had been friends for a long time and have fought each other over hats, watches, and everything you can imagine, but he always knew Godfather had his back. Then he pointed out the BSK, and then said he will take the stories to the grave with him and said how much he loved them.
He then thanked Yokozuna and Brian Crush Adams, and then shared a story about his late friend. He then mentioned Paul Bearer, saying he was a vital part of Undertaker and a tremendous friend who played pranks on him, like sticking cucumbers in his drinks from him. Then he said “Big Kane. Our story stretches over two decades as the Brothers of Destruction. The greatest wrestling story ever told. You are without a doubt the most genuine human being I know Glenn. I’m sorry, he insists I call him mister mayor now. Don’t get hot brother. I mean I didn’t get mad when you stole all my moves! Although you did do them better than me. I have a gift for making everyone around you better, including me.”
Undertaker then thanked Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and his kids and wife Michelle McCool, and it was a pretty amazing moment for a WWE Legend.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism