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Jim Ross Comments On The NWA Letting Mark Callous Leave, His Debut As Undertaker Shortly After

September 17, 2019 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Mean Mark The Undertaker

In the latest episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross spoke about the NWA’s decision to let ‘Mean’ Mark Callous leave the company in 1990, which resulted in the debut of The Undertaker in the WWF two months later at Survivor Series. Here are highlights:

On what he thought of Mean Mark and the WWF recruiting him: “Well look, he’s 6’10 and weighed 300 pounds, he’s very athletic. And he had an excellent mind for the business. Those combinations don’t come along too often. So it wasn’t a secret that somebody might want to recruit him, especially the WWF. A lot of big babyfaces there, you needed big heels, all that good stuff.”

On trying to keep him around: “I never was able to convince Ole [Anderson] that Mark Calloway, professionally known as the Undertaker, was ever going to draw any money or be a star. Apparently I didn’t do a very good job of selling it, and I’m not so sure that Mark had an overabundance of people that believed that as well or they may have actually believed it, but because active performers are on the booking committee, sometimes that clouds their vision. And sometimes guys are leery of bringing competition into their spot. Mark was making $3,000 a week, $156,000 a year, and that was kind of the standard contract for a lot of guys then. That’s what [Brian] Pillman made, [Tom] Zenk made, probably fifteen other guys.”

On Ole not wanting to keep him: “And when I said to Ole, ‘His contract is coming up,’ he said, ‘Well I don’t want to keep him.’ He said ‘Just let him go.’ And I said I think we’re making a mistake and Ole and I had a nice little argument about that. And of course he won the argument because he was the boss. I said, ‘We’re making a mistake, this guy is gonna mean something someday.’ You just don’t find that many guys that big, that athletic. He was young then, Mark was just getting going. I just thought the world of his abilities, his upside. But Ole did not and so, you know. And I don’t know if [Jim] Herd did either and that’s the problem is that we had other people there that had influence and product knowledge, they would have seen that you don’t let a talent like that get away. And we did.”

If you use any of the quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

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The Undertaker, Joseph Lee