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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.

Only by keenly observing and understanding the obvious and natural reactions to sensory inputs and the overall environment which imposes them can bring forward very fascinating yet normally unnoticeable facts. For the same, one has to be very open, unbiased 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!...he 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 are involved at all but the eerily sensational and high pitched funeral music (“Graveyard Symphony”) and a video clip showing the silhoutte of The Undertaker himself, many symbolic figures, candles, graveyard and lightning strikes is played in the background.

Dark blue lights, artificial fog and gas flares in the foreground and surrounding him create an overall effect of an actual graveyard of the mid-night. Actually, this scene is similar to the hell we scare even to imagine about.

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 the heavy and 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 human eyes, our ‘believing in what is being seen’ mammalian brain triggers the fear, shiver and sensation in our entires bodies. We can hardly escape from the tight grip of the overall visual impression that overwhelms the senses and overpowers the rational logic.

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 his 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 of his opponent and the audience throughout the arena. You may watch his entrance before his retirement match with Roman Reigns in Wrestlemania 27 on YouTube @

The overall body language of the undertaker during his entrace is of a unforgiving or uncaring animal who has locked its eyes and entire attention on its prey.

Related Articles:
1) Observation is the key

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