WrestleMania 23 featured The Undertaker challenging Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship in one of the main events of the pay-per-view. However, it seems original plans would have seen him face someone entirely different.
While speaking on Lucha Libre Online’s Behind the Curtain podcast, former WWE Superstar Elijah Burke claimed that The Undertaker was originally going to square off against former MMA fighter Sylvester Terkay at WrestleMania 23.
“It’s crazy because [at] that WrestleMania , the whole plan was for Sylvester Terkay and The Undertaker… and Da Pope was supposed to ride the coattails of Sylvester Terkay. I obviously had no problem with it [laughs].”
They brought Terkay in [from OVW to WWE] specifically because Undertaker was, and still is, a huge MMA guy. And so, Undertaker loved the physicalness and the legitness [sic] of MMA. He wanted to create that type of magic inside the wrestling ring.”
Burke admitted that if Terkay vs The Undertaker happened at WrestleMania 23, then he would have gladly taken a chokeslam from The Deadman.
“Had it been Terkay vs. Undertaker, I wouldn’t have mind taking a big boot off the apron or a chokeslam. What I remember the most about the event is 80,000 fans. Legit. I had the privilege, within two years on the roster, to be in front of a sea of human beings. Looking back, I just took it all in and enjoyed. People who’ve worked 20 years in the business have never experienced that.”
The Undertaker and Batista had an excellent World Title match, as The Deadman went on to defeat Batista and capture the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 23.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the quotes.