Cameo has been a godsend for everybody who loves awkward videos of celebrities trying to engage with normal people, but it hit new a new height this weekend with the Cameo debut of The Undertaker. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the character’s debut, the wrestling legend was available for 30 personalized videos, and they didn’t come cheap—at $1000 a pop, they were among the most expensive videos you could order on Cameo. Considering how beautifully absurd the results are, I think everybody got their money’s worth.
Yes, The Undertaker did all of these Cameos in character. If you ever wanted to see a nearly seven foot tall man in his mid 50s, dressed like an old west undertaker, with a neck tattoo that used to read the name of an ex-wife, congratulating fans for getting married and wishing a happy birthday to somebody’s grandma, well, now you can. Cameos eventually get posted to the Cameo site, and wrestling fans were immediately sharing Taker’s as soon as they were publicly available.
YouTube already has a supercut of some of the highlights.
Twitter user BossMoz (presumably a huge fan of both Springsteen and Morrissey) has also shared some of the best Undertaker Cameos on Twitter.
That last one is especially ridiculous. Somebody paid a grand to have the Undertaker thank Vince McMahon—the billionaire owner of WWE—and his wife Linda, who served in Trump’s cabinet.
Of course, we can’t discuss The Undertaker’s official, WWE-approved Cameos without mentioning WWE’s recent crackdown on its “independent contractors” making money through third-party venders like Cameo. WWE wrestlers, who are legally classified as “independent contractors” even though the company has complete control of their careers while they work for them, would routinely supplement their income through online services like Cameo, Twitch streaming, and more. Earlier this year WWE informed its talent that they would no longer be able to manage their own Cameo and Twitch accounts; the company would be assuming control of these accounts and any money made from them, with talent getting a percentage of the revenue that would count towards the downside guarantees stipulated in their contracts. So these “independent contractors”—who are all effectively full-time employees of WWE for the duration of their multi-year contracts—just lost outside revenue streams that aren’t a part of the job they were hired to do. One wrestler, Thea Trinidad Budgen, who worked in WWE as a wrestler and manager under the name Zelina Vega and runs a popular Twitch channel, was fired after challenging this new policy; she has since been approached by the acting union SAG-AFTRA to discuss the labor situation in pro wrestling, potentially opening up some major problems for an industry that has long exploited its workers. But yes, while WWE is effectively reducing the amount of money its “independent contractors” can make outside wrestling, one of its most famous—and most generously compensated—stars is helping the company establish this outrageous new policy, by getting paid to thank the boss he’ll be sharing his Cameo money with. And this is a guy who’s long had a rep as a locker room leader. As ridiculous as these Cameo videos are, they’re still not as absurd as that.