Back when The Undertaker appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience in January, "The Deadman" wound up ruffling some feathers when asked if he still kept up with the current WWE product. He admitted he struggled with it, saying, "It's tough for me because the product has changed so much and it's kind of soft. I'll probably piss a lot of people off but they need to hear it. It is what it is. But to the young guys, 'oh, he's a bitter old guy.' I'm not bitter, I did my time. I'm good, I walked away when I wanted to walk away. I just think the product is a little soft. There's guys here and there that have an edge to them, but there's too much pretty and not enough substance right now."
That quote wound up generating a lot of reactions from past and present WWE stars. Goldberg fully agreed with him and Triple H said there was "something to it," while Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns both emphatically rejected the idea. In a new interview with Sports Illustrated this week, Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway) clarified those comments by saying they weren't directed at the wrestlers.
"I wasn't bashing our talent," he explained. "Our talent is extraordinary. What they're physically able to do, I couldn't imagine doing that back in the day. I have a lot of respect for our roster, but I came from a different time period. My point was it was tough back then. I remember when Triple H first came in, and he was shocked that I had black electrical tape on my boots. It was just a different time. We didn't even have trainers on the road. If you had torn gear, you either wore it torn or you tried to fix it yourself. I'm so proud to be part of the evolution of our business. The industry has come so far. It's a sign of the success and how far we've come."
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This year marked the first in decades that Calaway made no appearance at WrestleMania. He announced his retirement via The Last Ride documentary last year, then had a "Final Farewell" ceremony at Survivor Series in November.