It’s one of those odd bits of WWE trivia that the Undertaker debuted on the same night as the Gobbledy Gooker. The night was Survivor Series 1990, of course. The Undertaker went on to become one of the most popular characters in WWE history. The Gobbledy Gooker, a giant turkey who hatched from a giant egg, went on to become one of those bizarre “What were they even thinking?” moments.
In a recent interview with Ed Young, the Undertaker tells the whole story of coming into WWE after leaving WCW, seeing that egg in the buildup to Survivor Series, and thinking that Vince McMahon was going to make him come out of it looking like an enlarged version of Vincent Price on the old Batman TV show.
I was working for another company, and they actually told me… I was going in to renegotiate a contract, and they sat me down and they went “Listen, you’re a good athlete, but no one’s ever going to pay money to watch you wrestle.” They said that to me. I was like “Really? OK, that’s all I needed to hear. We’ll see you guys down the road,” and that was like a burning… that stuck with me.
So I eventually get a meeting with Vince, and I was like “I’m going to walk in here, and I’m going to blow him away. I’ll get hired right on the spot.” I’m thinking that. I go to Connecticut and I meet with Vince, and at the end of it he goes,”Well, we really don’t have anything right now. Maybe at the first of the year, after Wrestlemania, maybe we might have an opening.” And I was like “Oh, wow. I already quit the other place.” I didn’t figure that part in.
I’m just hanging out, trying to get bookings where I can, and all of the sudden on — it was WWF back then — they start this promotion where they’ve got this giant egg on one of the stages. At that point I had short hair, and I had started growing my hair, and I’m thinking “An egg?” so I started having this whole drama in my head like “Oh man, I’m going to be Eggman or something like that.” You know, he’s going to want me to shave my head and my eyebrows. I’m just in a panic. This had nothing to do with me.
So I’m at home one day and the phone rings — back then, you know, you had to go pick it up — I pick the phone up and hear “Hello, is this The Undertaker?” So I put the phone down. So I’m thinking to myself “Undertaker? Well that sure ain’t Eggman or Egghead.” So I put the phone back up and say “Yeah, this is The Undertaker! Yeah!” I was probably on the verge of an ulcer. I was so uptight about this that it took me a second to even process who this was. Vince’s voice, you can distinguish it pretty quick, and I was like “Yeah, OK!”
When Young comments on Vince being so ready with the Undertaker name on that phone call, Taker offers a self-deprecating reason why he got the part:
He had the character, he just needed somebody big, with no personality. I’m your guy!
The timeline of Taker’s story is a little bit iffy, and he sort of skipped the part where WWE actually agreed to hire him, but to be fair he is remembering things that happened to him 29 years ago, which is a long time for getting details right. In any case, it’s pretty amusing to imagine the legendary Undertaker living in fear that he was going to have to hatch out of an egg in his PPV debut.