In recent comments on a podcast with Joe Rogan, WWE uber-legend The Undertaker threw out his opinion that the current generation superstars were ‘soft’ compared to his generation, specifically for their love of video games – a continuously repeated criticism thrown out by stars of the 80s and 90s who seem unwilling to accept that times, and society, have changed since their time in the spotlight.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated to promote Sunday’s Royal Rumble, one of the leaders of the modern WWE locker room, Roman Reigns offered his take on The Phenom’s comments – suggesting the recently retired ‘Taker was simply ‘trying to sound gangster’. Reigns said:
“It’s strange. I really feel like he misspoke. Because Mark is a really good guy. He’s very knowledgeable. Obviously, he has a ton of respect for the business. Goldberg is just Goldberg. Who cares? But he’s talking about guns and knives in the locker room. Come on. You guys travel just like we did. Did you really get that stuff through security? TSA was just letting everything happen back then?
I choose to play video games sometimes on my own time. I don’t do it at work. As you can see, some of my character is based around it. I’ve always been one that networked and politicked and tried to communicate and work while I’m at work. Some guys choose to stay in the locker room. And for guys like the New Day who are überly talented, they can get away with that. I hope the younger guys in the locker room don’t fall into that because we’re not all the same. I have to put my whole mind into work as I come to work on a Friday. Sometimes my wife has to tell me to shut it off. She’ll be like, ‘Stop, be at home, be present.’
Because I can’t turn it off sometimes and I think to be at the highest level of anything, you have to be borderline obsessive. So, yeah, I don’t always think there’s room for video games in the locker room, but when we’re running our regular touring system and it’s a live event and there’s nowhere to go, you got kicked out of the hotel because you couldn’t get the late check out, you already hit the gym, you already picked up your food and you’re sitting in the locker room, I’d rather my guys be playing video games than breaking into a bag of some sort.
It’s a different time and I think we’re smarter. I think you’re gonna see that from the financial side of it, from how we save our money, how we prepare for the future, having a life after the business when we can’t fall down anymore to our actual health.
I think it was just like a retired guy trying to sound gangster.”
Reigns and ‘Taker famously faced off in the main event of WrestleMania 33. The match saw Taker handed only his second ever WrestleMania loss. We know from revelations in the WWE Network documentary series ‘The Last Ride’ that this match was intended to be Undertaker’s swansong in WWE. However, the lacklustre quality of the match led to Mark Calaway deciding to carry on his in ring career for several more years, before hanging up his hat officially in 2020.