Scientific Portal of Behavior, Body Language and Nonverbal Communication#

Search for

April 01, 2013

Decoding Entrance of The Undertaker

Indeed, Nonverbal communication is very powerful and pervading. People who know to utilize it well, definitely get an edge over others. Let it be a real or fake life - drama, cinema, or entertainment. Although it’s an area of unconscious mind, one has to watch and consciously explore the hints being passed during natural or crafted interaction or display.

Keenly observing and understanding the implication of sensory inputs can bring forward very fascinating yet unnoticeable facts. For that, one has to be very open and enthusiastic towards the world around itself.

The Dead man
Like many others, I’m a great fan of professional wrestling and more interested in nonverbal signals given of the superstars. Many superstars are known not just for muscular and freaky physic but the image, impression, style and charisma. The Undertaker (original name: Mark William Calaway) is one of them. Indeed, he is the most frightening and successful athlete in the sport entertainment industry. His long running and legendary career has helped WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in becoming the most famous and profiting company.

After deliberately watching and studying every nonverbal aspect of his entrance, it given away very interesting clues that play with us at unconscious level. When we listen words “Demon of the death valley!...The judge and the jury!…The phenom!…The Undertaker!” loudly uttered by commentators, we simply get shattered from inside and fix our eyes to witness a wisely crafted yet most dramatic entrance plot in entertainment industry.
Here walks the demon of the death valley!
Although no computer effects involved at all but the sensational funeral music (“Graveyard Symphony”) and a video clip showing himself, many symbolic figures, candles, graveyard and lightning strikes is played in background.

Dark blue lights, artificial fog and gas flares at foreground and surrounding him creates an overall effect of an actual graveyard of mid night. This scene is parallel to the hell we scare to imagine of.

Exactly like immensely unnerving power of special effects, his costume conveys a great nonverbal message to us. He wears a black, broad shouldered, ankle long and spooky costume which have bumps, metallic buts, strips, edgy frills and prominent stitches. It adds to mystery and seriousness in entire scene. He looks like a very dominating and fierce creature walking down the ramp towards his prey. 

A big black hat or head-cover shedding his eyes (and most of the upper face), cold - emotionless face, no upper body movements and silent - heavy - sturdy walk definitely intimidate most of us. Additionally, his gloved and clenched fists suggests as if he’s holding some tool or weapon in his hands on his way to the ring.

Even if it’s a total gimmick or fake impression to eyes, our ‘believing in what is being seen’ mammalian brain triggers fear and trill in our bodies. We can hardly escape from tight grip same visual impression.

As he enters inside the rings; he walks slowly, widens his legs apart and stands firmly in front of a competitor. By acting this way, he conveys qualities of a beast which is in no hurry for striking the prey in assurance of no retaliation. This definitely challenges courage of an opponent which is already shattered by the scary entrance. Especially a novice athlete would go out of mind.

At last, his slowly removes hat or head-cover and exposes partially closed eyes by making only sclera (white part of human eyes) visible to the opponent. By looking at retina only, we can detect if somebody is alive and looking at us or some other things. Hence this kind of (no) eye contact is a scariest display conveying ‘no mind or soul present’ in a body. 

The word ‘Undertaker’ literally means - a person who performs or manages the funeral (business). He portrays himself as if there’s nothing on earth that intimidates him by walking through suddenly erupting flares and fireballs around his body. His signature statement - “There ain't no grave can hold my body down.” perfectly matches with caricature of a dead or soulless person he portrays throughout his entrance. He deeply imprints same on our mind.

What exactly tempted me to decode this entrance plot is its each and every element creating fear in mind his opponent and audience throughout the arena. You may watch his entrance before his retirement match with Roman Reigns in Wrestlemania 27 on YouTube @

Related Articles:

The ways woman provokes her man to be protective

Women who seek a long term (romantic) relationship have a large arsenal of nonverbal clues to woo desired male partners. However, some questions are equally puzzling to both men and courtship experts - What exactly makes a man go weak in the knees for a woman (for a long time)? Why testosterone fueled guys fall flat for the women they strongly like? What expressional and biological signals are given away by women?

Most of the men reading this article might have gone crazy once or many times for women they got attracted to. Also, women reading this article might not have any idea about why they change dramatically in appearance, expressions and behavior while wooing men. Both men and women appear changed completely over a considerable amount of time.

Its secret is deeply hidden inside the physical and psychological features of the fairer sex. Courtship signals are a mixture of clues and hits of attraction, availability, fertility (vigor) and compatibility. However, another spectrum of expressional and biological signal is used by a woman in attempt to turn desired male very gooey and softer towards herself.

It might sound funny and equally kiddish but women try to provoke protectiveness or protective feeling in their men especially during and even after courtship through a range of both unconscious and deliberate nonverbal clues.

Both men and women are naturally tempted to protect and nurture innocent and helpless babies. This gives very pleasant feelings and deep satisfaction. It’s the only physical, psychological and motor characteristics of newborns and adolescents that most people even fight with any odds and risk their lives to protect them.
Actually, watching, cuddling and playing with babies is a great stress relieving and delighting experience in which only good hormones are secreted. We feel happy, relaxed and positively charged after spending time with babies.

Babies have a considerable amount of body fat, curvy physique, very soft skin, nearly hairless body, fair complexion (as compared to grown-ups), soft vocal tone (with low volume), fewer defensive tactics, uncoordinated body movements, a lot of energy, enormous curiosity and playful disposition. Their defenselessness makes elders tempting to protect them.

As famous biologist Dr. Desmond Morris has rightly mentioned, (most) women retain juvenile (or child like) features throughout their reproductive age (fecundity). This is not typically found in (most) men because secretion of testosterone multiplies in their bodies after puberty. They become more muscular and rough.
Across the board, (fertile) women have considerable amount of body fat, curvy physique, juvenile faces, soft hair, soft skin, sweet vocal tone, animated facial expressions, attractive body movements and appealing affect (sympathetic and parasympathetic) displays.

Women themselves might not at all realize it consciously but they highlight and accentuate their juvenile (or child like) physical and psychological features to attract and also to retain the desirable men.

After observing a woman giving away such signals, a man unconsciously feels an urge to protect her - the ‘child like’ lady. On the other hand man, engages himself in complementary displays to portray a tradition hero or even virtual father who tries to protect and save her. These mutually beneficial expressional and behavioral adaptations by both men and women attracted towards each other underlines traditional roles of both genders.

After attracting attention of man and assuring that he's watching or looking at her, she tries to act as a playful and curious infant. Smiling, talking in a soft and melodious voice, giggling, gesticulating in a playful manner, palming face, putting fingers in mouth, making silly mistakes, moving joyfully, jumbling words and animating facial expressions is enough to entice protective favors from man. Her coy smile conveys harmless intentions and chin down face expresses submission.

Increased circulation of blood inside the skin or blushing of upper body (especially cheeks and neck) conveys innocence, emotional excitement and an urge of covering like an unprotected child. Have you seen babies with maximize blood circulation in outer layer of skin (epidermis) right after few moment of their birth?

By applying makeup on face, she tries to appear appealing, youthful and specifically - baby like. She draws man's attention towards her most attractive and appealing features i. e. eyes, cheeks and lips. By doing hair in such a way that face looks smaller in size, she tries to imitate a child seeking affection, nurturing and protection.
By wearing vividly colorful (tight) outfits, fidgeting with them and playing with her hair quite often; she tries to draw attention of man towards herself. This act is similar to how cute babies gain strong attention from adults around them.

Through all these acts and expressions, she seeks assurance that the man she is attracted to is able to protect her or not. After giving away signals and clues of availability and compatibility, these ‘juvenile’ signals are intermixed with fertility signals and clues.
Even after forming a romantic or a committed relationship, these kinds of signals are still given away by her because she needs affection and protection on constant basis.

In today’s modern, technological and economically liberal world; women attracting attention of desired partner give away signals and clues that are quite similar to what ancestral women might have done thousands and millions of year ago to gain attention of men. Moreover, these acts, signals and clues are almost universal.

It has also been found that women with greater amount of estrogen and progesterone in their bodies tend to have and display more child like facial, physical, para-linguistic and motor (related to movements) features. To complement with the same, men having higher levels of testosterone and who are ready to risk themselves, tend to feel more attracted towards 'juvenile' women.

The evolutionary purpose behind this kind of attraction is simple i. e. men having greater protective capabilities and resources should take care of and pair with 'infantile' women.

Orientation can't remain hidden for a long time.
In other words, juvenile characteristics and its display is a way to test men for their will and capability to protect and nurture women. Such qualities in men help to succeed both of them in romance, reproduction and long term relationship.

Women themselves are also attracted to 'juvenile' looking men and women because of their deep biological impulses to nurture babies. Looking at such cute faces also makes us feel happy.

Related Articles: