Mario Mancini, The Undertaker’s first WWE opponent, recently recalled how the legendary superstar thanked him after their match.
The Deadman made his televised WWE debut at Survivor Series 1990. However, his first in-ring appearance for Vince McMahon’s company came three days earlier when he defeated Mancini at a WWE Superstars taping.
Mancini, who appeared in WWE between 1984 and 1991, said on the Cheap Heat Productions Podcast that he shared some post-match words with his opponent:
“After the match, we came down and he had a smile on his face. He goes, ‘Thanks a lot, man, I appreciate it.’ I said, ‘You did really good walking the top rope. That was something else [for] a guy your size,’ and I shook his hand and said, ‘Good luck, it’s nice to have you here. Good luck, I hope things work out for you.’” [23:03-23:23]
Mancini joked that people always ask him whether he knew The Undertaker would go on to become a legend over the next 30 years. The former WWE Superstar said he had high hopes for his opponent, but had no idea how successful he would be.
The Undertaker often used to attack his opponents with a clubbing blow to their shoulder after leaping off the top rope. To correctly execute the move, known as Old School, his opponents had to keep their elbows locked.
Mancini said Undertaker began to explain the move to him before their match. WWE agent Chief Jay Strongbow then appeared and informed the up-and-coming star that Mancini was an experienced wrestler who knew what to do.
“He goes, ‘I’m gonna take your arm, Mario, you have to keep your elbow locked. Listen, if your elbow collapses, I fall off the top rope.’ He goes, ‘You have to keep it locked.’ I go, ‘Mark [Calaway, Undertaker’s real name]…’ and that’s when Chief walked up and he said, ‘Mr. Mancini, you’re fine,’” Mancini added. [19:44-20:07]
As Undertaker’s first opponent, Mancini recently said he would like to receive an invite when the WWE icon receives his Hall of Fame induction.