When fans of professional sports-entertaining reflect on the extraordinary career of the legendary Undertaker, many forget about the brief period when he eschewed the mortician gimmick and instead portrayed a garbage collector named Duke “The Dumpster” Droese.
In the mid-1990s, the hot trend in WWF was for sports-entertainers to portray people with everyday jobs — a tax collector (Irwin R. Schyster), a repo man (Repo Man), an African tribal chief (Akeem) — and the company’s top brass felt The Undertaker needed a character more relatable to the common fan.
“I had to change with the times,” recalls Mark Calaway, who portrayed both The Undertaker and The Dumpster. “Looking back, it wasn’t my finest hour.”
Indeed, the garbageman gimmick failed to resonate with fans as hoped, so the character vanished from television and Calaway reprised his role as The Undertaker.
Now in the twilight of his career, Calaway will portray The Undertaker in Australia at WWE Super Show-Down, battling against longtime nemesis Triple H, who briefly portrayed the character Adam Bomb in the 1990s.
Backstage sources say Calaway will finally retire this year, and the Undertaker character will be inherited by Baron Corbin.