The Undertaker and Vince McMahon are good friends.
“The Dead Man” stuck by Vinnie Mac’s side as one of the very few top Superstars who didn’t jump-ship from WWE to WCW during the infamous Monday Night Wars, and was one of the key figures in the transitional period from the Hulk Hogan era to the Shawn Michaels / Bret Hart era, through the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock-led Attitude Era.
Even these days, the WWE Hall of Fame legend and TKO executive hang out together, as seen by their appearance with Vince sporting a walking cane at the Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou boxing bout that kicked off Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.
Things haven’t always been so smooth between “The Phenom” and Vince, however.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, ‘Taker recalled having creative differences in WWE with McMahon back in the day, referencing an episode of WWE Superstars where he revealed he was joining the Survivor Series team of Lex Luger and The Steiner Brothers by showing a U.S.A. flag-colored lining in his trademark trench coat.
“I wasn’t thrilled about that,” said Undertaker. “That was all Vince.”
Years later, the pro-American persona was adjusted to better fit Mark Calaway’s real-life personality, as he adopted the “American Bad Ass” gimmick when characters were evolving to become more realistic.
“In retrospect, now, I’m very proud of that run as The American Badass,” said Calaway. “At the time, in 1993, adding the flag was not Undertaker-esque.”
He added, “I remember me and Vince going back and forth. It was one of those first things we really butted heads over. I still remember Vince trying to sell me, saying, ‘Well, it’s the Betsy Ross flag.’ I was thinking, ‘Well, OK? Is that supposed to change everything?’”
The “Betsy Ross flag,” in Vince’s mind, was a connection to the old west with the original 13 colonies. Undertaker disagreed.
“That just wasn’t The Undertaker back then,” said Calaway. “I just didn’t have the juice to say no.”
Check out the complete interview at SI.com.