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Taker likes his new 'tude


By JOHN POWELL
SLAM! Sports

 The single tear drop is gone. The Hellraiser-ish studded leather ring attire is history. Even his eerie funeral march-like theme music has been replaced by a more symphonic ditty.

Change is coming to The Undertaker and he believes it reflects his newly found attitude.

It's no more Mister Nice Guy. No more waiting patiently in line for his shot at WWF gold. He's gonna take what he feels belongs to him.

"No longer will I be the hunted. Now, I am the hunter. So, people in the World Wrestling Federation need to better prepare themselves for the second coming. Everybody in the World Wrestling Federation is on notice. No one is safe," intoned the towering Man From The Darkside in an interview with Slam! Wrestling after the pomp and circumstance surrounding the WWF press conference at SkyDome.

Dressed in a T-shirt as black as his soul, baggy sweat pants, his long hair tied back and held by a bandanna; The Undertaker calmly answered the questions posed to him standing his ground in the make-shift media concourse area.

If the pressure of being WWF Tag Team Champions with Steve Austin - the man he will challenge for the WWF World Title at SummerSlam - was eating away at him, the cold-blooded Undertaker wasn't showing it. Though, he was quick to banish the notion that everything is business as usual with Stone Cold. Austin has what the Taker wants and therefore the WWF champion is a marked man.

"When we are defending the tag team belts then he is my partner. I am almost put in a position where I have to trust him," says The Undertaker. "Any other time, I wouldn't trust Austin as far as I could throw him."

The Undertaker warns fans not to read too much into the events of the last Monday Night Raw which had The Man From The Darkside sharing a "Steve-Weiser" with the WWF rattlesnake at the close of the program. The acceptance of Austin's peace offering was a rare occurrence which fans won't witness again any time soon. The chilled brewskie left a foul taste in The Undertaker's mouth...in more ways than one.

"It didn't quite hold up to my taste," says the WWF phenom. "It wasn't as good as a formaldehyde cooler, I can tell you that much."

Much has been made of the relationship between The Undertaker and his "brother" Kane. Outside forces manipulating the volatile situation (namely WWF owner Vince McMahon and his cronies) have cast a shadow of doubt over whether The Undertaker is still at war with his sibling or they are working together to dethrone Austin.

Asked point blank if he is orchestrating an underhanded plot against Stone Cold, The Undertaker put on his best poker face refusing to reveal his cards knowing that the uncertainty keeps Austin at a distinct disadvantage. He would only say that figuring out Kane's strengths and weakness over the course of their series of Triple Threat World Title matches with Austin could work to his advantage as the match rules stipulate that Stone Cold could lose the title without he himself being pinned. Under Triple Threat rules, whoever scores a win over either of his opponets wins the match.

The Undertaker views Kane as the weak link in the chain predicting that when the dust settles around the SkyDome main event bout on Saturday, he will be the new WWF Champion.

Taker also adamantly dispelled an Internet rumor that says he will be taking some time off following SummerSlam to heal an injured ankle. Not so, says the WWF's grim reaper. It seems there is no rest for the wicked.

And how about that chokeslam on WWF President Vince McMahon? Does The Undertaker now regret his actions? Again, that's a BIG negative from the Pale One.

"It felt DAMN good. I believe that was for past dues," he said smiling.

More on The Undertaker