On the latest episode of Lillian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, former WWE Superstar Michelle McCool discussed how her relationship with her husband, Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway, began. McCool also revealed how it changed the way people backstage at the company dealt with her, and eventually helped her decide to leave pro wrestling all together.
“He kind of courted me for awhile, and people started noticing. Sharmell [Booker T’s wife], Torrie [Wilson], Vickie [Guerrero], a few good friends were like, ‘Taker never talks to girls, like ever, that is not something he does’ which is true. He’ll tell you, it was always his cardinal rule. But I always got to the buildings early, I was always working with Arn [Anderson] or Fit [Finlay] or whoever would teach me, because I was basically learning on the road. I guess he took notice, so people started talking. I was like, ‘look, I don’t even like long-haired, tattooed guys, that is not even my thing, no way.’
So he was taking care of me during [an injury and illness on WWE’s 2007 European tour which left her hospitalized for 16 days]. I had no idea. He was calling me in the hospital. He was checking on me. When I finally made it back to TV, we started talking a little bit, and he’ll say he fell in love one day when we were in the arena and I was throwing a football with Chavo [Guerrero] and MVP and look, in the McCool family, you know how to throw a football, you’re gonna throw a spiral. And apparently guys are that simple because he was like, ‘I fell in love.’
So we started dating, and I knew what was gonna come with that. And so it was hard. I hid it for a long time, we hid it for a long time in the work place, for several months. He had a bus at this point, which a lot of the guys do now, I would literally wait until everybody left the building so nobody saw me get on the bus. I would do anything I possibly could to make people still see Michelle for Michelle, not for Undertaker’s, at the time, girlfriend. Which I’ve quickly learned that never goes away because now I’m just Undertaker’s wife. So, it is what it is.
I can literally count, on one, maybe one and a half hands, how many people treated me the same from WWE pre-Mark and post-Mark. And news flash, Michelle McCool didn’t change. I’m still me. So, there were a ton of people that now found out I was dating Mark, ‘Oh, I better change my tune and be super nice.’ And ya know, I’m not that type, I’m gonna call you for it, because I haven’t changed. I’m not acting any different. Like don’t treat me any different... I think it says more about the people that see it that way, just because I personally wouldn’t treat somebody like that. But on the bright side, it also shows you who your true friends are.
Leaving was tough because it got to a point where - I was dealing with so much, mostly being Undertaker’s girlfriend while I was on TV. There was even a writer who threw the papers up one day and said, ‘Why don’t we just call it the Michelle McCool and Undertaker show.’ I went to Vince [McMahon] on numerous occasions and said, ‘I don’t want to hate something that I grew up loving so much. The longer I stay, the more I get this sour taste in my mouth.’”
There’s been a lot of negativity about life backstage at WWE lately. While it’s tempting to add this to the pile, this one is probably a reaction which would occur in most workplaces. Doesn’t make it right or fair, but at least McCool got out before she grew to hate the business. And she seems happy with her life now - which includes occasional return appearances like last year’s inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble, and Evolution.
Check out the entire episode of Chasing Glory for more from Michelle McCool.