Friday Night SmackDown's premiere on FOX turned out to be a star-studded affair as legendary wrestlers, actors, athletes and musicians appeared throughout the two-hour broadcast on Friday. But there was one wrestling legend, one who was synonymous with the Blue Brand for years, who was surprisingly absent from the show — The Undertaker. To WWE's credit he wasn't originally advertised for the show, but given how he had already popped up several times on WWE television since the start of the year, seeing "The Phenom" on the brand he often called home seemed like a no-brainer. In a rare break from kayfabe, Taker took to Instagram on Friday before the show and answered a question in the comment section about not appearing.
"I was told I wasn't needed," he responded. SmackDown wound up ending with Brock Lesnar ending Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship reign in mere seconds before being chased off by a debuting Cain Velasquez and Rey Mysterio.
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Taker last appeared on SmackDown in early September when the show made its return to Madison Square Garden. He cut a promo, then nailed Sami Zayn with a chokeslam.
Seeing "The Deadman" on social media isn't new, but it's still off-putting to many fans given how serious he focused on kayfabe throughout most of his career. Steve Austin even talked about it during a recent interview with ComicBook.com
"Really, with my podcast starting six years ago, people got a chance to see the other side of Stone Cold because they saw me on TV for so long been so effective at being that guy, they figured that's who and what I was 24/7," Austin said. "And so through my podcast, I was able to break out of that shell from an audio level. And with this show I'm able to break out. People say, 'Hey, man, the guy's actually halfway funny or pretty funny or I'm not mad all the time.'
"So the same thing with Undertaker," he continued. "He's been wrestling for damn near 30 years, 25 years, however long it's been. One of the greatest runs in the history of the business. And for him to have a social media account, it's a way for him to, why shouldn't he be a part of social media as well? But he's not trying to sell tickets but you get a chance to see the fact that that guy, his name is Mark. He's not really The Undertaker 24/7. He has a life, and from what I have seen on his Instagram account, he's enjoying his life to the fullest extent."