Former Smackdown lead writer offers insight on Undertaker behind the scenes, the streak ending and more
Apr 15, 2014 - by Steve Gerweck
From Gary Cantrell:
I was wondering if you could post this recap of The Shoot’s interview with former Smackdown lead writer Alex Greenfield. The interview went approx 45 mins and can be found here: http://www.morelikeradio.org/the-shoot-april-13th-2014/ The interview starts at the 15 minute mark.
On earning Undertaker’s respect:
“Undertaker, even more so than Vince was tougher to get to know, He is a man who is absolutely protective of that character. I remember when i got promoted to head writer, i was sitting at home making a list of “Shit Alex Needs to do to make this work” and near the top of that list was I need to call the Undertaker and say i’m here to earn your respect. Because you operate with different talent in different ways and there was no shortcut with the Undertaker. You know that Eddie and JBL liked me wasn’t going to wasn’t going to get me over with him cause he was a guy who’s respect you earned.”
On Undertaker making the call to end the streak:
“There is no pressure that is put on the Undertaker to drop the streak. This was the Undertaker’s decision, i have no doubt about that in my mind about that whatsoever. Nobody, including Vince (McMahon) is going to go to the Undertaker and say anything other than do you want to end the streak? There’s never going to be a (Alex impersonate’s Vince here) “God damn pal, Undertaker it’s over pal. You’re dropping the streak tonight.” That would never happen in a million years. He is and i think it’s safe to say the most respected guy in the locker room. I suspect he went to Vince and said this is the year and Brock is the guy. Thinking about it from Taker’s perspective as such of a fight fan as he is, if you’re going to go down, going down to the guy who walked away from wrestling and became the UFC heavyweight champion would appeal to his ego.”
On how well Undertaker was in tune with his own character:
“He had very definitive ideas of what Undertaker would do and what Undertaker wouldn’t do and made those things clear. And here’s the thing, he was absolutely right. It was never about getting the character over in the traditional sense, it was an absolutely right impression of the best ways to tell stories with this character. Even when the character would lose. Even when Khali was beating the shit out of him, Khali, Undertaker and the team working working on that..We all listened to Taker because Taker even knew how to make the Undertaker lose the best possible way. He was never the guy who would say oh well you know i gotta win. It’s the classic thing of when a wrestler pitches creative it’s usually give me the title i want to win. That wasn’t the Undertaker’s deal at all. He is a man who very much understands the utility of losing at the right time.”
Other things covered in the interview: Story about a time where Undertaker sat in on a creative meeting and voiced his concerns over a segment with him, Alex’s thoughts on Daniel Bryan winning the title and how it was done, Thoughts on if writing for Smackdown was more or less stressful than having to write for Raw, Thoughts on Cena/Bray Wyatt match, if CM Punk is upset in hindsight that Bryan got the main event he wanted and wrestled Triple H, working with Ultimate Warrior and more in this 45 minute interview.