Jim Ross Speaks Out On The Undertaker Debuting The “American Badass” Character

During the latest edition of his “Grilling JR” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and AEW commentator Jim Ross commented on The Undertaker debuting his “American Badass” character at Judgment Day 2000, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On the Undertaker being ready to reinvent himself: “The reinvention of the Undertaker was timely. This was largely Mark Calaway’s idea. He was ready to cut his hair, he was ready to change his gothic-like image, the macabre and all the unique powers that the Undertaker possessed, etc., etc. Same logic, Conrad, that you and I have talked about many times. When a main event talent has an opportunity to contribute to their program, to their storyline, then they have skin in the game now, and egocentrically, and being alpha males, the last thing anybody wants to do is be involved in a failing scenario, and Undertaker reinvented himself, and obviously by the pop, so important, he was right on the money. It was time, and the fans ate it up. They believed in the character but now they believed in Undertaker 2.0. So I thought it was well done, and my hat’s off to ‘Taker because it was his idea.”

On not being a big proponent of the change: “I was not a big proponent of that change, because I loved the Undertaker presentation as it was. He kept getting better at it, better at it, more things were done to embrace it and to embelish it, so I was hoping we were making the right decision, and I got my answer in about 10 seconds when he came out in that new attire, new everything, I saw the answer, clear as day. I heard the answer as well.”

On the courage it took for Undertaker to make such a big change: “It was a timely move, good move by Mark Calaway to have the instincts and the courage, think about that deal, it’s like a singer, it’s like the Eagles come out on a tour, and if they didn’t sing “Hotel California,” I’d have left pissed off. I didn’t get the same music I’m used to hearing from them. But ‘Taker was bold enough to change his character, change his presentation, change his look, the whole nine yards, plus the fact that he started doing more promos in a more traditional sense other than the soundbite, scary, spooky type promo.”