Freddie Prinze Jr. Reveals Why Undertaker's Son Storyline Was Scrapped
Remember Hade Vansen?
WWE have plenty of ‘what ifs’ and abandoned storylines littered throughout their history, and to fans of a certain vintage you just have to say ‘Hade Vansen’ and they will wonder whatever happened with that particular storyline.
Vansen had several promos air hyping up his debut on WWE TV in late 2008 before disappearing without any further mention, and on the Wrestling with Freddie Podcast, Freddie Prinze Jr. revealed that Hansen was meant to be The Undertaker’s son, and revealed who got the angle canned:
“We received a note from Vince that said Undertaker needed an opponent to run through before the next Pay-Per-View storyline,” Prinze Jr. began. “Someone had gotten hurt. I don’t remember who and before we could get Taker to Edge, they wanted someone that we could just run through. But they wanted us to have it be someone that could mean something. So they wanted us to find someone from FCW that we could bring up, assign a gimmick to, and basically smash and destroy him for The Undertaker.
“So it was Angelo Fazio, Chris DeJoseph, and me. So the three of us sat down and we started talking about this. All our brains kind of went to the same place right away, which would be like a cultish kind of figure worshipers of The Undertaker and things like that. We’re kind of spitting ideas around and nothing’s really clicking. I don’t remember who said it, but one of us said, ‘What if he claimed The Undertaker was his father?’ Somebody else said, ‘I don’t think anyone will buy that but maybe it could be like in a supernatural sense.’ He’s getting killed anyways, he’s getting smashed up. Yes, that would be a father killing his son, but he’s not really killing him, I just mean like smashing him in the ring.
“So, we try working with that. We throw it to Michael [Hayes] and Freebird is like, ‘Yeah, whatever’. He doesn’t care. We write this promo and he’s sort of hacking into the network feed. So we started hacking the feed on Thursday night SmackDown back then, and they would be kind of grainy pictures. They look kind of like 80s grainy and he had these messages for The Undertaker that he would come in with, ‘His (Undertaker’s) time is nearing and now it’s going to be my time. I have anger and love for you.’ He was a British guy. His name was Hadrian. What a great name, Hadrian. I think it was Hadrian Howard. He had this accent and he sounded smooth when he spoke. He had a shaved head and a bit of a beard. He looked real cool, but he definitely was a smaller guy, smaller than me. I’m six one right now, like 185. So he’s cutting these promos and he’s doing a good job. So we get the story approved by Freebird, and then we get it approved by Vince. We start shooting these little segments and they’re airing on television. It’s an ongoing thing. He’s not calling out The Undertaker, but he’s speaking about The Undertaker, and you’re just waiting to figure out what the reason for it is. It was this father-son thing. So we’re building up, I think we get two weeks of TV out of it.
“Then we went to Bristol, Connecticut. We shoot the promo and it’s the best one that he’s done so far. It’s not showtime yet. We shot this but we shot this before the show because this was the tape show, not the live one, so you had more time to accomplish these goals. So we’re in the production meeting and everyone’s putting their segments through. Here comes our segment and nobody said boo the last two weeks or even three weeks of TV that we got out of it. Not one agent. Not Kevin Dunn. Not Vince. Not anybody. All of a sudden out of nowhere, Hunter says ‘Are we seriously going with this guy?’ Remember, this is not a Pay-Per-View match. This is not a guy that would get any sort of offence on The Undertaker. It would be just a build up for The Undertaker to have something to do so he could smash this guy and then get rolling over to Edge. He says, ‘Are we really going to go with this guy?’ Vince goes, ‘What do you mean? What’s the problem?’ He says, ‘He looks like he cuts my grass, man’, and Vince laughed.
“Literally all the air went out of the room. Like you could just feel it. Because now it’s embarrassing to the company, well, at least from my perspective. You put something on TV for three weeks and then you remove it with no explanation, there’s no way you can do that. Like that doesn’t happen on any show. You could replace someone like on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the day. Vince laughs, and then Hunter laughs, and then Kevin Dunn laughs, I mean he sells for it. You would have thought it was the best joke ever. So I’m like, oh man, this is dead. We’re dead, and Vince goes, ‘All right, dump it.’
“Now it’s not just your idea that’s gone. Now I gotta go talk homeboy. This guy came up from FCW, his very first professional wrestling storyline with the company was going to be with the greatest, and he’s over the moon. Now he has to be told that it’s not going to happen because he looks like the guy that cuts Triple H’s grass. It is such a sickening, sickening feeling and it’s our responsibility as the writing team to communicate it to this guy.”
Hansen was released from his WWE contract shortly after the angle was dropped.