While speaking to Barstool Sports recently, WWE icon The Undertaker revealed exactly why he decided to bring back his American Badass character.
From 2000-2003, The Undertaker was no longer an undead 'Phenom' who slowly marauded to the ring before his intense matches, instead he was a chopper riding no-nonsense arse-kicker who wore a bandana and listened to Limp Bizkit. Yet, that version of Mark Calaway's legendary professional wrestling persona hadn't been seen ever since, with him instead opting to return to his demonic ways in 2004 and staying that way for the remainder of his career.
However, that all changed in the lead up to WrestleMania 36 when the 'Demon of Death Valley' was forced to change things up during his feud with AJ Styles.
When talking about his decision to bring back the American Badass, Calaway said:
'No, once I left the American Badass, I think everyone was really content with the hybrid version of The Undertaker. My style had changed where I kept a lot of the elements of my in-ring work kind of geared to that American Badass character then brought the origins and the mystique of The Undertaker was kind of that outward look. It didn’t come up until this year and it just kind of dawned on me with the type of promos that AJ was cutting, there’s really no way that I can bring the original Undertaker to this. It’s become too personal, crossed too many lines, you’re going to have to get the American Badass all grown up and he’s still got that evil side to him. It’s going to be a much more personal approach to delivering that match. So that’s kind of how we ended up American Badass 2.0 if you will.'
Had Styles not opted to make things personal in the lead up to their eventual Boneyard match at the Show of Shows, it's likely the feud wouldn't have excelled in quite the way it eventually did. This constant prodding of 'Taker eventually led to the unique 'hybrid' character we enjoyed throughout the 'Mania 36 cinematic spectacle and it looks like Calaway would be quite happy to return to that version of himself going forward.
'Regardless of what I do on camera moving forward, I’m sure that’s the persona that I will continue to move forward.'
Would you like to see the 'American Badass 2.0' Undertaker face off with another star in the future? Or would you settle for just hearing the sound of his mighty chopper growling on the ramp one last time? Either way, it looks like this 'hybrid' is here to stay.